For the past three years, Zazzle Media has surveyed thousands of marketing decision makers, asking for their opinions and about their experiences and challenges when it comes to content marketing. The results have been released annually in their State of Content Marketing report — a document I personally look forward to every year.
The report was released last week, and while some results were expected, there were a few surprises. Keep reading.
Content Marketing is Finally getting the Credit it Deserves
The first big takeaway, comparing last year's survey to this year's results, is that marketing decision makers are officially understanding the importance of content marketing and seeing its efficacy for their brand. In 2018, many organizations admitted that they knew they should be implementing content marketing in their strategies, but were frustrated as they were not seeing the results they expected from their efforts. The outcome? Marketers saw a bit of a standstill in content marketing buy-in.
But 2019's survey is seeing content marketing getting the credit it deserves — 96% of decision makers have voiced that they are seeing their efforts getting positive return and results for their brand. Obviously, over the past year, there has been a lot of learning about the effective execution, increasing confidence in content. While 2018 was a year of uncertainty for many, trying to figure out how to execute effective content, 2019 is seeing the fruits of marketing labour.
No More Content Marketing Silos
Last year, less than half of those marketers surveyed said that their content marketing efforts were working in conjunction with other parts of the business. Essentially, the content marketing of 2018 was siloed, with no collaboration with other departments to contribute to wider business goals. There was a resounding "That does not make sense!" here at the H&C office when we read that statistic last year.
Thankfully, it looks like integration is improving; now, 89% are linking their marketing to other parts of the organization. With a 98% increase from last year, it is reassuring to see that other marketers get it. Your marketing strategy needs to be tied to your organizational goals to give the insights to your leadership and stakeholders the information they need to make informed business decisions and get stronger results and a proven return on investment.
Bigger Budgets = Bolder Content
With clearer return on investment and stronger results comes the ability to convince decision makers to loosen the purse strings for a bigger investment in your strategy. Last year's content marketers were forced to make 23% of their overall marketing budget work for content. Obviously, someone was waiting for proof, because in 2019, there has been a 78% increase in content marketing budget — marketers have almost half their budget dedicated to content creation. And more money means more opportunity to put your content strategy to work.
Unsurprisingly, written content is still taking the lead across the marketing industry at 97%. Email marketing and organic social media strategies take the second and third spots in the list, again, not surprising. But content is more than just the written word. We have been watching video rise in popularity since the first State of Content Marketing report three years ago, and this year was no different, with video peaking at 72% for 2019. Paid social and PPC are falling right in the middle, which makes sense to us. People are still paying to play, but would rather put their money where the organic results lie. Rounding out the back of the pack is interactive content, influencer marketing, and voice search, but these still have a way to go before they replace written content. That said, I am already anxiously awaiting next year's State of Content Marketing to see what happens here.
The Writing is On the Wall
This is just a snapshot of a few of the statistics that got us talking here at H&C HQ this week, but what has us most excited is seeing that confidence in content is consistently growing. Brands are more comfortable than ever with creating content, and now it's time to learn to leverage it. Like any digital marketing strategy, content marketing has a lot of moving parts. It is exciting to see the industry as a whole expanding their knowledge and execution of content creation. Next year, we expect to see this report shine a light on maximized results and proven ROI as more marketers convince their decision makers, client family, and leadership that content is king.