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35 Content Marketing Statistics You Should Know

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35 Content Marketing Statistics You Should Know

Content continues to sit atop the list of priorities in most marketing strategies, and there is plenty of evidence to support the reasoning.

Simply put, content marketing is crucial to any digital marketing strategy, whether running a small local business or a large multinational corporation.

After all, content in its many and evolving forms is indisputably the very lifeblood upon which the web and social media are based.

Modern SEO has effectively become optimized content marketing for all intents and purposes.

This is when Google demands and rewards businesses that create content demonstrating experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) for their customers – content that answers all of the questions consumers may have about their services, products, or business in general.

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Content marketing involves creating and sharing helpful, relevant, entertaining, and consistent content in various text, image, video, and audio-based formats to the plethora of traditional and online channels available to modern marketers.

The primary focus should be on attracting and retaining a clearly defined audience, with the ultimate goal of driving profitable customer action.

Different types of content can and should be created for each stage of a customer’s journey.

Some content, like blogs or how-to videos, are informative or educational. Meanwhile, other content, like promotional campaign landing pages, gets to the point of enticing prospective customers to buy.

But with so much content being produced and shared every day, it’s important to stay updated on the latest trends and best practices in content marketing to keep pace and understand what strategies may be most effective.

Never has this been more true than in 2024, when we’re in the midst of a content revolution led by generative AI, which some feel represents both an opportunity and a threat to marketers.

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To help you keep up, here are 35 content marketing statistics I think you should know:

Content Marketing Usage

How many businesses are leveraging content marketing, and how are they planning to find success?

  1. According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 73% of B2B marketers, and 70% of B2C marketers use content marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy.
  2. 97% of marketers surveyed by Semrush achieved success with their content marketing in 2023.
  3. A B2B Content Marketing Study conducted by CMI found that 40% of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy; 33% have a strategy, but it’s not documented, and 27% have no strategy.
  4. Half of the surveyed marketers by CMI said they outsource at least one content marketing activity.

Content Marketing Strategy

What strategies are content marketers using or finding to be most effective?

  1. 83% of marketers believe it’s more effective to create higher quality content less often. (Source: Hubspot)
  2. In a 2022 Statista Research Study of marketers worldwide, 62% of respondents emphasized the importance of being “always on” for their customers, while 23% viewed content-led communications as the most effective method for personalized targeting efforts.
  3. With the increased focus on AI-generated search engine results, 31% of B2B marketers say they are sharpening their focus on user intent/answering questions, 27% are creating more thought leadership content, and 22% are creating more conversational content. (Source: CMI)

Types Of Content

Content marketing was synonymous with posting blogs, but the web and content have evolved into audio, video, interactive, and meta formats.

Here are a few stats on how the various types of content are trending and performing.

  1. Short-form video content, like TikTok and Instagram Reel, is the No. 1 content marketing format, offering the highest return on investment (ROI).
  2. 43% of marketers reported that original graphics (like infographics and illustrations) were the most effective type of visual content. (Source: Venngage)
  3. 72% of B2C marketers expected their organization to invest in video marketing in 2022. (Source: Content Marketing Institute – CMI)
  4. The State of Content Marketing: 2023 Global Report by Semrush reveals that articles containing at least one video tend to attract 70% more organic traffic than those without.
  5. Interactive content generates 52.6% more engagement compared to static content. On average, buyers spend 8.5 minutes viewing static content items and 13 minutes on interactive content items. (Source: Mediafly)

Content Creation

Creating helpful, unique, engaging content can be one of a marketer’s greatest challenges. However, innovative marketers are looking at generative AI as a tool to help ideate, create, edit, and analyze content quicker and more cost-effectively.

Here are some stats around content creation and just how quickly AI is changing the game.

  1. Generative AI reached over 100 million users just two months after ChatGPT’s launch. (Source: Search Engine Journal)
  2. A recent Ahrefs poll found that almost 80% of respondents had already adopted AI tools in their content marketing strategies.
  3. Marketers who are using AI said it helps most with brainstorming new topics (51%), researching headlines and keywords (45%), and writing drafts (45%). (Source: CMI)
  4. Further, marketers polled by Hubspot said they save 2.5 hours per day using AI for content.

Content Distribution

It is not simply enough to create and publish content.

For a content strategy to be successful, it must include distributing content via the channels frequented by a business’s target audience.

  1. Facebook is still the dominant social channel for content distribution, but video-centric channels like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram are growing the fastest.  (Source: Hubspot)
  2. B2B marketers reported to CMI that LinkedIn was the most common and top-performing organic social media distribution channel at 84% by a healthy margin. All other channels came in under 30%.
  3. 80% of B2B marketers who use paid distribution use paid social media advertising. (Source: CMI)

Content Consumption

Once content reaches an audience, it’s important to understand how an audience consumes the content or takes action as a result.

  1. A 2023 Content Preferences Study by Demand Gen reveals that 62% of B2B buyers prefer practical content like case studies to inform their purchasing decisions, citing “a need for valid sources.”
  2. The same study also found that buyers tend to rely heavily on content when researching potential business solutions, with 46% reporting that they increased the amount of content they consumed during this time.
  3. In a recent post, blogger Ryan Robinson reports the average reader spends 37 seconds reading a blog.
  4. DemandGen’s survey participants also said they rely most on demos (62%) and user reviews (55%) to gain valuable insights into how a solution will meet their needs.

Content Marketing Performance

One of the primary reasons content marketing has taken off is its ability to be measured, optimized, and tied to a return on investment.

  1. B2C marketers reported to CMI that the top three goals content marketing helps them to achieve are creating brand awareness, building trust, and educating their target audience.
  2. 87% of B2B marketers surveyed use content marketing successfully to generate leads.
  3. 56% of marketers who leverage blogging say it’s an effective tactic, and 10% say it generates the greatest return on investment (ROI).
  4. 94% of marketers said personalization boosts sales.

Content Marketing Budgets

Budget changes and the willingness to invest in specific marketing strategies are good indicators of how popular and effective these strategies are at a macro level.

The following stats certainly seem to indicate marketers have bought into the value of content.

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  1. 61% of B2C marketers said their 2022 content marketing budget would exceed their 2021 budget.
  2. 22% of B2B marketers said they spent 50% or more of their total marketing budget on content marketing. Furthermore, 43% saw their content marketing budgets grow from 2020 to 2021, and 66% expected them to grow again in 2022.

Content Challenges

All forms of marketing come with challenges related to time, resources, expertise, and competition.

Recognizing and addressing these challenges head-on with well-thought-out strategies is the best way to overcome them and realize success.

  1. Top 3 content challenges included “attracting quality leads with content” (45%), “creating more content faster” (38%), and “generating content ideas” (35%). (Source: Semrush’s The State of Content Marketing: 2023 Global Report)
  2. 44% of marketers polled for CMI’s 2022 B2B report highlighted the challenge of creating the right content for multi-level roles as their top concern. This replaced internal communication as the top challenge from the previous year.
  3. Changes to SEO/search algorithms (64%), changes to social media algorithms (53%), and data management/analytics (48%) are also among the top concerns for B2C marketers.
  4. 47% of people are seeking downtime from internet-enabled devices due to digital fatigue.
  5. While generative AI has noted benefits, it also presents challenges for some marketers who fear it may replace them. In Hubspot’s study, 23% said they felt we should avoid using generative AI.
  6. Another challenge with AI is how quickly it has come onto the scene without giving organizations time to provide training or to create policies and procedures for its appropriate and legal use. According to CMI, when asked if their organizations have guidelines for using generative AI tools, 31% of marketers said yes, 61% said no, and 8% were unsure.

Time To Get Started

As you can clearly see and perhaps have already realized, content marketing can be a highly effective and cost-efficient way to generate leads, build brand awareness, and drive sales. Content, in its many formats, powers virtually all online interactions.

Generative AI is effectively helping to solve some of the time and resource challenges by acting as a turbo-powered marketing assistant, while also raising a few procedural concerns.

However, the demand for content remains strong.

Those willing to put in the work of building a documented content strategy and executing it – by producing, optimizing, distributing, and monitoring high-value, relevant, customer-centric content, with the help of AI or not – can reap significant business rewards.

More resources:


Featured Image: Deemak Daksina/Shutterstock 

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Google Limits News Links In California Over Proposed ‘Link Tax’ Law

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A brown cardboard price tag with a twine string and a black dollar sign symbol, influenced by the Link Tax Law, set against a dark gray background.

Google announced that it plans to reduce access to California news websites for a portion of users in the state.

The decision comes as Google prepares for the potential passage of the California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA), a bill requiring online platforms like Google to pay news publishers for linking to their content.

What Is The California Journalism Preservation Act?

The CJPA, introduced in the California State Legislature, aims to support local journalism by creating what Google refers to as a “link tax.”

If passed, the Act would force companies like Google to pay media outlets when sending readers to news articles.

However, Google believes this approach needs to be revised and could harm rather than help the news industry.

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Jaffer Zaidi, Google’s VP of Global News Partnerships, stated in a blog post:

“It would favor media conglomerates and hedge funds—who’ve been lobbying for this bill—and could use funds from CJPA to continue to buy up local California newspapers, strip them of journalists, and create more ghost papers that operate with a skeleton crew to produce only low-cost, and often low-quality, content.”

Google’s Response

To assess the potential impact of the CJPA on its services, Google is running a test with a percentage of California users.

During this test, Google will remove links to California news websites that the proposed legislation could cover.

Zaidi states:

“To prepare for possible CJPA implications, we are beginning a short-term test for a small percentage of California users. The testing process involves removing links to California news websites, potentially covered by CJPA, to measure the impact of the legislation on our product experience.”

Google Claims Only 2% of Search Queries Are News-Related

Zaidi highlighted peoples’ changing news consumption habits and its effect on Google search queries (emphasis mine):

“It’s well known that people are getting news from sources like short-form videos, topical newsletters, social media, and curated podcasts, and many are avoiding the news entirely. In line with those trends, just 2% of queries on Google Search are news-related.”

Despite the low percentage of news queries, Google wants to continue helping news publishers gain visibility on its platforms.

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However, the “CJPA as currently constructed would end these investments,” Zaidi says.

A Call For A Different Approach

In its current form, Google maintains that the CJPA undermines news in California and could leave all parties worse off.

The company urges lawmakers to consider alternative approaches supporting the news industry without harming smaller local outlets.

Google argues that, over the past two decades, it’s done plenty to help news publishers innovate:

“We’ve rolled out Google News Showcase, which operates in 26 countries, including the U.S., and has more than 2,500 participating publications. Through the Google News Initiative we’ve partnered with more than 7,000 news publishers around the world, including 200 news organizations and 6,000 journalists in California alone.”

Zaidi suggested that a healthy news industry in California requires support from the state government and a broad base of private companies.

As the legislative process continues, Google is willing to cooperate with California publishers and lawmakers to explore alternative paths that would allow it to continue linking to news.

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Featured Image:Ismael Juan/Shutterstock

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The Best of Ahrefs’ Digest: March 2024

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The Best of Ahrefs’ Digest: March 2024

Every week, we share hot SEO news, interesting reads, and new posts in our newsletter, Ahrefs’ Digest.

If you’re not one of our 280,000 subscribers, you’ve missed out on some great reads!

Here’s a quick summary of my personal favorites from the last month:

Best of March 2024

How 16 Companies are Dominating the World’s Google Search Results

Author: Glen Allsopp

tl;dr

Glen’s research reveals that just 16 companies representing 588 brands get 3.5 billion (yes, billion!) monthly clicks from Google.

My takeaway

Glen pointed out some really actionable ideas in this report, such as the fact that many of the brands dominating search are adding mini-author bios.

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Example of mini-author bios on The VergeExample of mini-author bios on The Verge

This idea makes so much sense in terms of both UX and E-E-A-T. I’ve already pitched it to the team and we’re going to implement it on our blog.

How Google is Killing Independent Sites Like Ours

Authors: Gisele Navarro, Danny Ashton

tl;dr

Big publications have gotten into the affiliate game, publishing “best of” lists about everything under the sun. And despite often not testing products thoroughly, they’re dominating Google rankings. The result, Gisele and Danny argue, is that genuine review sites suffer and Google is fast losing content diversity.

My takeaway

I have a lot of sympathy for independent sites. Some of them are trying their best, but unfortunately, they’re lumped in with thousands of others who are more than happy to spam.

Estimated search traffic to Danny and Gisele's site fell off a cliff after Google's March updatesEstimated search traffic to Danny and Gisele's site fell off a cliff after Google's March updates
Estimated search traffic to Danny and Gisele’s site fell off a cliff after Google’s March updates 🙁 

I know it’s hard to hear, but the truth is Google benefits more from having big sites in the SERPs than from having diversity. That’s because results from big brands are likely what users actually want. By and large, people would rather shop at Walmart or ALDI than at a local store or farmer’s market.

That said, I agree with most people that Forbes (with its dubious contributor model contributing to scams and poor journalism) should not be rewarded so handsomely.

The Discussion Forums Dominating 10,000 Product Review Search Results

Author: Glen Allsopp

Tl;dr

Glen analyzed 10,000 “product review” keywords and found that:

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My takeaway

After Google’s heavy promotion of Reddit from last year’s Core Update, to no one’s surprise, unscrupulous SEOs and marketers have already started spamming Reddit. And as you may know, Reddit’s moderation is done by volunteers, and obviously, they can’t keep up.

I’m not sure how this second-order effect completely escaped the smart minds at Google, but from the outside, it feels like Google has capitulated to some extent.

John Mueller seemingly having too much faith in Reddit...John Mueller seemingly having too much faith in Reddit...

I’m not one to make predictions and I have no idea what will happen next, but I agree with Glen: Google’s results are the worst I’ve seen them. We can only hope Google sorts itself out.

Who Sends Traffic on the Web and How Much? New Research from Datos & SparkToro

Author: Rand Fishkin

tl;dr

63.41% of all U.S. web traffic referrals from the top 170 sites are initiated on Google.com.

Data from SparktoroData from Sparktoro

My takeaway

Despite all of our complaints, Google is still the main platform to acquire traffic from. That’s why we all want Google to sort itself out and do well.

But it would also be a mistake to look at this post and think Google is the only channel you should drive traffic from. As Rand’s later blog post clarifies, “be careful not to ascribe attribution or credit to Google when other investments drove the real value.”

I think many affiliate marketers learned this lesson well from the past few Core Updates: Relying on one single channel to drive all of your traffic is not a good idea. You should be using other platforms to build brand awareness, interest, and demand.

Want more?

Each week, our team handpicks the best SEO and marketing content from around the web for our newsletter. Sign up to get them directly in your inbox.

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Google Unplugs “Notes on Search” Experiment

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Google unplugs Notes On Search Experiment

Google is shutting down it’s Google Notes Search Labs experiment that allowed users to see and leave notes on Google’s search results and many in the search community aren’t too surprised.

Google Search Notes

Availability of the feature was limited to Android and Apple devices and there was never a clearly defined practical purpose or usefulness of the Notes experiment. Search marketers reaction throughout has consistently been that would become a spam-magnet.

The Search Labs page for the experiment touts it as mode of self-expression, to help other users and as a way for users to collect their own notes within their Google profiles.

The official Notes page in Search Labs has a simple notice:

Notes on Search Ends May 2024

That’s it.

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Screenshot Of Notice

Reaction From Search Community

Kevin Indig tweeted his thoughts that anything Google makes with a user generated content aspect was doomed to attract spam.

He tweeted:

“I’m gonna assume Google retires notes because of spam.

It’s crazy how spammy the web has become. Google can’t launch anything UGC without being bombarded.”

Cindy Krum (@Suzzicks) tweeted that it was author Purna Virji (LinkedIn profile) who predicted that it would be shut down once Google received enough data.

She shared:

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“It was actually @purnavirji who predicted it when we were at @BarbadosSeo – while I was talking. Everyone agreed that it would be spammed, but she said it would just be a test to collect a certain type of information until they got what they needed, and then it would be retired.”

Purna herself responded with a tweet:

“My personal (non-employer) opinion is that everyone wants all the UGC to train the AI models. Eg Reddit deal also could potentially help with that.”

Google’s Notes for Search seemed destined to never take off, it was met with skepticism and a shrug when it came out and nobody’s really mourning that it’s on the way out, either.

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Jamesbin



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