Marketing is an industry that’s always changing. B2B content marketing is no different.
Staying ahead of content marketing trends can be challenging—especially when there are hundreds of new techniques, trends and “things to watch” every other week.
(Don’t believe me? Do a quick Google search for “content marketing trends” and see for yourself.)
If you’re questioning how you can jump onto these so-called trends, or even know whether they’re worth adding into your current strategy, there’s one thing that can help: B2B content marketing statistics.
Cold, hard evidence can tell you what content marketing strategies are effective for growing your business and connecting with new and existing B2B customers.
(AKA: The ones that’ll help you meet your KPIs–whether that’s an increase in organic traffic, social shares, or customers.)
That’s why I’ve got your back with this post.
Here are the biggest (and best) B2B content marketing stats you’ll need for 2020.
Click to jump to a specific section:
- Content marketing strategy
- Content creation statistics
- Modern content preferences
- Content promotion statistics
- Content and SEO
- The impact of content marketing on sales
- Content marketing tools
- Popular content marketing metrics
- How content marketing will look in 2020
Content Marketing Strategy
69% of successful B2B marketers have a documented content strategy
According to Content Marketing Institute‘s 2020 report, 69% of successful B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.
The value of one is proven not just by that statistic, but the fact that 16% of the least successful marketers have one.
That’s why content marketing should form a huge chunk of your entire cross-channel marketing strategy if you want to be on-par (or beat) your competition.
Content Creation Statistics
45% of content creation is done on an ad-hoc basis
While B2B businesses say they’re using content marketing, it seems they’re not very consistent with it.
Over half of all companies say their blogging is consistent, with 45% saying their content is created on an ad-hoc basis.
Top-performing B2B blog posts include “the future of”
Ever wish you could take a peek into the future?
You’re not the only one.
According to data collected by the team at Buzzsumo, top-performing B2B headlines include “the future of”:
So, what does that mean for the B2B content marketing plans you’ve got?
Consider making the switch from traditional evergreen content (like “here’s how” or “how to create”), and start sharing your opinion on what the future of your industry holds.
62% of companies outsource their content marketing
Who do you call when your company’s servers go down? IT, right? After all, they’re the experts who can identify why a server crashed and get it back up and running in the shortest time possible, even if you’re not all that clueless yourself.
That’s because IT is their field of expertise–as yours is marketing a product, managing social media, or running your company.
62% of companies outsource their content marketing because they don’t have the time, expertise or resources to manage their strategy in-house.
(This could be why we’re heading towards a gig economy.)
Outsourcing content marketing means companies have a wide range of on-demand talent to produce their content.
And, when you decide to hire a content writer or outsource other content marketing work, it’s much more manageable to publish more than 16 blog posts a month–or stick to your content calendar.
Outsourcing is an effective solution for generating expert-quality work without the costs of hiring an employee or team (like pensions, benefits, or health insurance).
More importantly, you’re not stretching yourself too thin and can continue doing the job you’re most qualified for.
Content creation is the most popular activity to outsource
The same Content Marketing Institute report found that out of all the content-related tasks a business could outsource, the vast majority (84%) is related to creation.
That’s shortly followed by distribution, technology, and strategy:
Almost 90% of marketers think repurposing their content is a better use of their time
Don’t have time to create a new piece of content from scratch?
Take a leaf from the 89.5% of B2B marketers who say that repurposing existing content is the more effective than producing new content in terms of time, costs, and results.
A third of them say that increased exposure is the best benefit of repurposing, followed by 21% who think it drives more traffic and saves time.
So, how do you repurpose content? Turning one piece into a video is the most popular technique:
The average person spends just 37 seconds reading online content
…I know, that’s shocking–especially when we spend so much time creating content, in the first place.
(And, I have to admit: As a writer, it turns my stomach.)
But it’s true.
The average reader only spends 37 seconds reading your content, meaning you don’t have long to convince them that you’re worthy of their time.
Luckily, it’s easily preventable–and starts by making sure your blog posts are well-structured.
Hook a reader into clicking your post by enticing them with an intriguing headline. The introduction should be something that draws them in and keeps them interested in reading further.
The rest of the content should be formatted for easy navigation and reading, using proper headings. Not only does this help to improve your SEO, but organized headings allow readers to scan through your post to find exactly the information they’re looking for.
Run a case study. Link to a research survey. Share a unique opinion.
Whatever you do, ensure that the content you’re publishing is relevant and useful.
Tech B2B buyers are most likely to share video content
Data by Isoline Comms surveyed a range of B2B tech buyers and found that 53% of respondents think video is the most useful form of content.
So, it probably won’t come as a surprise to see that in 2020, video is beating other types of content like blogs, interviews, and webinars:
76% of B2B buyers are more likely to share whitepapers with their colleagues
We know the average B2B buying decision involves over five people.
But if you’re looking to encourage potential business customers to share your content with their colleagues, head for a whitepaper format. Why? Because the same Demand Gen report found B2B white papers are the second-most shared type of content.
52% of buyers prefer mobile-optimized content
We all know that 2020 is “the year for mobile”–even if it’s been said for the past five.
But if your website (and the content hosted on it) isn’t optimized for mobile viewers, it’s not just Google’s bad books you’ll land yourself in.
It’ll be your target audience’s, too, because half of B2B buyers prefer mobile-optimized content they can access on their smartphone, tablet, or other non-PC device:
Content Promotion Statistics
35% of content marketers say online communities is the best promotion method
Databox polled hundreds of B2B marketers and found that online communities are the best source of content promotion.
Some 35% say it’s their preferred method, followed by 28% voting for organic social and 11% for paid social.
It’s no surprise, really. They also found that some sites get 31-50% of their entire traffic from online communities like Quora, Reddit, and Growth Hackers:
Content and SEO Statistics
72% of buyers turn to Google during the awareness stage
Creating content for each stage of the funnel should already form part of your B2B content marketing checklist.
One of the most important stages in that funnel is the “awareness” stage –when a customer is taking the first steps to learn about a problem they’re facing.
According to data by Pardot, a huge chunk of B2B buyers within the awareness stage turn to Google for help.
(72%, to be exact.)
That means you’ll need to turn your attention to optimizing content strategy for SEO–and guaranteeing that your content finds its way to the top of their search results.
Google remains the top source of traffic for blogs
Wondering how to drive more traffic to your blog?
According to data collected by Growth Badger, you’ll need to focus on unpaid and organic traffic from Google.
This source has been ranked as the most important marketing channel for successful bloggers–beating email, influencer outreach, and traditional PR to the top spot:
85% of users ignore paid ads and focus on organic search results
When you head to Google throughout that awareness stage, which results do you take more notice of: Paid ads or organic results?
If you skip past paid results and head to the organic listings, you’re not the only one.
So, what does that mean for businesses who’re investing $$$ into content marketing?
The answer is: Focus hard on SEO. Follow the best practices for creating a strong blog post that’s likely to rank, and work with your SEO department to build juicy backlinks.
You’ll get there soon.
The top 10% of SaaS blogs receive 104,000 visits each month from organic search
Are you in the SaaS industry? A solid SEO strategy is probably the best way to drive eyeballs to your content.
Emily Byford analyzed SaaS blogs, and found each domain in the top 10% receive mores more than 104,000 organic visits each month.
(If that’s not a solid argument for the use of content marketing in SEO, I don’t know what is.)
Content marketing is the most important SEO task for a start-up company
Given all of those statistics about organic search, it’ll probably comes as no surprise that most SEOs are turning to content marketing.
In fact, Databox found that it’s the most important SEO task for a start-up company:
93% of B2B content gets zero external backlinks
Speaking of backlinks, you might set out on a search to gain links to your website–whether through guest blogging or HARO–to boost the success of your content.
…That might be a harder job than you think.
In fact, when Backlinko studied 912 million blog posts, they found 93% of B2B content gets zero external links from other websites:
More than 35% of marketers use keyword analysis as their main source of content ideas
If you’re unsure on what type of content to fill your calendar with, you’re not alone.
Databox polled several SEO and content marketing experts to find out their best source for finding new content ideas. The most popular? Keyword analysis.
Content Marketing and Sales
53% of B2B buyers will read 3-5 pieces of content before contacting the supplier
How often have you purchased something without doing some research beforehand?
I’ll bet your answer is “rarely”, if ever.
Your customers will be the same–53% of B2B buyers consume three to five pieces of content before reaching out to a sales rep.
That’s why it’s important that your content spans a wide range of formats and topics. For example: Your B2B company could produce:
- A blog post to share and discuss thoughts made by an industry leader
- A case study to examine and verify those claims
- A white paper to dive deeper into the methodology and results of the case study, all based on your initial blog post
What’s that translate to for your brand? Credibility, industry authority, relevance, and brand awareness.
If your content is suitably impressive and ticks the four boxes I just mentioned, a potential customer is already closer to engaging with a sales rep.
95% of buyers are willing to share their name, company and email address in return for content
A huge number of brands are opting to share their content for free. That’s a fantastic strategy, and one I’d second.
…For the most part.
Blog posts, survey data and videos? Yes. Make them public, easy to access, and free.
But if you’ve got something extra–like a whitepaper or eBook, for example–you could be missing a trick by making them easy/free for anyone to view.
That’s because 95% of buyers are willing to hand over their name, company and email address in return for content, and 85% are willing to share their job title or industry.
Why not gate your content, and ask for that information prior to dishing it out?
That’ll leave you with a bunch of email addresses you can either plug into your email marketing series, or hand over to your sales department to nurture. And if they do their job well, there’s a strong possibility those readers could be long-term, high-paying customers.
Half of all content created in 2019 was for top-of-the-funnel
There are five main stages that a customer passes through on their journey to becoming a customer, including:
- Awareness: Someone with a vague interest in your product/industry
- Consideration or Intent: Someone who knows they’re struggling with a problem you can solve, who is looking for a solution
- Evaluation: Someone looking for who they should purchase their solution from
- Purchase: They hit “buy”
- Loyalty: Someone who continues to purchase from you multiple times
Last year, 50% of all content created by B2B marketers was geared at people in the first stage–also known as “top of the funnel.”
Unfortunately, just 11% of content was created for existing customers. Content geared for these people can increase retention, and encourage them to become an advocate for your brand:
Content Marketing Tools
86% of B2B organizations use analytics tools
Tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and dashboard visualisation tools like Databox are the most popular technologies used by B2B organisations in 2020.
It’s shortly followed by email marketing software, and social media publishing tools:
Content Marketing Metrics
90% of B2B marketers measure content success by email engagement
The most popular metric that B2B marketers use to track content performance is email engagement–in terms of opens, clicks, and downloads.
Surprisingly, marketing qualified lead (MQL) metrics are least popular, with fewer than half of B2B marketers using the metric to measure content performance:
Almost 40% of marketers measure their content performance every week
The majority of B2B marketers monitor the success of their content every week, with over 25% reporting they check their metrics daily.
Some marketers are on the other ends of the spectrum though: 11% check their content marketing metrics several times per day, and another 11% only check-in once a month:
69% of B2B companies will prioritize investment in content measurement and analytics in 2020
A similar report published by Marketing Charts found that 69% of B2B companies will be focusing on measurement and analytics in 2020.
It’s the top investment priority to meet data-driven marketing and advertising goals:
Content Marketing in 2020
The content marketing industry will be worth $412 billion by 2021
It’s reported that following a four-year growth spurt, the global content marketing industry will be worth over $400 billion (up from $195.58 billion in 2016.)
The competition will be fiercer than ever. If you’ve not already started making a dent in your content marketing strategy, it’s now or never.
40%+ of B2B marketers will spend more time/money on content in 2020
Given that rise in the value of content, it’s no surprise that content marketing is the discipline that B2B marketers plan to devote most of their time and budget to in 2020,.
The Databox research found that content beats other tactics like video, social media marketing, and SEO by a mile:
48% of B2B content marketers will prioritize the quality of their audience in 2020
You can create all the content in the world, but if nobody is going to see it, there’s not much point in creating it. Sales won’t trickle in if there aren’t any eyeballs there.
That’s why the most popular priority for B2B content marketing teams in 2020 is improving the quality or conversion of their audience.
It’s followed by improving their promotion processes (46%) and focusing on the quality vs. quantity struggle (46%):
Start making the most out of these B2B content marketing statistics in 2020
Are you feeling inspired to tweak your strategy to reap the rewards that specific content techniques can bring?
I don’t blame you.
By staying on top of your content game, you can help your brand increase the ROI of any B2B content marketing strategy, improve your leads, and build some well-earned brand awareness.
It’s a no-brainer, really.