The more things change, the more they stay the same. Content marketing is older than you probably think, with some of the earliest examples of it (John Deer, Jello) dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. While the content marketing industry has changed a lot since then, some things are the same. From the beginning, the best content marketing has sought to engage with its audience and solve a problem for them. But how content marketing reaches people and who is using it has evolved recently, even over the past year. Take a look at the current state of the content marketing industry, what’s changed, how it’s growing, and what you can expect in the future.
Content Marketing Industry Quick Stats
- Over half of Marketers surveyed in the 2017 State of the Creator Economy study have stand-alone budgets for content marketing, with 29% investing over $500,000 per year.
- Content Marketing achieved chart-topping Effectiveness Ratings among client and agency marketers studied with year-on-year perceptual gains
- 91 percent of B2B respondents use content marketing (2018). 86 percent of B2C respondents use content marketing (2017).
- 40 percent of B2C marketers (2017) and 37 percent of B2B marketers (2018) have a documented content strategy.
- 80 percent of B2B marketers say they are focused on building their audiences, up 18 percent from the year before.
- 51 percent of marketers use the same message across multiple channels.
- 61 percent of mobile device users won’t go back to a site they had trouble opening on a smartphone or other mobile device.
- About 26 percent of all marketing budgets are spent on content marketing.
- About 42 percent of B2B marketers plan on increasing their budgets for content marketing over the next 12 months.
- Across 20 popular subjects measured that dominate today’s news feeds, the average U.S. consumer reads 207 articles and visits 398 websites per month — representing over 20 opportunities for content marketing engagement per day.
- 50 percent of content marketers indicated imagery and infographics are their most commonly-utilized approaches.
Only one-third indicated white papers, lists and advice articles were their top form of content.
Changes In The Content Marketing Industry
Several aspects of the content marketing industry have changed in recent months, or will continue to evolve and change in the coming months and years. Those changes affect all aspects of the industry, from who’s creating the content to what type of content gets created.
The responsibilities of content marketers has evolved.
In the earlier days of digital content marketing (2010 and 2011), the people assumed out-of-work writers made the best content marketers. While that is true in some ways — writers can create great blog posts and website copy — it doesn’t take all aspects of content marketing under consideration.
Today, brands looking to hire a content marketing agency are focusing on strategy more than anything else. A content marketer needs to know the best ways to create content, sure, but also how to get that content out there and in front of the right people.
It’s all about that data.
Today’s content marketing is more data-driven than ever. That’s no surprise, as data can tell you a lot about your content. Is it working? Do people read or watch it? Who’s engaging with the content?
A 2014 study from Forrester found that marketers used just 12 percent of all the data available to them. Flash forward to 2017, and 80 percent of marketers are claiming that customer data is essential to their marketing efforts.
Marketers should choose quality over quantity.
Back in the day (again, 2011), content marketers had an attitude of publish or perish. The more content you could slap up, the better. That led to a lot of garbage and a lot of cranky customers and audiences.
Today, the industry is focusing on quality, but also on taking a more sustainable approach to content marketing. The two most important questions anyone in the content marketing industry can ask before putting together a strategy or creating any content are “so what?” and “why?”
Big brands are investing in content marketing.
Branded content isn’t new, but big brands like PepsiCo creating their own content creation studios is. As AdAge notes, this marks a shift from brands approaching marketing as an expense to brands approaching marketing as a way to generate income.
Audiences are turning into creators.
Although big-name influencers with thousands of followers were a thing for a few years, the focus has started to shift to micro-influencers. On the heels of that, brands are playing around with user-generated content (UGC) rather than content created by pros. Audiences trust UGC more than other forms of content.
Content is king.
OK, this isn’t anything new. People have been saying content is king since 1996. But it’s even more true today.
Without content marketing, you don’t have social media marketing. You also don’t have influencer marketing. And, you don’t have even have paid advertising.