The 2014 B2B Content Marketing Report is Here! Today! Plus an Infographic!

b2b-content-marketing-usage-2014It is that time once again and the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs have released the 2014 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends–North America Report. This is the 4th annual version of this B2B content marketing report, based on surveys of 1,217 North American B2B marketers across many industries from companies of all sizes. This is the gold standard report and you will be seeing it in presentations about content marketing for the next year. Grab some data for yourself today.

There is so much data in the report, and it always begins with the stat of how many B2B marketers are using content marketing. Again this number is up from 91% to:

93% of B2B Marketers using content marketing

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Most Effective B2B Content Marketers

One of the highlights of the report is what the most effective B2B content marketers are doing differently than their peers. And maybe that includes you. This is a great yardstick for your efforts. 42% of those surveyed rated their content marketing as a 4 or a 5 on a five-point scale with 5 being very effective. And this is up from 36% last year. And what are these most effective marketers doing?

66% of them have a documented content strategy

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86% of them have someone overseeing content marketing

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80% of them cite lead generation as a goal

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They use an average of 15 different tactics

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They use an average of 7 social media platforms

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39% of the marketing budget is spent on content marketing

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Only 35% are challenged with producing engaging content

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Metrics

The top metrics have not changed for the last three years and the number of B2B marketers citing them as their content marketing goals have gone up. This means that content marketing with solid goals are growing. And this report helps reinforce that. In a marketing space without clear standards of measurement, the answers of your peers in this report really are the benchmarks for how you need to approach content marketing.

63% use web traffic to measure content marketing success

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54% use sales lead quality to measure content marketing succes

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Challenges

And finally, the content marketing challenges for B2B marketers have been pretty consistent from year to year, however, this year the stats are split out by large companies and small companies. This helps add some context to the challenges reported. I have had this very discussion about last year’s report, so I am happy to see this breakout.

16% of large B2B companies cite their biggest content marketing challenge is producing content that engages

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34% of small B2B companies cite their biggest content marketing challenge is a lack of time

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Make sure you view the full 2014 B2B Content Marketing Benchmark Report embedded below to find that nugget of data to convince your boss that now is the time for content marketing.

B2B Content Marketing Benchmark Report Infographic

Click the infographic to view it larger and explore the awesome visual data from the report.
b2b-cmi-infographic

21 Unbelievable B2B Content Marketing Statistics

21-B2B-content-marketing-statisticsB2B companies continue to be interested in content marketing as a means to connect with their prospects and customers, as a first step to generate leads with content and social media. While last year’s B2B Benchmark study has not yet been updated, here’s a recent grassroots study from the 50,000 member strong B2B Technology Marketing community on LinkedIn. Here are some key statistics from the study. If you are interested in the breakdown of the 815 respondents, or any other details of the study, I have embedded the slideshare presentation below.

Do these statistics seem to reflect the content marketing activities at your B2B company or clients? All these sorts of studies seem to be a little high compared to what I see in the wild. Active LinkedIn members would be more likely to work for company who understand the value of content marketing. If you have thoughts, or disagreements with these stats, please let others know in the comments below.

  1. 71% of B2B Marketers use content marketing for lead generation
  2. 50% of B2B Marketers use content marketing for thought leadership and education
  3. Only 25% of B2B Marketers use content marketing for customer retention
  4. 89% of B2B Marketers cite customer testimonials as the most effective content marketing
  5. 88% of B2B Marketers cite case studies as the most effective content marketing
  6. Less than 40% of B2B Marketers indicate ebooks as effective content marketing
  7. 71% of B2B Marketers say audience relevance is the most important element of content marketing
  8. 85% of B2B Marketers say LinkedIn is the most effective social network in delivering content
  9. 73% of B2B Marketers say YouTube is an effective social network in delivering content
  10. Only 39% of B2B Marketers say Facebook is an effective social network in delivering content
  11. 93% of B2B Marketers create content from scratch
  12. Web traffic and views or downloads tied at 63% as key metrics to determine content success
  13. 5% of B2B Marketers have no metrics to determine content marketing success
  14. 56% of B2B content is created by corporate marketing
  15. 47% of B2B content is created by product marketing
  16. 82% of B2B Marketers are increasing content production in the next 12 months
  17. 55% of B2B Marketers say their biggest challenge is having the time or bandwidth to create content
  18. 30% of B2B Marketers do not categorize their content by buying stage
  19. 37% of B2B Marketers use marketing automation for lead generation
  20. 36% of B2B Marketers use marketing automation for lead nurturing
  21. 39% of B2B Marketers don’t use marketing automation at all

Photo credit: Flickr

Daily Social Media Usage Includes B2B Customers and Prospects

Many B2B companies complain that their customers and prospects don’t use social media. According to the growing stats, 40% of the world uses a social media site every day. And your B2B customers and prospects are likely among them.

Our friends at Saxum created this infographic for social media day (It was Sunday, June 30 if you missed it). It shows activity on major social platforms every day. While not all B2B social media activity takes place on major platforms, this provides good justification for exploring social media platforms further. The complete infographic is below.

Once you begin to identify where your customers and prospects are on social networks, the next step is to determine what kind of useful content you need to create to connect with them.

Here are some of the relavent stats to B2B marketers:

  • 1 out of every 7 minutes spent online is spent on Facebook.
  • 23% of Facebook users check their newsfeed more than 5 times per day.
  • 2.1 billion search queries are conducted on Twitter every day. That’s almost half as many as performed on Google.
  • 1,370 company pages are added to LinkedIn every day.
  • Facebook and Twitter traffic peaks in the afternoon.
  • LinkedIn traffic peaks in the morning.
  • 200 million hours of video are watched on YouTube every day.
  • 10 million presentations have been uploaded to Slideshare.

What have you discovered about your B2B customers’ or prospects’ social media habits that have justified your activities? Let others know in the comments below.


Click the infographic to view a larger image.

A Baker’s Dozen of B2B Social Media Statistics for 2013

One of the challenges for any B2B company that adopts social media is to benchmark their success against other B2B companies. Statistics, like those collected below, are one way to spot trends in overall activity and spending. When you look at all the stats below in aggregate, you see that B2B companies are spending more on digital marketing and social media, they are dedicating resources to content marketing, but they are not driving traffic to their websites with social media.

If your first tendency is to shout that they are doing it wrong, you are not alone. But we don’t know what specific tactics these companies are using and what their goals are. If they are not creating compelling content or they’re not driving prospects back to their websites, then social media traffic will be small. If they are focused on lead generation, and the social traffic converts at a higher level than general traffic, they might be fine with how much traffic social drives. Start with trends that you may find in these statistics, but make sure you review your own social media metrics against your goals and other tactics.

Changes in Spending

49% of B2B marketers plan to increase their marketing budget in 2013. (Source)

9.5% of B2B marketers plan to decrease their marketing budget in 2013. (Source)

67% of B2B marketers plan to increase their digital marketing budget in 2013. (Source)

70% of B2B marketers plan to increase their spending on website development in 2013. (Source)

56% of B2B marketers plan to increase their spending on social media in 2013. (Source)

Content Marketing

93% of B2B marketers using content marketing use their website. (Source)

65% of B2B marketers using content marketing use social media. (Source)

58% of B2B marketers create their content internally. (Source)

35% of B2B marketers use personas to guide their content creation. (Source)

A B2B buyer will find three pieces of content about a vendor for every one that the company provides. (Source)

Traffic Sources

41% of B2B website traffic is driven by organic search. (Source)

40% of B2B website traffic is direct. (Source)

Only 2% of B2B website traffic is driven by social media. (Source)

Photo Credit: flickr

18 Growing B2B Content Marketing Trends to Share

b2b-trends-up-and-rightEvery year the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs collaborate on a content marketing survey of B2B marketers. This year’s results are based on responses from 1,416 North American B2B marketers from all industries and all size companies. And just like last year, the adoption of content marketing and the sharing of it using social media continues to grow. We have selected some key data points from the survey and listed them for you below, complete with buttons to share on Twitter and LinkedIn. The complete study is embedded at the end of this post.

1. 91% of B2B Marketers use content marketing

2. 87% of B2B Marketers use social media to distribute their content

3. 77% of B2B Marketers use blogs as part of their content marketing

4. 55% of B2B Marketers believe ebooks are an effective marketing tactic

5. 83% of B2B Marketers use LinkedIn to distribute their content

6. 80% of B2B Marketers use Twitter to distribute their content

7. 80% of B2B Marketers use Facebook to distribute their content

8. 39% of B2B Marketers use Google+ to distribute their content

9. 23% of B2B Marketers use Slideshare to distribute their content

10. 79% of B2B Marketers use content marketing for brand awareness

11. 71% of B2B Marketers use content marketing for lead generation

12. 54% of B2B Marketers plan to increase spending on content marketing

13. 33% of B2B Marketing budgets are dedicated to content marketing

14. 44% of B2B Marketers outsource their content marketing

15. 59% of B2B Marketers tailor content to the profile of the decision maker

16. 64% of B2B Marketers are challenged to produce enough content

17. 52% of B2B Marketers are challenged to produce content that engages

18. Only 36% of B2B Marketers believe their content marketing is effective

Are there any trends that surprise you, either too high or too low? Share your comments below or in your tweets or updates with the data points.

Photo Credit: Flickr

10 Chronic B2B Social Media Myths Busted

B2B marketers who are looking to start social media programs at their companies have to fight many battles. They fight the budget battle. They fight the resource battle. They fight the “but it’s free” battle. But the biggest battle is one of perception. Bosses, colleagues and even prospects have their own deep-seeded ideas about social media for B2B companies. Not only are many of their commonly-held beliefs wrong, but they are not even based in fact. The best way to describe them are as B2B social media myths.

And we are about to bust them!

1. Myth: B2B companies don’t benefit from social media.
62% of businesses rated social media as a means to generate leads as being more important. (source) Tweet This Myth

2. Myth: B2B companies are too traditional and conservative to adopt social media and digital marketing.
67% of B2B marketers use search marketing, and 75% have an integrated approach with tactics in five or more channels. (source) Tweet This Myth

3. Myth: Blogging is only for thought leadership and doesn’t drive leads or revenue.
57% of companies with a corporate blog have acquired a customer through blogging. (source) Tweet This Myth

4. Myth: Social media is only important for online activities and is not relevant to offline activities.
B2B marketers spend more on trade shows than any other tactic. (source) Tweet This Myth

5. Myth: Mobile doesn’t matter for B2B companies.
59% of B2B purchase decision makers have used their smartphone to research products and services when they are considering purchases. (source) Tweet This Myth

6. Myth: Email Is Dead
84% of B2B Marketers focus on email as part of their marketing efforts. (source) Tweet This Myth

7. Myth: My competitors aren’t investing in social media.
Social media spending will increase 3% in the next 12 months and 9% over the next five years for B2B companies. (source) Tweet This Myth

8. Myth: Mobile Doesn’t Reach Decision Makers.
64% of B2B decision makers currently read their email via mobile devices. (source) Tweet This Myth

9. Myth: Traditional advertising will continue to work in the future.
US online display to reach nearly $15 billion in 2012. (source) Tweet This Myth

10. Myth: LinkedIn is not for companies. It’s for people to find jobs.
61% of B2B companies acquired a customer through LinkedIn. (source) Tweet This Myth

What other myths about B2B social media have you encountered and busted?

Another 18 Awesome B2B Social Media Statistics

B2B Social Media StatisticsWith the popularity of our 28 Awesome B2B Social Media Statistics post last year, we wanted to make sure we kept our readers up to date on the latest statistics coming out of various B2B social media reports and studies. Here’s a list of 18 additional stats from a variety of sources to curb your stat-hungry appetite.

Usage:

  • More than nine out of ten B2B marketers (93%) say they conduct social media marketing to some extent. (Source)
  • More than two-thirds of B2B marketers already used social media marketing as of December 2010, where the main focus of marketing efforts was brand building. Despite customer acquisition being B2B’s top goal for the year, less than half of respondents were using social media for lead generation. (Source)
  • More B2B companies have been using social media longer (52.6% reported 1 year or more) than their B2C counterparts (46.2% indicated 1 year or longer). (Source PDF)

Budget:

  • This year 78.5% of B2B marketers plan to increase their online budgets. (Source)
  • 69% of B2B organizations are increasing marketing budgets for inbound marketing tactics including social media. (Source)
  • Social media has become an integral part of marketing for B2B companies, with 62.6% of marketers planning to increase their spending this year. (Source)
  • 51% of B2B marketers said they will increase their content marketing budgets this year, and content marketing will make up 26% of overall B2B marketing budgets.  (Source)
  • In 2010, social media, websites and email each received a median of 10% of B2Bs’ online marketing budgets. (Source)

Channels:

  • Among surveyed B2B marketers who conduct social marketing, 26% cite LinkedIn as their single most important social tool, 20% cite Facebook, 19% cite blogging, and 14% cite a customer community as their top tool. (Source)
  • B2C are more focused on Facebook and B2B are more focused on LinkedIn and video. Also note that B2B companies are utilizing blogs more. (Source PDF)
  • B2B companies are significantly more likely to plan on increasing their use of LinkedIn (71% of B2B versus 51% of B2C). (Source PDF)
  • 39% of B2B companies plan on increasing their forum use (versus 34% of B2C). (Source PDF)
  • B2C companies are more interested in learning about Facebook (74%) and blogging (72%) versus B2B (Facebook and blogging: 65%). (Source PDF)
  • 100% of Fortune 500 Company’s have executives using LinkedIn. 50% of LinkedIn’s users are decision makers in their company. 41% people using LinkedIn for marketing have generated business with it. (Source)

Challenges:

  • Asked to identify the top 3 major obstacles to adopting social media marketing, 70% of B2B marketers cite a lack of resources. Such marketers are faced with other obstacles as well, citing the following:
    –  Poorly defined success metrics and key performance indicators: 57%
    –  Lack of knowledge about social media: 44%
    –  Management resistance: 22%
    (Source)

Mobile:

  • B2B mobile marketing spending will quadruple over the next five years, rising from $26 million in 2009 to $106 million in 2014. (Source)
  • 64% of B2B decision makers currently read their email via mobile devices. (Source)

Measurement:

  • Some 75% of B2B marketers who conduct social marketing say they do not measure the ROI of social initiatives. (Source)

If you know of any other B2B social media statistics please leave the stat and source in the comments below.

Study: 93% of B2B Marketers Use Social Media Marketing

According to a recent study by BtoB Magazine, 93% of all B2B marketers are engaged in some form of social media marketing, with most putting their focus on the most popular channels (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter).

The Big Three

B2B marketers overwhelmingly favor “the big 3″ social media channels, with LinkedIn being the most-used channel (72%). Facebook (71%) and Twitter (67%) are close behind, with those three channels forming the core of most B2B social media marketing efforts. Other channels used by B2B marketers include YouTube (48%), blogging (44%) and online communities (22%).

When asked to cite their single most important channel, LinkedIn again rose to the top with 26% favoring it. Most respondents identified lead-generation as the most valuable result of LinkedIn marketing. Facebook was the most important channel for 20%, while blogging (19%), online communities (14%) and Twitter (13%) rounded out the top tools. Facebook was cited as being a channel where users “pay attention”, while blogs and communities were cited for their customer feedback and engagement.

Despite being used by 67% of B2B marketers, Twitter was only the top channel for 13%, perhaps showing that Twitter is an important piece of the overall social marketing picture but not the best channel for B2B marketers to find value. According to survey participants, many marketers only see Twitter as a way to support website traffic and product/event promotions.

Challenges:

When B2B marketers were asked to identify their top three obstacles to adopting social media marketing, 70% identified a lack of resources as being the biggest obstacle. Other challenges faced by marketers include: poorly defined success metrics and key performance indicators (57%), lack of knowledge about social media (44%) and management resistance (22%).

Measurement:

One of the most interesting statistic to come out of the report is the lack of measurement by B2B marketers. About 75% of B2B marketers who conduct social marketing say they do not measure the ROI of their social marketing programs.

The Study:

This results of BtoB’s exclusive research study Emerging Trends in B-to-B Social Media Marketing: Insights From the Field focuses on how B2B marketers are leveraging social media. Conducted in March 2011 and based on the responses of 577 B2B marketers, this study not only looks at the demand for LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter but how marketers are using the unique applications to their best advantage across all marketing functions.

Does this data match your social media experience for your B2B company?

28 Awesome B2B Social Media Statistics

Below are a collection of B2B social media statistics collected from various sources covering a wide range of topics. We hope you enjoy digging into the numbers. If you have any other interesting stats, please add them in the comments and include the source with link.

Usage:

  • 86% of B2B firms are using social, compared to 82% of B2C. (Source)
  • B2B firms aren’t as active in their social media activity with only 32% engaging on a daily basis compared with 52% of B2C firms. (Source)
  • More than half (53.5%) of marketers surveyed said they currently use social media as part of their marketing strategy. This is up from 2009, when 45.0% of marketers said they used social media for marketing. (Source)

Forecasts:

  • Annual growth in US B2B online marketing spend is forecast at 8% in 2010 and is set to reach 14% by 2012. (Source)
  • B2B advertising spend on social media and lead generation sites is forecast to grow at an annualized rate of 21% and 17% respectively to 2013. (Source)
  • Online accounted for 7% of the B2B marketing mix in 2008. This is set to reach 12% by 2013. (Source)
  • Two thirds of B2B marketers believe that online must be complemented by traditional marketing activities. (Source)
  • Only 50% of B2B marketers formally analyze metrics to judge ROI – but those that do find online marketing more effective. (Source)
  • B2B marketing spending on social networking sites is predicted to rise 43.3%. (Source)
  • Forrester predicts B2B interactive marketing spending to reach $4.8 billion by 2014 – almost double that estimated for 2009 ($2.3 billion). (Source)
  • B2B social media marketing spending will grow from just $11 million in 2009 to $54 million in 2014. (Source)
  • US business-to-business (B2B) advertising and marketing spending will increase by 0.8% this year, to $129 billion. (Source)

Executive Interest:

  • 36% of B2B execs surveyed said there was low executive interest in social media in their company, compared with 9% of B2C marketers who said the same. (Source)
  • 46% of B2B respondents said social media was perceived as irrelevant to their company, while only 12% of consumer-oriented marketers had the same problem. (Source)

Focus:

  • According to an eMarketer study, B2B online marketers focus on lead generation (38%), retention (34%) and awareness (28%).  (Source)
  • The top applications for the use of social media for b2b marketers are thought leadership (59.8%), lead generation (48.9%), customer feedback (45.7%) and advertising on sites (34.7%). (Source)

Channels:

  • Asked to rate the effectiveness of specific social media sites in their marketing efforts, more than one-half of respondents said that Facebook was “extremely” or “somewhat” effective. Somewhat fewer said the same of LinkedIn, and just 35% considered Twitter effective. (Source)
  • In contrast, when Hubspot surveyed B2B companies in North America about lead generation through social channels, 45% rated LinkedIn effective, compared with just 33% who said the same of Facebook. (Source)
  • Methods generating the highest B2B ROI are topped by advertisers’ own websites, followed by conferences, exhibitions and trade shows; direct mail; search engine keywords; and e-marketing/e-newsletters. (Source)
  • B2B advertisers see cross-media marketing as most effective; 78% combine three or more major marketing methods. (Source)

Measurement:

  • 34% of B2B marketers said they were not measuring social success at all versus just 10% of B2C respondents. (Source)
  • Website traffic, brand awareness, engagement with prospects and engagement with customers are the leading metrics used to measure the success of social media for B2B companies. (Source)

Resource Allocation:

  • 60% of B2B firms have no staff dedicated to social media compared with 54% of B2C players. (Source)
  • Just 10% of B2B firms use outside agencies or consultants compared with 28% of B2C firms. (Source)

Budgets:

  • B2B product marketers were spending an average of 3.4% of their marketing budgets on social media in February 2010, and B2B services marketers were spending 6.5%. Respondents expected those proportions to reach 7.4% and 11%, respectively, over the next year. (Source)
  • B2B marketing spending on social networking sites is predicted to rise 43.3% in 2010. (Source)
  • 39.2% of B2B marketers say they plan to boost their marketing budgets in 2010, 47.5% plan to keep them flat; and 13.3% plan to decrease them.  Among those that plan to increase budgets, 11.1% plan to raise them by more than 30%; 18.8% plan to increase them between 20% and 29%; 31.1% plan increases between 10% and 19%; and 39.0% plan to increase budgets less than 10%. (Source)
  • Within online marketing, the top areas that will see spending increases include Web site development (70.7% plan increases), email marketing (68.6%), search marketing (62.3%), social media (60.3%), video (50.7%) and webcasts (46.0%) (Source)

3 B2B Social Media Takeaways From The Business.com Social Media Survey

Note: Research from this post was taken from the 2009 Business Social Media Benchmarking Survey. For a full copy of the research please visit Business.com

Last week I talked about the fact that B2B Social Media needs surveys and research that doesn’t suck. While the 2009 Business Social Media Benchmarking Survey is far from perfect, it is better than much of the pointless research that is constantly making its way to the web. While the study is fairly lengthy, I want to pull out three graphs that I thought were uniquely applicable to B2B marketers and discuss their implications.

1. Senior Management Uses Social Media As A Resource For Business Information
BDC 2009 Job Level

Something that is often presumed is that entry-level staff may use social media for business information, but that if you are looking to influence decision makers higher in B2B organizations then Social Media is a waste of time. The graph above shows quite the opposite to be true. If you believe this research, than all upper level management is actively using social media as a source for business information. Likely the main reason for this is that with more executives using online search for research, they are finding blogs, podcasts and other social information that often tend to rank very well in search engines like Google.

2. Webinars and Podcasts Lead The Way Social Sources Of Business Information
BDC 2009 Webinar

I wanted to discuss this graphic, because if it is accurate then it is easily the most surprising data point from the entire survey. No previous research that I have seen has put webinars and downloadable media as the number one type of social content for business information. The possible implications of this as it relates to B2B could be that organization firewalls still block many social networks and blogs, but are more friendly to webinars, as they seem business focused and presented through corporate sites or custom gateways.

Webinars do offer a good opportunity to deliver information to a relevant audience, however, the challenge is identifying the great presenters in your organization and giving them the compelling information. It will be interesting to see if more B2B companies adopt webinars as a form of customer education in 2010.

3. Businesses Looking At Social Media ROI The Wrong Way
BDC 2009 ROI

The graph above is the most disappointing of the survey. It demonstrates that companies still don’t understand the big picture. Web site traffic should not be the main indicator for determining social media ROI. The graph continues to show that companies think of social media as exposure, but like traditional advertising and public relations, they haven’t begun to think of it as part of the sales funnel. This data seems to show that 2009 was the year of making social media ROI a discussion issue, while 2010 needs to be the year of understanding social media ROI measurement as tied to business objectives.

Kudos to the team at Business.com for putting together a pretty interesting survey report. I recommend that you take a look at the entire document. What do you think about these three sets of data? Are these accurate in your business?