Effectively marketing content can be difficult, but when you consider that best practices, audience preferences, and content creation techniques change frequently, things move from being difficult to nearly impossible for marketers to keep up with. Among all the confusion, finding the data they need to make educated decisions is perhaps one of the trickiest tasks for marketers and content creators.
But before you resign yourself to hours of Googling the most relevant data for your marketing efforts, read on. We have collected some of the best marketing studies and research from the past several weeks into one location, so you can have direct and easy access to the information you need to know.
Recent content marketing research and studies
1. Surprising findings from social media marketing 2019 report
Just when you think you have your finger on the pulse of social media trends, a new report surfaces that makes you rethink your assumptions. Social Media Examiner’s 2019 report is one of those reports. A few items to consider:
- Brand use of Twitter (59 percent) is much more prevalent than usage from the general public (19 percent).
- More than half (51 percent) of social media marketers plan to increase organic publishing despite Facebook’s admission that it is de-emphasizing organic news feed content.
- B2B marketers (80 percent) are much more likely to use LinkedIn in their marketing efforts than B2C marketers (46 percent).
- Not surprisingly, more than 60 percent of marketers consider Facebook to be the most important social channel for their marketing efforts. However, the gap between Facebook and second-place Instagram continues to narrow. The results from 2018 showed 67 percent of marketers claimed Facebook as the most important to Instagram’s 10 percent. The 2019 results show 61 percent for Facebook and 14 percent for Instagram. (5/7/19)
2. Mobile video ads see dramatic growth.
A new study shows that in 2019, 50 percent of video ads are viewed on mobile devices — a 10 percent jump from the 40 percent viewed on the same devices in 2018. The PubMatic report also details that in the United States, overall digital ad spend has now surpassed $100 billion. The report also documents that it is expected that marketers will spend $29 billion globally on mobile video ads by the end of the year. (5/23/19)
3. Content management and strategy survey shows work to be done.
As marketers — and marketing systems — mature, progress in the content management sphere is being made, but the 2019 Content Management & Strategy Survey shows there is still much for content managers to do. Some of the survey’s key findings include:
- Approximately 7 in 10 content management professionals say their organizations have performed a content inventory.
- Most organizations (nearly 8 in 10) have some sort of content management systems in place, but also claim there is a lot of manual work as well. Only 13 percent of marketers surveyed say they have developed a completely systematic approach.
- More than 40 percent of content management professionals surveyed say their organization has not acquired the needed technology to fully automate content management efforts. Conversely, about 40 percent say they have the right technology, but aren’t using it properly. (4/24/19)
4. Sprout Social 2019 Index shows organizations’ top challenges.
Regardless of if your social media marketing is managed by an executive or an intern, chances are that similar challenges exist in managing the brand’s social presence. The Sprout Social 2019 Index reports:
- Almost half (47 percent) of social media marketers say their top challenge is developing a strategy that supports the organization’s goals.
- More than 40 percent of social media marketers say identifying and understanding their target audience also is a major challenge.
- More than 70 percent of social media marketers say insights they gain could be useful for others in the organization outside the marketing department. (5/9/19)
5. Fewer marketing emails are landing in spam folders.
Like any marketer, you want for your emails to be opened — but in order for that to happen, you must ensure that your emails actually make it into the inbox instead of into the dreaded spam folder. The good news for email marketers is that in 2018, fewer marketing emails landed in spam folders than the prior year.
According to a Return Path study of nearly 7 billion marketing emails, roughly 9 percent of them landed in spam folders—a drop from the 14 percent of marketing marked as spam in 2017. Education/non-profit/government emails were most likely to be marked as spam (19 percent). Conversely, banking/finance emails were least likely to be marked as spam (4 percent). Take a look at our email marketing articles to increase the likelihood your emails lead to action. (4/25/19)
6. Survey shows how users interact with Google search features.
It is commonly believed that if Google includes information that links to your site in its Knowledge Panel or in a featured snippet, users are more likely to engage with the content than they would if they just found a link to your site in search results. A recent survey by Moz asked Google searchers a bevy of questions, including these two:
- When Google displays a featured snippet, what do you do?
- When Google answers your question in its knowledge panel, what do you usually do?
The most common response to the question about snippets was: “I will either complete my search or continue searching depending on the answer.” The most common response to the question about the knowledge panel was: “I scan the information in the Knowledge Panel, but usually continue searching through other links in the results.” In both instances, it looks like brands who don’t reach the coveted spots still have an opportunity to reach searchers. (4/22/19)
7. Advertising guilt trips turn consumers off of brands.
A study of high-intensity and low-intensity cause-related marketing efforts found that brand image and intent to purchase both improve when organizations engage in cause-related marketing efforts with a lighter touch than those evoking feelings of guilt.
The study examined brand efforts to combat child hunger and promote child cancer awareness. The test, which was run with both genders and multiple ages, found the panel of nearly 200 respondents overwhelmingly favored the low-intensity approach. The study’s sponsors recommended stories of empowerment and testimonials rather than in-your-face calls to action. (4/17/19)
8. A surprising number of people are using Facebook Stories.
Perhaps you are like many marketers who salivate over creating content for Instagram Stories, but barely take a second look when it comes to publishing content on Facebook Stories. If you are, now may be the time to shift your thinking.
In a recent earnings call, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook Stories now has a remarkable 500 million daily active users, which is roughly one-third of Facebook’s daily active user total. This number also puts Facebook Stories views on the same level as Instagram Stories views. Daily active users for Instagram Stories reached 500 million earlier in 2019. (4/25/19)
9. Millennial travelers have reached search fatigue.
Information overload may be causing Millennial travelers to become bored with their digital vacation planning within just 40 minutes of commencing. Despite this, millennials still average about 8 hours of planning per vacation, according to new research.
Because of this so-called “net lag” or “scroll fatigue,” more than half of millennials choose to vacation at the same spots they have previously visited. Doing so requires less research and less online planning, hence less search fatigue.
Even if you don’t work in a vacation industry, the learnings from this study can be applied to your marketing efforts. If you know your customer base doesn’t have time for long, drawn-out web sessions, your best bet is to do all you can to provide the needed information as quickly and as easily as possible.
10. Social video ad spend will have immense growth in next two years.
Any marketer who is paying attention understands that social video ad spend is increasing, but the level at which it is increasing may be more than you expect. According to an eMarketer report, social video ad spending in the United States is expected to grow by 44 percent by 2021. This will amount to video ad spend reaching nearly $15 billion in two years’ time.
While YouTube and Facebook are expected to continue to be the dominant players in the video ad spend world, channels like Twitter and Instagram are also expected to continue to contribute to the growth.
11. Survey says bigger companies have more skilled marketers.
A new survey of more than 450 marketing leaders from small businesses and large organizations shows that those surveyed believe that marketers at large organizations are more skilled than their counterparts at small businesses. According to the survey, on a scale of 1-10, marketers at businesses that employ between 1-10 people rate an average of 6.43, while organizations with between 1,000-5,000 employees rate at an average of 7.93.
The survey also found that marketing training budgets are getting bigger; B2B and e-commerce organizations have the highest perceived marketing skills; and finding marketers who want to learn — and retaining them — is difficult for many organizations.
12. Convince & Convert releases 13 email statistics that are shaping 2019.
Convince & Convert has compiled a list of 13 email statistics that are causing email marketers to adjust their strategies in 2019 and beyond. The full list can be found here, but some of the highlights include:
- Four out of five marketers send emails with subject lines shorter than 60 characters.
- People spend 2.5 hours per weekday checking personal emails at work.
- More than 2/3 of millennials say promotional emails have influenced their shopping decisions.
- More than half of all emails are read on iPhone or on Gmail.
- The average email open rate across industries is just under 21 percent.
- Nearly 3/4 of email marketers send at least one email per week.
For more information about email marketing best practices and trends, see our collection of email marketing articles.
13. Longer blog posts generate more social media shares.
A recent study of 912 million blog posts (yeah, really) sponsored by Backlinko and BuzzSumo found that people are more likely to share long blog posts than short blog posts on social media. Likewise, blog posts that are 3,000 words or longer receive 77 percent more referring domain links than articles that are 1,000 words or fewer.
The study also found that the ideal length for optimizing a blog post for social is most effective when the post is between 1,000-2,000 words. Additionally, articles with headlines between 14-17 words are more than 75 percent likely to be shared on social media than articles with headlines between 1-5 words.
14. Influencer marketing continues to be double-edged sword.
While pundits and experts continue to tout influencer marketing, there continues to be as many pitfalls as there are opportunities. In fact, in a recent survey of 800 marketing professionals, almost 70 percent of respondents said that influencer marketing is a top priority in 2019. However, nearly 40 percent of those respondents also said that measuring ROI with influencer marketing is a major challenge.
Perhaps one reason why ROI is so tricky to measure is because 2/3 of those surveyed said their influencer marketing efforts are centered around the nebulous idea of brand visibility.
15. eMarketer forecasts that digital ad spend will top traditional in 2019.
Though digital ad spend has gained steam in recent years, it still has not overtaken the behemoth of traditional ad spend — until now. A report from eMarketer forecasts that 2019 will be the first year in which marketers spend more on digital ads than on traditional ads.
Digital ad spend is predicted to grow nearly 20 percent in 2019 — all the way to $129.3 billion this year. This is expected to amount to a little more than half (54 percent) of all ad spend in the United States this year.
16. More than half of your email list doesn’t open marketing emails.
Building a mailing list for your digital communication takes hard work and creativity, but it turns out that building list might be the easiest aspect of email marketing. AdWeek reports (subscription required) that more than half of recipients of marketing emails delete most emails before ever reading them. If that isn’t enough to make you worry, nearly 80 percent of people say they have unsubscribed from a brand’s email list.
Check out our advice on how to attract — and keep — your email subscribers.
17. Square videos outperform other types.
In an effort to show the format in which social videos perform best, Buffer performed an experiment to test video types and came to some enlightening conclusions. For example, square video outperforms landscape video in engagement, views, and completion rate. In some instances, square social videos resulted in as much as 35 percent higher views and as much as a 100 percent increase in post engagement.
The report also found that it costs 7.5 percent less on Facebook and 33 percent less on Instagram to get a user to engage with your video if it is square instead of landscape.
18. Get ahead of stats for B2B content marketing in 2019.
The B2B Content Marketing 2019 report delves into several facets of marketing that are important for B2B marketers to understand — especially those who are asked to wear multiple hats. The report discusses audiences, video marketing, email campaigns, content spending, and more.
- Nearly 9 out of 10 successful B2B content marketers say they prioritize the informational needs of audiences over their own sales or promotional messages.
- More than half (56 percent) of B2B content marketers said they increased their content creation spending over the last 12 months. More than one-third (37 percent) said they increased spending on content marketing staff.
- Nearly two-thirds of B2B marketers (64 percent) say that their use of audiovisual content has increased over the last year. Similarly, 61 percent of respondents say that written digital content — such as blogs, ebooks, and articles — increased year-over-year.
19. Make your email marketing more effective.
Every email marketer knows that the more you can personalize content to recipients in meaningful ways, the more likely you are to have success in your email marketing efforts. However, success is difficult to attain because, well, good personalization efforts are hard to accomplish, as Ascend2’s Strategies, Tactics, and Trends for Email Marketing report points out.
- According to the report, a personalized messaging email is the most difficult type of email to deploy. Conversely, respondents also say that personalized messaging emails are the most-effective emails.
- Survey respondents claimed that the second-most effective email to send is a single-topic/dedicated email. However, unlike personalized emails, respondents claimed that these kinds of emails are among the easiest to send.
- Marketers responded that milestone/birthday emails are the easiest to deploy, but not as effective as personalized messaging or single-topic emails.
20. Catch up with the state of video marketing.
In December 2018, Wyzowl surveyed more than 600 respondents in its State of Video Marketing 2019 report and found that video production, as well as video consumption, is set to increase again in 2019. Because nearly 9 out of 10 businesses are now developing video content for their marketing efforts, the state of digital video marketing is robust.
- Nearly 9 out of 10 (87 percent) of video marketers say they have used YouTube as a distribution channel. From that group, 4 out 5 respondents say the channel has been successful for them.
- Facebook Live appears to not be gaining much traction. One year ago, 34 percent of respondents said they had used Facebook Live. This year’s study yielded a response by 35 percent who said they would use Facebook Live. The number of respondents who say they will utilize Facebook Live in the next year is 36 percent.
- Roughly one-third of respondents (34 percent) say they watch digital video mainly on mobile devices, while 17 percent of respondents say they watch videos mainly on desktop. Just under half of respondents (42 percent) say they watch videos “pretty much equally” on desktop and mobile devices.
21. Investigate why Instagram advertisers stay loyal, keep spending more.
While marketers have seen organic reach decrease on Facebook in recent months, the same is not true for Instagram. In fact, it may be true that Instagram’s ability to reach people organically is also spurring businesses to trust the platform and explore ad spend options as well. Kenshoo’s Q4 2018 Quarterly Trends Digital Marketing Report references some of the successes Instagram is experiencing thanks to new — and existing — ad buyers.
- Instagram experienced a 120 percent year-over-year increase in ad spend. Even from 2018 Q3 to Q4, the platform saw an increase of 43 percent.
- Existing advertisers are driving much of the ad spend growth on Instagram. The study concludes that more than 80 percent of the year-over-year increase in ad stems from existing advertisers.
- Perhaps even more impressive is that 97 percent of the ad spend increase from Q3 to Q4 also came from existing advertisers.
- Despite the increase in Instagram as spend, Facebook continues to be the big brother. Of the marketers who spend ad budget on Facebook and on Instagram, they rarely spend more than half of their ad budget on Instagram — opting instead on most of the ad spend going to Facebook.