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52 Content Marketing Statistics (With Key Takeaways)

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by Katie Oberthaler

15 July 2021

Looking for content marketing statistics for 2021? You’ve come to the right place. 

 

We’ve gathered the latest tips, trends, and data that will give you a picture of the entire content marketing landscape. These up-to-date statistics are useful for understanding where the industry is now and where it will be soon. Use the insight below to make smarter budgeting decisions and see better results this year and beyond. 

 

In this post, we’ll cover:

 

Content Strategy Statistics

Content strategy is a unique mixture of art and science. Whether you’re refreshing a strategy or starting from scratch, these content strategy statistics may help you define your roadmap:

 

  • In 2020, 70% of marketers reported changing their targeting/messaging strategy. (B2B Content Marketing, 2021)
  • 64% of marketers have adjusted their editorial calendar in the past year. (B2B Content Marketing, 2021)
  • 53% of marketers have changed their content distribution/promotion strategy before 2021. (B2B Content Marketing, 2021)
  • Nearly 80% of B2B marketers report having a content marketing strategy, but only 43% have documented their strategy. That number jumps to 60% among the most successful companies. (B2B Content Marketing, 2021)
  • 79% of marketers reported “generating more quality leads” to be their top content priority in 2021. (Semrush, 2020)
  • Only 31% of B2B marketers reported their organization was extremely or very successful
  • with content marketing in the last 12 months. (B2B Content Marketing, 2021)

 

Takeaway: 

Content marketing has seen dynamic shifts this past year. No matter which industry or audience they serve, marketers have been making major changes to all aspects of their work.

One of the most notable changes has to do with the way businesses have been refreshing their content marketing plans. Not only have they been adjusting their weekly and monthly content schedules, but they've also been looking at their messaging on a macro level. If you haven't already spring-cleaned your content marketing, now is a great time to do so.

It's also become increasingly clear that content marketers need to focus on smarter targeted goals. But what's the point of making progress if you can't measure it? For content marketers in 2021, being able to clearly point to the return on investment will be a major win for their team and the company as a whole. 

Content Marketing ROI Statistics

Having proven results is a must for any marketing team that uses content as part of their strategy. Here’s how other content marketers are performing: 

  • Only 4% of marketers measure ROI over a six-month period or longer. (LinkedIn, 2021)
  • The top priority for 44% of marketers is to better measure the ROI of demand gen efforts. (HubSpot, 2021)
  • For every dollar brands invest in email marketing, they receive $42 in return. (Litmus, 2021)
  • Marketers who blog regularly experience ROI 13 times greater than marketers who don’t blog. (Lauro Media, 2021) 
  • Companies that invest in Google Ads on average see double their investment in earnings. (Google, 2020)
  • Content marketing creates three times as many leads as traditional marketing and costs 64% less. (Showpad, 2020)

 

Takeaway: 

Marketers understand they should be measuring ROI, but they’re not sure if they are measuring it for long enough. They’re also unsure whether they’re covering all the right categories. This is because it's a complex and time-consuming process. 

To collect, organize, and derive insights from all of that data, content marketers will have to rely on a tool or system that can automate these steps.

Those who have been consistently measuring ROI find that specific yet common content channels are generating the best results. From the content marketing statistics above, we see that email marketing, blogging, and Google Ads are performing well. Although they may not work for every content marketer, these three platforms have proved to be powerful additions to nearly any strategy.

Creative Content Marketing Statistics

Here are the creative content marketing statistics you need to know in order to set expectations,  accurately plan projects, and pick areas of focus:

  • A 2020 Ziflow survey found that the main priority for 55% of marketing agencies was to increase creative output and project bandwidth. (Ziflow, 2020)
  • Revisions also account for delays — 52% of marketing teams said an asset is revised between three and five times before it is considered final. 20% of teams reported five to 10 revisions for assets. (Ziflow, 2020)
  • 54% of marketing leaders attributed creative production delays to having more projects than their team could handle. (Ziflow, 2020)
  • Design and visual content is the biggest challenge for 23.7% of content marketers.  (HubSpot, 2021)
  • 65% of marketers find it challenging to create engaging content that also ranks well in search results. (Small Biz Genius, 2021)
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has created a lot more work for creative content teams. Over 50% of surveyed marketing leaders said they were busier than ever following the COVID-19 crisis in March 2020. (2020 Ziflow Creative Production Benchmark Survey)

 

(Source: 2020 Ziflow Creative Production Benchmark Survey)

 

Takeaway: 

While marketers will likely continue outsourcing content, half of all marketers are interested in growing their creative marketing teams. Bringing marketing in-house lets gives teams complete creative control over assets and tends to accelerate the completion of projects.

Not only are marketers seeing immediate results in engagement levels and email marketing (among other platforms), but they're also finding out that specific elements such as design and visual components are more challenging to produce for these outlets than others.

B2B Content Marketing Statistics

B2B content marketing is seeing some fresh engagement across the board. 

  • 44% of B2B organizations have seen their sales cycles increase in the past year, and yet marketers continue to feel pressure to provide concrete proof of ROI. (LinkedIn, 2020)
  • 92% of B2B marketers now have an ABM program, and 68% of them use automation. (Martech, 2020)
  • 46% of B2B marketers planned to increase their marketing spend in 2020 vs the previous year, 12% of those by more than 9%. (Statista, 2021)
  • 95% of B2B customers view content as a marker of trust when evaluating a business. (Ziflow, 2020)
  • In 2020, 86% of B2B companies outsourced content creation, and 30% outsourced content distribution. (Ziflow, 2020)

 

Takeaway: 

For B2B marketers, the next few years will prove to be interesting. They're faced with similar challenges that B2C content marketers also deal with (like proving ROI) but they're also eager to expand and will budget accordingly.

The biggest difference between B2B and B2C content marketing in today’s landscape is that B2B marketing will require major changes in process in order to achieve success. That includes everything from setting up and running their account-based marketing programs to organizing hybrid teams. 

As some companies return to onsite office work, others are going fully remote. This means that there will be shifts across personnel and even time zones in some cases. 

It also means there are more opportunities to reach a global audience than ever before. Although this isn't a new idea, it is one worth considering for B2B content creators. 

Blog Content Statistics

Blogging is the cornerstone of many SEO and content marketing strategies. Use these blog content statistics to promote budget and team expansion in this area: 

  • For as much as 71% of B2B industry professionals, purchasing decisions are influenced by reading a corporate blog at some point. (LinkedIn, 2018)
  • 89% of content marketers used blog posts in their content creation strategy in 2020. (MarketingProfs, 2020)
  • 55% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority. (HubSpot, 2021)
  • Desktop traffic accounts for 83% of all traffic to marketing blogs. (HubSpot, 2021)
  • 57% of marketers say that blogging has brought in new customers (OptinMonster, 2021)

Takeaway: 

As you can see from the statistics above, blogging is a very influential form of content marketing. It's a central part of many strategies for a reason. Not only is it helpful for sales, but it's also a great way to bring in fresh leads. 

As Google continues to update its algorithm with search that can analyze multimedia elements within blog posts, content marketers will have to think of new and creative ways to use multiple mediums within their blog content. 

Video Content Statistics

Video content has been growing steadily in recent years and experienced a boom in 2020. Here’s exactly how significant that boom was and what it means for video content marketing in the near future: 

  • About 91% of marketers believe video is more important for brands in light of the coronavirus pandemic. (Wyzowl, 2021)
  • Around 40% of marketers say the pandemic affected their plans around video marketing. (Wyzowl, 2021)
  • 91% of marketers are satisfied with the ROI they’ve seen from video marketing on social media. (Animoto, 2020)
  • Video has overtaken blogs and infographics to become the top form of media used in content strategy. (HubSpot, 2021)

 

 

Takeaway: 

 

Video content has been important over the past few years but it's grown even more relevant now. Marketers will continue to prioritize it and find great ROI in their results. 

And it’s not just delegated to a single platform. Video will be part of every other element of content marketing plans moving forward. That includes social media, email marketing, and even blogging. From seminars to casual tutorials, you can expect to see a wide variety of content marketing videos this year.

Audio Content Statistics

From voice search to Google’s algorithms to tips on how to maximize your existing content, here’s what to pay attention to: 

  • Voice search will continue to rise with increased adoption. Marketers should adjust for natural language in their content. (DBS, 2021)
  • 52% of people who use voice assistants do so several times a day. (NPR, 2020)
  • As of 2020, Google’s search algorithms were trying to move beyond text to include voice and podcasts among other forms of multimedia. (HubSpot, 2021)
  • Voice-based shopping is expected to jump to $40 billion in 2022. (Quora Creative, 2020) 
  • 17% of marketers plan to incorporate podcasts into their content marketing strategy. (HubSpot, 2021)

 

Takeaway: 

If you're not already prepared for voice search, you’re behind. That's what the audio content statistics are telling us based on this past year. Voice assistants are a valuable part of day-to-day life for everyone from senior citizens to people who have disabilities to others who simply dislike typing into their phones.

 

In order to be competitive in the next five years, businesses will need to embrace voice search optimization, podcasting, and other forms of audio communication across all of their marketing channels.

SEO Content Statistics

Wondering how your SEO content matches up against your competitors? Here's the inside scoop:

  • 42% of marketers say improving their SEO is a concern. (Semrush, 2020)
  • The use of search engine marketing and pay-per-click ads have increased from 51% to 65%. (HubSpot, 2021)
  • In 2020, 75% of marketers reported SEO was the most effective content marketing tactic they implemented during the year. That was followed by updating and repurposing existing content, a strategy used by 61% of respondents. (Semrush, 2020)

 

 

  • 72% of marketers say content creation is their best SEO tactic. (OptinMonster, 2021)
  • Google Analytics is the top SEO tool used by marketers. (HubSpot, 2021)

Takeaway: 

Content marketing has seen a huge boom this past year, which also means that it has become more competitive than ever. The good news is you won't have to reinvent the wheel. In order to stand out, marketers will either create fresh content or repurpose old content or do a mixture of the two depending on how they break down their own sales funnel percentages. 

Regardless, both paid and organic search will continue to be priorities.

Social Content Statistics

With content marketing, it pays to be social. Discover ad revenue information, industry growth, and most popular platforms with the social contents statistics.

  • Social media ad revenues reached $41.5 billion in 2020 making up nearly 30% of all internet ad revenue. (IAB, 2021)
  • 89% of marketers said social media was the most popular content distribution channel used in 2020. (B2B Content Marketing, 2021) 
  • In the past year, the use of social media advertising and paid ad posts increased from 60% to 83%. (B2B Content Marketing, 2021) 
  • YouTube is the fourth most-used social media platform by marketers (after Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter). (HubSpot, 2021)
  • Facebook is the biggest social network worldwide boasting roughly 2.8 billion monthly active users as of Q4 2020. (Statista, 2021)

 

Takeaway: 

Regardless of which platforms you choose, social media ads are seeing fantastic results and are growing in popularity. Because video is king at the moment, it should come as no surprise that YouTube is in the top four social media apps. However, marketers might be surprised to find that Facebook is still leading the pack, despite TikTok's surge this year. 

Content marketing experts will need to balance the desire to jump onto new platforms with the need to continue expanding on current ones. 

The Future of Content Marketing

 From budgets to performance, here are the trends worth paying attention to this year:

  • 94% of marketers in 39 countries are budgeting for content marketing. (Semrush, 2020)
  • 68% of marketers have planned on increasing their content marketing budget this year. (Semrush, 2020)

 

  • Digital ad spend grew 12% in 2020 and shows no sign of slowing down. (CNBC, 2021)
  • Website user experience (UX) elements like page loading performance, interactive delay, and visual stability need to be optimized, since Google implemented its new Core Web Vitals in May 2021 (VisualOak, 2021)

Takeaway: 

Whether it's through social media, blogging, or any of the many content marketing channels, marketers are not only prioritizing content but they're also increasing their budgets to match. 

As they continue to invest in proven methods such as digital ads, marketers will also tinker with websites and content optimization for SEO purposes. Also, marketers who jump on the AR and VR Trends now will have incredible payoffs. All of that technical setup and maintenance might require additional team members and tools to pull it all together. 

Final Thoughts

These new content marketing statistics are valuable for understanding which of your decisions will drive the most success this coming year. Whether it's blogging, video content, or SEO strategy, use these insights to create a winning content marketing strategy for many years to come. 

 

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