What are the B2B trends?
What’s the best B2B content for your brand?
What’s your future as a B2B content marketer?
What B2B content doesn’t work in today’s business world?
What types of content do they use in their social media marketing.
- 71% use visual assets in their social media marketing.
- Close behind was blogging (70%).
- Video at 57%, but gaining quickly.
- Podcasting is only used by 10% of marketers and represents an opportunity.
- B2B marketers are much more likely to use blogging (77%) when compared to B2C marketers (64%).
- Podcasting is also more common among B2B (12%) than B2C (9%).
- The self-employed are more likely to useblogging (79%) than businesses with 1000+ employees (54%).
Visual content is still king in the social media marketing world. As they say a picture is worth a thousand words. Interesting that blogging is right behind, yet when I poll the businesses in my marketplace, blogging isn’t even on the radar.
Video although third, is rapidly gaining and will eventually be #1. I believe the limiting factor is FEAR, of producing, editing, etc. It is a daunting task as is any new skill to learn. However, there are many tools and training videos available. YouTube is now making it easier than ever before with it’s free editing tools and royalty free music.
Source: Social Media Examiner Study
What’s the single most important form of content for their business.
- Nearly half of marketers (45%) selected blogging as their most important content
- Followed by visual assets (34%)
- Then videos (19%). This chart clearly reveals the importance of the written word.
Blogging is more important for B2B marketers (57% say it is the most important) than B2C marketers (39% claim it is most important). B2C marketers place more importance on visual content (40% say it is the most important) than B2B marketers (only 24% claim it is most important).
For self-employed marketers, 57% said blogging was the most important, compared to only 29% of those at businesses with more than 1000 employees.
B2B CHANGE IN CONTENT CREATION
How much more content is your organization creating?
- 70% are creating more versus the previous year
B2B marketers from companies of all sizes are creating more content—the sense that to be the thought leader and rise above the noise is compelling.
The most effective B2B marketers and those who have a documented content marketing strategy are creating the most content (80% of both of those segments say they are creating more, versus 70% overall).
Number of Audiences that B2B Marketers Target
How many different audiences does your organization target with separate content marketing strategies?
- The average number is 4, the exact same as B2C which is interesting.
- The number of audiences that B2B marketers target is often related to how large the B2B marketer’s organization is. For example, smaller companies (1-9 employees) target an average of three audiences, whereas enterprise companies (1,000+ employees) target an average of six.
B2C marketers target an average of 4 audiences, regardless of how large the B2C marketer’s company is. This is different from B2B companies: large B2B companies target more audiences than small B2B companies do.
B2B Content Marketing Tactic Usage
Which content marketing tactics does your organization use?
Social media content and eNewsletters top the list Average Number Used: 13
Fewer than 40% of B2B marketers said they use the following tactics:
- Branded Content Tools (38%)
- eBooks (37%)
- Print Magazines (32%)
- Books (30%)
- Mobile Apps (30%)
- Digital Magazines (27%)
- Virtual Conferences (23%)
- Podcasts (22%)
- Print Newsletters (21%)
- And Games/Gamification (12%).
The biggest jump in usage has been for infographics content (from 51% to 62%). Illustrations/photos is new to the list this year.
Changes in B2B Content Marketing Tactic Usage
Tactic usage continues to grow with the exception of the articles for your website.
This chart takes a closer look at the tactics that more than 75% of B2B marketers use, and how that usage has changed over the last few years. As you can see, usage has steadily risen for these 4 key tactics, with the exception of articles on your website, which has gone down slightly.
B2B Content Marketing Social Media Platform Usage
The numbers make clear the rise of social media. This chart shows the platforms that B2B marketers use most frequently.
To put the growth of social media into perspective, B2B marketers in 2010 said they used:
- Twitter (55%)
- Facebook (54%)
- LinkedIn (51%)
- YouTube (38%)
- And “other” (8%).
Trending data for the social media platforms that are used most often. The numbers make clear the rise of social media. After a dramatic rise in usage between 2013 and 2014, LinkedIn has leveled off. The use of all the other platforms shown here continues to increase.
Look at the huge growth in Instagram in just two years.
B2B Paid Advertising Usage
Which paid advertising methods do you use to promote/distribute content?
- 80% use at least one – Average Number Used: 3
The most effective B2C marketers, as well as those who have a documented strategy, use all of these paid methods a bit more frequently than the overall sample.
- B2B marketers use less paid methods than their B2C counterparts (who use an average of 4).
- In fact, more B2C than B2B marketers use each of the methods shown here.
The biggest difference is in the use of print or other offline promotion, which only 52% of B2B
Effectiveness for B2B Paid Advertising Methods
How effective are the paid advertising methods that you use to distribute content?
- B2B marketers have the most confidence in search engine marketing (SEM or SEO)
SEO if effective costs more and takes more time. It’s not a set it and forget it strategy. Local SEO is playing a bigger role for businesses that are local. Keywords, Content and Links play a key role. Deal with reputable companies, otherwise you’ll get penalized by one of the Google updates that are occurring more frequently. I applaud Google for trying to ferret out the spammers and let the true content providers rise in search rankings.
- 30% of B2B marketers use “print or other offline promotion,” only 36% of them say it is effective.
Although the percentage of marketers who use “newer” paid methods such as native advertising and content discovery tools isn’t very high yet, 36% of those who use them say they are effective. This is a higher confidence rating than marketers give for the more established (and more frequently used) methods of “print or other offline promotion” and “traditional online banner ads.”
Total Marketing Budget Spent on B2B Content Marketing
Approximately what percentage of your organization’s total marketing budget (not including staff) is spent on content marketing?
- The average is 28%
There is a correlation between effectiveness and the amount of budget allocated to content marketing.
The most effective marketers allocate 37%, on average, whereas the least effective allocate 16%.
Just a few years ago it was in the single digits. Social Media is grabbing a larger share of the marketing budget as more companies get comfortable with social media and it’s potential.
Last year, B2B marketers said they allocated 27% of their budget to content marketing. There is a correlation between effectiveness and the amount of budget allocated to content marketing.
- The most effective B2B marketers allocate 37%, on average.
- The least effective allocate 16%.
B2B marketers who have a Content marketing strategy allocate even more budget (34%).
B2B Content Marketing Spending (Over Next 12 Months)
How do you expect your organization’s content marketing budget to change in the next 12 months?
- 55% say they will increase spending
55% of the most effective B2B marketers plan to increase their spending, which is the same percentage as last year.
Challenges that B2B Marketers Face
With regard to content marketing, how challenged are you with each of the following?
- 54% cite producing engaging content
Producing engaging content is a persistent challenge.
“Producing engaging content” has been a perennial top challenge over the last five years.
This year, we saw a big jump in…
- “Measuring content effectiveness” (from 33% to 49%)
- “Finding trained content marketing professionals” (from 10% to 32%).
This year, we replaced the option of “producing enough
content” with “producing content consistently.” New to the
list this year is “technology-related challenges.”
- As it is for their B2C counterparts, producing engaging content is a perennial top challenge for B2B marketers.
This year, we replaced the option of producing enough content with producing content consistently. New to the list this year is technology-related challenges.
B2B PROFILE BEST IN CLASS
What distinguishes a B2B best in class content marketer?
- Having a well thought out and content marketing strategy. Make no mistake, it’s critical and it’s subject to change with social media marketing platforms and conditions.
Do you suppose your favorite sports team enters the game without a plan and strategy? Yet, I witness countless businesses that enter the social media world without a plan or strategy.
What are the most effective?
- High customer engagement ranks the highest. How easy is it today for the customer to spread the word via social media either good or bad? Get the customer on your side and they can be your additional marketing arm.
What are the least effective?
- Producing content that’s engaging, day in and day out, that’s effective. Interestingly that is the same for B2C.
Remember when the internet and email was first introduced into the work day back in the mid 1990’s? We learned to adapt and incorporate that into our everyday workflow. Social Media is no different today. In the future we will have more employees engaged in social media outside the social media group. Think Zappos, where 1000+ employees all have a Twitter account.
- Measuring the effectiveness and ROI of the content you produce.
New tools will continue to come to the B2B marketer to measure more effectively. To be able to maximize exactly the content and time will be big winners for all.
Which content marketing initiatives are you working on?
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Blair Evan Ball is a Social Media Coach and founder of Prepare1, a company that works with businesses, individuals and non-profits. He is a former executive with a Fortune 50 company, and his national division did $1Billion+ in sales annually.
Blair has written three e-books: Facebook for Business Made Easy, Facebook Pages for Business Made Easy, and WordPress Blog Setup Made Easy.
Blair also educates, trains entrepreneurs and business professionals how to amplify their brand, increase revenues, and raise more funds.
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