Almost 90% of B2B Content Consumption Said to Take Place Outside the C-Suite

June 14, 2021

This article is included in these additional categories:

B2B | Content Marketing | Cross-Media & Traditional | Industries

NetLine B2B Content Audience Breakdown by Title Jun2021B2B content has the ability to create brand awareness, educate the audience and generate leads, but do content marketers have their sights set on the right audience? In fact, if they’re only targeting the C-Suite, they are missing out on a vast audience. Per findings from a recent report [download page] from the NetLine Corporation, some 86% of B2B content consumption is done by others outside the C-Suite.

While NetLine points out that in 2020 a little more than two-thirds (68%) of all B2B content consumption across NetLine clients or its partners is from job levels of Manager and above, the largest share of consumption comes from the Individual Contributors (21.2%) job title. Managers are the next-largest consumers of content (13.8%), while the C-Level consumed 13.6% of content during 2020, a slight decrease year-over-year.

Other notable job levels for content consumption include Director (11.2%), Senior Employee (9.3%), Owner (7%) and Consultant (6.3%). From this data, NetLine emphasizes that while it may seem like good sense to target the top-level individuals in an organization, they aren’t the only ones making buying decisions within the company.

With this in mind, it’s also worth looking at C-Level content consumption by the size of an organization. More than half (55%) of the total content consumed by C-Level individuals was from companies with 1,000 employees or fewer. This share is up considerably from the 38.3% of C-Level consumption from these smaller companies in 2019.

Consumption Level Highest on Weekday Mornings

Unlike with email engagement, NetLine’s report hypothesizes that when content is consumed might not matter, especially given the events of 2020. Their data shows that a large majority of total content consumption is just about evenly spread across Monday (18.3%), Tuesday (18.6%), Wednesday (18.3%) and Thursday (18.23%) with a drop off in consumption on Friday (16.7%). This is a change from 2019 when NetLine found that Tuesday and Wednesday were the most active days for content consumption.

What does stand out is the time of day content is most likely to be consumed. More than half (53.2%) of content is consumed between 8 AM and 1 PM, with the largest share of content consumed at 10 AM (10.3%).

Consumption by Category

Information Technology (IT) remains the content topic category B2B content consumers download the most. Nearly two-fifths (38.8%) of the B2B content consumed in 2020 was for IT, compared to Finance which had the next-largest share of consumption at 10.6%. Finance was followed by HR (9.6%), Operations (8%), Sales (5.9%), Marketing (5.8%) and Management (5.8%).

When downloading content, ebooks are by far the most popular format, with roughly 40% of total registrations being for this format (up from about 28% in 2019). Indeed, ebook downloads in 2020 were more than twice that of the next two content formats, guides and white papers, combined.

One form of content that really took off in 2020 was webinars. With an overwhelming percentage of in-person events cancelled due to the pandemic, B2B marketers turned their attention to webinars and virtual events. NetLine reports that there was a 103% increase in the number of webinars uploaded onto their platform.

The full report can be found here.

About the Data: Findings are based on an analysis of data collected from B2B buyers who agreed to share their information to receive content from NetLine’s clients or partners. The analysis covers all users who requested content using self-identifying first-party data and more than 4.3 million downloads globally.


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