Content marketing is finally catching on with businesses, says the new B2C Content Marketing 2016: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America study  (PDF).
Conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, the study found that marketers made impressive progress over 2015 with documenting their content marketing strategy. It also revealed that a large number of marketers (64 percent) find paid advertising methods effective in promoting or distributing content.
Paid Advertising In Social Media
A total of 3,714 recipients were surveyed for the study. The report presents findings from the 263 respondents who said they were B2C marketers in North America.
Some of the key findings of the study are:
Paid Advertising is Up
The study has found a shift in paid methods used by B2C marketers to promote and distribute content. Promoted posts (76 percent), Search Engine Marketing (76 percent) and Social Ads (74 percent) are the top choices in paid advertising.
Infographics Get More Popular
More marketers are using infographics (62 percent), making this the content marketing tactic with the greatest year-over-year increase. It’s also worth noting that the effective rating for infographics has increased (63 percent).
Facebook Continues to Rule
Among the various social media advertising platforms, Facebook has continued to retain its massive popularity with 94 percent respondents saying they use the site to distribute their content. Marketers also rated Facebook the most effective platform.
Apart from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the most frequently used platforms for content distribution.
More Budgets Dedicated to Content Marketing
B2C marketers are allocating a higher average proportion of total marketing budget for content marketing (32 percent). What’s even more interesting to note is that the largest B2C organizations are more likely to raise their content marketing budget over the next 12 months (60 percent).
It goes without saying that marketers are now focusing more extensively on leveraging the potential of content marketing for promotion and sales.
Challenges Remain for Content Marketers
Even as paid content marketing gains momentum, there are challenges that face most businesses. About 56 percent of respondents said producing engaging content is the biggest challenge for them, followed by measuring content effectiveness (50 percent).
While it is true that creating interesting content is a challenge for most marketers, small businesses can still keep their audiences engaged. The most important thing is to know what the audience wants and to offer that in a simple and interesting way. Eye-catchy visuals that work seamlessly on mobile devices, for instance, are extremely popular with busy consumers today.
A clear understanding of what the consumers want can go a long way in helping businesses generate content that delivers real value. And paid advertising in social media may go a long way toward delivering that value.
Image: Content Marketing Institute