How will your B2C content marketing change in 2016?
Will it match up with what the industry marketers are saying?
Approximately 80% of B2C marketers plan to produce more content in 2016 vs. 2015, regardless of their organization’s effectiveness, size, documentation of content marketing strategy and editorial mission, clarity around success, or communication frequency. This is according to a recent study done by the Content Marketing Institute.
B2C marketers have made impressive progress over the past year with documenting their content marketing strategy (37% have a documented content marketing strategy vs. 27% last year). Next year B2C marketers will continue to have a documented content marketing strategy and research continues to show they are far more effective than those who have a verbal-only strategy or no strategy at all.
■ 48% of B2C marketers will continue to meet with their teams either daily or weekly to discuss their content marketing program; 28% of those marketers say the meetings are “extremely” valuable and 31% say they are “very” valuable.
More and more B2C marketers are using infographics (62% this year vs. 45% last year), making this the content marketing tactic with the greatest year-over-year increase. The effectiveness rating for infographics increased as well (42% said infographics were effective last year vs. 63% this year).
■ B2C marketers are getting better results with Facebook, which is the social media platform they use most often. This year, 66% rated it effective (vs. 58% last year).
■ There’s been a shift in the paid methods that B2C marketers use to promote/distribute content. Over the last year, the use of promoted posts, social ads, and search engine marketing (SEM) overtook print/other offline promotion as the paid method that B2C marketers use most frequently to distribute content.
■ B2C marketers are putting more budget toward content marketing. This year, they’re allocating 32% of their total marketing budget, on average, to content marketing (vs. 25% last year).
B2C CONTENT MARKETING TACTIC USAGE
B2C marketers are using more tactics, on average, than they did last year (12 vs. 11).
Social media content (other than blogs) remains the most often used tactic (93% last year vs. 90% this year).
The use of the following tactics increased most:
- Infographics (45% last year vs. 62% this year)
- Illustrations/photos (75% last year vs. 87% this year)
- Online presentations (36% last year vs. 48% this year)
- Other than the 3% decrease in the use of social media content, along with a slight decrease for branded content tools and podcasts (-1% for both), the use of all other tactics increased.
Note: Fewer than 40% of B2C marketers said they use the following tactics:
- Case Studies (38%)
- Research Reports (36%)
- Print Newsletters (35%)
- White Papers (32%)
- Digital Magazines (31%)
- Books (31%)
- eBooks (30%)
- Virtual Conferences (26%)
- Games/Gamification (22%)
- Podcasts (21%).
EFFECTIVENESS RATINGS FOR B2C TACTICS
Like last year, eNewsletters, in-person events, and illustrations/photos were rated the most effective tactics. Most continue to struggle with content, finding engaging content and then producing it. Time is also a limiting factor for small business.
Effectiveness ratings increased for all tactics shown here, except for blogs (54% last year vs. 53% this year). The greatest effectiveness rating increase was for infographics, up 21 percentage points (42% last year vs. 63% this year).
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube remain the platforms used most often. LinkedIn is only 1% point behind YouTube. Expect no major increases or decreases in their usage this coming last year. No new platforms have been mentioned coming to the market, only time will tell as these social media platforms mature.
Regarding other leading platforms:
- LinkedIn use increased from 71% to 76% – Expect bigger increase in the B2B space
- Google+ use increased from 68% to 72%
- Pinterest use increased from 59% to 61%
- The biggest increase in use was with Instagram, up 13 percentage points (49% last year vs. 62%
this year). Instagram you will see more Ads coming, based upon their parent company Facebook.
EFFECTIVENESS RATINGS FOR B2C SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
B2C marketers continually rate Facebook the most effective platform. Unlike their B2B counterparts which rank Facebook #3. Expect the effectiveness-rating to increase because of Facebook Ads and their ability to target your audience. Facebook jumped in this survey by Content Marketing Institute by the most of any other platform’s (58% last year vs. 66% this year).
The effectiveness of the remaining leading platforms fluctuated only slightly (either up or down).
B2C PAID ADVERTISING USAGE
The greatest effectiveness rating increase was for promoted posts, up 17 percentage points (59% last year vs. 76% this year). Facebook and Twitter have been doing a better job of helping you target the right audience. However, the key seems to be in the engagement or lack thereof of photos. Key is to create engaging photos and one of the top sites to design and create engaging photos is Canva.
The next largest increases were for:
- Social ads (60% last year vs. 74% this year)
- SEM (63% last year vs. 76% this year)
Search Engine Marketing continues to grow in an online world. More small businesses are going to come on board with this, and replace advertising dollars allocated elsewhere.
Use of other methods increased as well, except for print/other offline promotion, which decreased slightly (minus two percentage points). Last year, print/other offline promotion was the top method (at 71%).
EFFECTIVENESS RATINGS FOR B2C PAID ADVERTISING METHODS
As they did last year, B2C marketers say search engine marketing (SEM) is the most effective paid method for promoting/distributing content. The effectiveness rating of each paid method has increased over the past year, except for that of print/other offline promotion, which stayed the same.
The greatest effectiveness rating increase was for promoted posts (47% last year vs. 61% this year).
CONTENT OFFERS FOR B2C AUDIENCES
Most B2C marketers, regardless of effectiveness, company size, or other factors, focus mainly on eNewsletters and blogs. Email is not dead, and quite frankly is growing. Most companies have strategies and tactics to gain a wider audience in their email campaigns.
It is still one of the most trusted methods of communication, albeit without the spam.
ORGANIZATIONAL GOALS FOR B2C CONTENT MARKETING
Many B2C marketers are focused on sales, the most effective among them place more importance on brand awareness (91%), followed by customer retention/loyalty (86%), engagement (86%), and sales (82%).
Most people misunderstand the 1st step in content marketing is brand awareness. You can have the best product, the best service, and yet go unnoticed in a noisy world.
As B2C marketers enter 2016 five key areas rose to the top in terms of priorities.
- Better understanding of audience
- Becoming better storytellers
- Content personalization
- Becoming stronger writers
- Content curation
What do you see for 2016?
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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