Companies’ top inbound marketing priority this year is growing their SEO/organic presence (66%), according to the results of a global HubSpot survey of more than 4,500 respondents from a variety of business types and industries. Blog content creation (60%) and content distribution/amplification (50%) follow, reflecting the importance of content marketing to inbound projects.
These 3 inbound priorities also topped the list (in the same order) last year; in 2014, blog content creation was the top priority. While it’s no longer the top priority, the creation of blog content is deemed a priority for more marketers than interactive content (41%), long-form content such as e-books (33%), visual content (33%) and product how-to videos (28%). That reflects recent research indicating that blogs are the most commonly produced content type by both B2C and B2B marketers. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to see how-to videos that far down the list, given the buzz about video marketing and consumer preference for how-to videos.
Still, there are indications that video marketing is on the rise. With content distribution a leading priority for respondents, the report separately examines the content distribution channels that marketers plan to add to their efforts in the next year. Reflecting the growing importance of video, YouTube (48%) topped the list of planned new distribution channels, followed by Facebook video (39%). Instagram (33%), messaging apps (20%), podcasts (15%) and Snapchat (13%) are also seeing some interest, though to a lesser degree.
Respondents’ focus on organic presence and content marketing is likely a response to their greatest challenge: generating traffic and leads. Unlike in other research, this trumps proving the ROI of marketing activities, which nonetheless is second on the list.
Generating leads is one thing, but converting them to customers is another – and that’s the main priority for marketing overall in the coming 12 months, per the study. While this may rely in some part on the sales team, the report does note that few executives feel that marketing provides the best quality leads. So there is work to be done…
About the Data: The HubSpot State of Inbound Report for 2016 is based on more than 4,500 respondents hailing from marketing backgrounds in B2B, B2C, small and mid-sized businesses. The vast majority (85%) of respondents are not HubSpot customers. Marketing agencies (17%) and IT & services (13%) were the most heavily-represented industry. The largest number of respondents came from LATAM (1,805) and EMEA (1,228), with 704 based in North America, 606 in Southeast Asia and 243 in Australia and New Zealand.