In 2019, we surveyed thousands of marketers in the UK, on their experiences with content marketing. We aim to highlight the challenges and successes for marketers across the industry, and see how far we've come in last 12 months! This is our third annual survey, and you can download the full results by clicking below - but keep reading here for the TL;DR version if you're short on time!
In 2019, after a few years of disappointing results for many marketers, 96% of our marketing decision makers say content marketing is effective for their brand. This has risen by a third in the last 12 months, which is huge! There has obviously been a lot of learning in the past year to see such an increase in effective execution. In the 2018 results, we found that marketers needed ‘confidence in content’ – many people were unsure about how to correctly execute and measure their campaigns. The 2019 effectiveness stat, below, shows that confidence is growing.
It appears that integration has also improved – 89% of our marketers agreed their marketing was linked to other parts of the business, compared to only 45% in 2018. This growing awareness that marketing activity needs to be tied to wider business goals is positive in many ways – it leads to better knowledge from decision makers, purse string holders and those executing the plans. It is clear a more integrated campaign can lead to stronger results and proven ROI.
Increased knowledge on execution will reap better results. And with this comes bigger investment... We asked what percentage of the marketing budget is solely focused on content marketing – and a monumental 78% increase on last year’s average of 23%, means now 41% is spent on content marketing! Almost half! And almost two thirds (61%) of our marketers expect this to rise next year too. This higher awareness of content marketing is causing more money to be spent, therefore more reason to learn and execute in the ‘best way’ with those all important purseholders needing justification on spend.
While ‘brand lift’ stayed the same at 34% compared to last year, it was pushed out of the top three by Subscriber Growth with 62%. It appears as though marketing professionals are looking to provide more and more value to those contacts already engaged with their brand. They value this over general brand engagement, and this is likely due to the widespread awareness of GDPR.
Since many brands lost the ability to contact droves of people in their database, it appears the focus has shifted to growing that smaller pot of engaged individuals. This result highlights the importance of channels such as ABM, Conversation Mapping, and general content marketing, where delivering valuable content to an engaged audience is an important step in order to grow subscribers. By building brand trust and supplying your consumers with content to answer their micro-moments, they start to create a personal affinity with your business.
And so to get content in front of the right people, the next step is to distribute. But yet less than 1 in 10 marketers are focusing on Digital PR in 2019.
As expected, with the growth of value in ‘subscriber growth’ that we saw earlier, email marketing is up there with 42%. It is definitely growing in the front of marketers minds as they have to be hyper-aware of what they are sending and distributing via email channels, because of GDPR.
But if brands are not utilising Digital PR how can they expect to get brand awareness in return? Making the most of the audience you currently hold is great, but those people are already aware of your brand – that’s why they subscribe.
To achieve brand awareness you need to get your content in front of a new audience. As we can see above, a quarter of marketers want to target new audiences through content distribution, but without Digital PR this will prove to be a difficult task. Getting content in front of new users through a multichannel distribution campaign is so important. These new people then find an attachment to your brand and messaging and then in turn, subscribe later after they’ve been nurtured into the funnel by your, no doubt, excellent content.
When it comes to where brands distribute content, there were some interesting results on social media.
Half of our marketers admitted that though they use social media, they do not generate tangible results from it. For the right brands and verticals it is a crucial part of their strategy and it works – but not for everyone. Marketing has never been a one size fits all type of strategy, but it should always come back to people. If you know your target audience is active on Instagram, more than Twitter, then you should be too - it’s as simple as that.
Don't forget to download the full results above, where you can read in more detail about each of these points, and our advice on best practice for these common struggles. Keep an eye out for the 2020 survey results in the new year!
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