Analysis: Type of B2B Content Consumed May Signal Purchase Intent Timeline

April 6, 2022

This article is included in these additional categories:

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

The more content an audience is consuming, the more likely that audience is to be nearing a purchase decision, according to NetLine’s 2022 State of B2B Content Consumption and Demand Report [download page]. In fact, almost one-third of all B2B content-consuming executives analyzed by NetLine expected to make a purchase within the coming 12 months.

For its analysis, NetLine examined almost 25,000 individual responses from the past year in order to ascertain where B2B professionals were in their buying cycle, with the effort yielding 72,000 first-party buyer-level intent insights across industries and categories. NetLine then matched that data against content consumption data, excluding content formats with fewer than 50 registrations and looking at the percentage of users in 4 buying timelines for each format.

Longer Formats Associated with In-Market Users

The report looks at the share of registrations by content type that originated from respondents who were in various stages of their purchase timeline (-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-12 months, or more than 1 year), theorizing that if “a certain content format has a relatively high percentage in a more immediate date range (i.e., Under 3 Months) AND if that content format has a relatively low percentage of registrations in the longer term date ranges (i.e., Over 1 Year), registrations of that content format may imply immediate purchasing intent.”

OK, on to the results. Looking first at immediate purchase timeline (0-3 months), the analysis indicates that Research Reports emerged on top, with 9.2% of registrants for this content immediately in-market (0-3 months). This compares to 6.5% of registrants each for Guides, Cheat Sheets, and Tips and Tricks Guides.

Close behind Research Reports are White Papers, for which 8.8% of registrants indicated buying intent within 0-3 months, and Articles (8.3%).

Broadening the scope to buying intent within the next 6 months, the analysis likewise finds that the top content types are White Papers (18.2% of registrants, versus 15.2% on average across all content types), Articles (18% share), and Research Reports (17%).

Conversely, while 69.2% of respondents indicated that they were not looking to make any further investments within the next 12 months, that figure was higher among registrants for Tips and Tricks Guides (75%), and eGuides (72.2%).

As a result of the analysis, NetLine indicates that content formats more likely to be associated with an immediate buying decision include White Papers, Survey Reports, Research Reports, Analyst Reports, On-Demand Webinars, and Live Webcasts. These tend to be information-heavy formats, rather than snackable ones.

On the other side of the coin, those content types less likely to be associated with immediate buying decisions include Tips and Tricks Guides, Newsletters, Courses, eBooks, and Cheat Sheets.

These results are interesting in light of survey results from Activate Marketing Services and MarketingCharts, in which B2B tech demand gen marketers reported that content formats such as in-depth white papers, research reports, and events tended to among the most effective at the bottom stage of the funnel, whereas blogs, infographics, videos, and snackable content were perceived to be among the more effective at the top of the funnel.

According to NetLine the most requested content format overall, by registrations, was the e-Book, distantly followed by Guides, Cheat Sheets, Tips and Tricks and White Papers.

70% of Content Consumption Occurs at Manager Level or Above

Last year 70% of all B2B content consumption across NetLine clients or partners came from job levels of Manager and above, a similar figure to the year before (68%). The largest share of consumption came from Individual Contributors (25.5% share, up from 21.2%), while the C-Level was the next-largest consumer of content (14.8% share, up from 13.6%), taking over the second spot from the Manager level (13.3% share, down from 13.8%).

NetLine notes that C-level consumption was most active by those at companies with 1,000-2,499 employees, although the majority (61.1%) of C-level content consumption came from companies with fewer than 1,000 employees.

Content Consumption Higher Earlier in the Week

NetLine’s data shows that a majority of B2B content consumption is just about evenly spread across Monday (18.75% share), Tuesday (18.62%), and Wednesday (18.83%), with a slight drop off on Thursday (17.63%) and Friday (16.92%). However, the authors conclude that the day of the week has little bearing on content engagement or consumption.

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 4.6 million downloads globally.


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