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86% of B2C marketers are using content marketing, and the vast majority of those (84%) are leveraging social media (other than blogs), finds a new report from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs. That puts social media on par with website articles as the most-used content marketing tactic by B2C marketers. Social gets the nod over articles for effectiveness, though: 57% rate their use of social media as “effective” or “very effective,” compared to 53% for website articles.

That compares favorably with B2B content marketers’ perceptions of social media’s effectiveness. In a recent study of B2B content marketers, CMI and MarketingProfs found only 49% rating social media as an effective content marketing tool.

Still, B2C content marketers were most likely to rate in-person events (62%) as effective, as were their B2B counterparts (67%). B2C marketers also put email newsletters at the top of the effectiveness list alongside in-person events, while newsletters were further down the list for B2B marketers. Other tactics which B2C marketers were more likely to rate as effective were videos (61% vs. 58%), print magazines (51% vs. 34%), and print newsletters (42% vs. 28%). Conversely, B2B marketers were more likely to rate case studies and webinars as effective, among others. They are also more likely to use these tactics than their B2C counterparts.

Facebook Easily The Most Popular Social Media Site

B2C marketers use an average of 4 social media sites to distribute content, and the most popular is Facebook, used by 90% of respondents. Twitter (69%) and YouTube (65%) are next, although they trail rather distantly. Beyond that second tier of adoption are LinkedIn (51%), Google+ (41%), and Pinterest (35%). No other site – such as Flickr, Foursquare, Vimeo, and Instagram – garnered more than 14% adoption.

In contrast to B2C respondents, LinkedIn is most popular on the B2B side.

B2C Content Marketers Look For Customers First

The top organizational goals for B2C content marketers are customer retention and loyalty (77%) and customer acquisition (75%), with brand awareness (74%) closely behind. There are some marked differences in content marketing goals between B2C marketers and B2B marketers. Although both rate customer acquisition and brand awareness highly, lead generation and thought leadership are far more prevalent goals for B2B marketers, while B2C respondents are more focused on generating sales.

Budgets Prove A Hindrance

Further details from the report, “B2C Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America” reveal that the biggest challenge for B2C content marketers is lack of a budget, cited by 23%. (This is less of an issue for B2B marketers.) Producing enough content, the biggest challenge for B2B marketers, is not as much of a problem on the B2C side, indicated to be the biggest challenge by 15%. Another big challenge: producing the kind of content that engages. That’s the biggest concern for 15% of B2C respondents, as compared to 18% of B2B marketers.

Other Findings:

  • The least-used B2C content marketing tactics are games/gamification (17%) and virtual conferences (21%).
  • After social media and website articles, other top tactics used are eNewsletters (78%), videos (69%), blogs (69%), and in-person events (63%).
  • Web traffic (62%), direct sales (55%), and social media sharing (52%) are the leading ways B2C marketers measure their content marketing success.
  • 55% will increase their content marketing spend, compared to just 3% who will decrease it.
  • On average, B2C respondents devote 28% of their marketing budgets to content marketing, slightly less than the 33% share allocated by B2B respondents.
  • Most B2C content marketers create their content in-house (53%), while many (44%) combine in-house content creation with outsourcing. Only 2% fully outsource their content creation.
  • Only 32% of B2C content marketers believe they’re effective (25%) or very effective (7%) at content marketing (4 or 5 on a 5-point scale). B2B marketers (36%) are slightly more confident.
  • Much as was found on the B2B side, the most effective B2C marketers allocate more budgets to content marketing, use more tactics, are more likely to tailor content to a decision-maker, and are less challenged with producing engaging content and getting buy-in.

About the Data: “B2C Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends ”“ North America” was produced by MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute, and sponsored by Pace. A survey was mailed electronically to a sample of B2C marketers from among members and subscribers of MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute. A total of 354 responded, in August 2012, from North American companies, representing a full range of industries, functional areas, and company sizes.

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