About 8 in 10 (83% of) B2B content marketers claim their organization’s content marketing has been at least moderately successful this year, with three-quarters (74%) saying that the value their content provides is a contributing factor to that success. The most recent B2B content marketing benchmark and trends report [pdf] from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), MarketingProfs and ON24 takes a look at what types of content B2B marketers are using and which ones are bringing the greatest success.
Most B2B content marketers have put a lot of stock in short articles and posts (less than 3,000 words) this year, with 9 in 10 using or creating this type of content in the last 12 months. A majority have also used videos (66%), virtual events/webinars/online courses (64%) and case studies (61%).
When distributing this content on owned-media platforms, 9 in 10 respondents used their own website. They also used their organization’s blog (76%), email newsletter (69%) and email (other than newsletters; 68%).
Virtual Events and Webinars Producing the Best Results
Although most content marketers are using short articles, these are not the content type seeing the most success. Instead, virtual events/webinars/online courses have produced the best results in the past 12 months, according to almost three-fifths (58%) of respondents who used them. Indeed, even though slightly fewer B2B content marketers say they have used virtual events/webinars/online courses than did last year, more respondents say that this content type produced the best results. Beyond digital events, respondents appear to be seeing the best results with research reports (48%), short articles/posts (48%) and e-books/white papers (47%).
A closer look at the B2B video formats that produced the best results in the last 12 months indicates that webinars/webcasts/web series (51%) clearly outperformed other formats such as interviews with industry experts (36%) and how-to videos (33%). Furthermore, since the pandemic, B2B marketers have upped their use of webinars, and they have also found that this type of content is effective for mid-funnel marketing such as lead nurturing.
Earlier research from Ascend2 shows that many marketers (including B2C respondents) are finding it difficult to measure content performance. Per CMI’s survey, three-quarters of B2B marketers use metrics to measure content performance, with the majority of those marketers saying they gain the most insights from metrics such as website engagement (69%), conversions (67%), website traffic (65%) and email engagement (64%).
While fewer than 4 in 10 (36% of) marketers who measure performance say their team is doing an excellent or good job demonstrating content marketing ROI, respondents as a whole say that their content marketing has been successful in creating brand awareness (80%), building credibility and trust (75%) and educating audiences (70%).
2 in 3 Expect Budgets to Increase
Looking ahead to next year, very few respondents (3%) expect to see their content marketing budgets decrease compared to 2021. Instead, two-thirds foresee their budgets increasing at least slightly. And, in the post-COVID-vaccine world, about half (52%) expect to see their organization invest more in in-person events, while 4 in 10 (39%) expect increased investment in hybrid events.
The full report can be found here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a July 2021 survey of 810 content marketers at B2B or B2B+B2C for-profit companies.