The pandemic made it necessary for B2C content marketers to think on their feet and pivot from what they had originally planned for 2020. A recent report [pdf] from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs indicates that they were able to rise to the occasion, with at least 8 in 10 reporting that their organization was able to make quick (82%) and/or effective changes (80%) due to the pandemic. For the vast majority (84%), at least some of those changes will stay in effect into the foreseeable future.
One such change made by a majority (63%) of the B2C content marketers surveyed in July 2020 was to change their targeting/messaging strategy. Many also adjusted their editorial calendar (54%) and their content distribution/promotion strategy (46%). Another 43% put more resources towards social media/online communities — a practice that has proven to be beneficial.
Despite these adaptations, most budgets didn’t change. Between the first and second halves of 2020, fewer than 3 in 10 (27% of) B2C content marketers expected to see their budget increase, while more than half (54%) expected their budget to remain the same. Some 30% also said that their organization shifted paid advertising dollars to content marketing.
Most Used Content Types
As for content itself, B2C marketers reported relying on several of the tried-and-true types in the previous 12 months, including blog posts/short articles (83%), email newsletters (74%) and pre-produced videos (62%).
The most noticeable change in the types of content used from the prior year has been the shift to virtual events and livestreaming. Much like what has been seen with B2B organizations, B2C marketers have decreased their use of in-person events, with only 37% reporting using them during the previous 12 months, compared to 50% the year before. Instead, more marketers used virtual events/webinars/online courses (39% in 2020 vs. 27% in 2019). What’s more, the percentage of B2C content marketers using livestreaming video nearly tripled (35% vs. 13%) from 2019.
Social Media is a Top Distribution Channel
Some 82% of B2C content marketers cited social media platforms as one of the organic content distribution channels they use. Social media was also the top channel used for paid content. Of the 72% of marketers who reported having used paid distribution channels for content marketing purposes in the 12 months prior, 91% said they used social media advertising/promoted posts.
Facebook was the most used social platform for both organic (97%) and paid content (94%). However, CMI notes that Instagram use increased for organic content distribution (up to 81% in 2020 from 74% in 2019), as did the use of YouTube (up to 72%, vs. 62% in 2019). This is indicative of the growing use of video, as both platforms are widely used for video distribution.
It is worth noting that, while marketers are relying on social media to distribute content, slightly fewer than half (48%) of B2C content marketers say they have established an online community and, of those that have not, only 31% say they are likely to do so within the next 12 months.
When content marketers were asked to look ahead to 2021, 6 in 10 (61%) anticipated that their organization would invest in content creation. More than half also believed there would be an investment in social media management and community building (54%) and website enhancements (53%), while others expected to see their organization invest in content distribution (43%) and customer experience (40%).
The full report can be found here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 233 B2C marketers whose organization has used content marketing for at least one year. The survey was fielded in July 2020.