Marketers churn a nonstop feed of data and analysis. So with each monthly update, we’ll add several new content marketing studies and research reports, while letting older updates gradually fall off as they fade from interest.
Education may be the key to inspiration, but if you don’t have time to keep up on the latest content marketing studies and research reports, you may be lessening your ability to have the moments of inspiration that allow your marketing efforts to consistently improve.
Finding the latest studies and reports can be a time-consuming effort, but we’re here to make it easier for you. Every month, we provide you with a handful of the most compelling recent reports, and all you have to do is read, learn, and act.Top recent marketing studies and research you should know as a content marketer: #contentmarketing #marketing Click To Tweet
Digital content marketing studies and research:
1. Facebook goes on the offensive about how Instagram affects teen girls.
After a Wall Street Journal article provided data that questioned how healthy it was to allow teen girls to use Instagram, Facebook responded with its own analysis of the data to document that the issues the Wall Street Journal called out were not necessarily accurate. Specifically, Facebook reports that the research does not show that Instagram has a toxic effect on teen girls. Facebook reports that teen girls say that 11 of the 12 issues they face are helped — not hindered — through their use of Instagram. These issues include sadness, eating disorders, loneliness and other concerns. Facebook acknowledged that Instagram has made body image issues worse, compared to the other 11 issues. You can read Facebook’s full rebuttal to the Wall Street Journal’s description of the report. (September 2021)
2. 2021 web traffic decline has sent some brands back to 2019 levels.
The web traffic boon that many brands saw in 2020 allowed for some to see more web visitors than ever, but new marketing research indicates that as things slowly creep back to “normal,” web traffic for many brands — particularly smaller brands — is reverting back to the level it was at before the pandemic began in 2019. A survey of 1,400 publishers has found that web traffic for the first half of 2021 is down 10 percent from the traffic during the same time period in 2020. For smaller publishers, traffic is down as much as 40 percent from 2020 numbers — which has left many publishers seeing less traffic than they did during the first half of 2019. (August 2021)
3. Augmented reality ads see better engagement than other types of ads.
Although augmented reality ads at first were quirky and unique, these kinds of ads are growing in usefulness and functionality. According to recent marketing research, nearly 75 percent of potential consumers say they are more likely to give their attention to an ad that uses augmented reality. Additionally, almost 70 percent of people say they would like to see more augmented reality ads in the future. This is especially impressive when you consider people don’t generally want to see ads at all. In order for augmented reality ads to embrace their full potential, the rollout and evolution of 5G networks also must continue to progress. Currently, about 15 percent of the world’s population has access to some form of 5G. (July 2021)Nearly 75% of potential consumers say that they are more likely to give their attention to an ad that uses augmented reality. Click To Tweet
4. Study shows that most organizations don’t accurately forecast sales.
The InsightSquared 2021 State of Sales Forecasting Study is showing that many businesses are falling well short of their sales, production, and marketing goals thus far in 2021. According to the report, approximately 15 percent of successful organizations are satisfied with their process of forecasting. Similarly, 9 out of 10 survey respondents claim that their predicted sales forecast is more than 6 percent off from the final reported results. The study concludes that organizations should be concerned by this since it means they are often making important decisions without having a clear understanding of their current efforts or their potential for future growth. The study concludes that improved CRM data quality can help organizations better forecast their marketing and sales potential moving forward. (June 2021)
5. Association of National Advertisers details 39 key media KPIs.
Marketing research by the Association of National Advertisers details 39 key media KPIs that are most used by media and marketing companies across the globe. Some of the most-used KPIs by marketers and media companies include CPM (cost per thousand) at 83 percent; CPC (cost per click) at 77 percent; unique reach at 77 percent; site visits at 72 percent; and viewable impressions at 71 percent. Survey respondents were also asked to rank the 39 KPIs in order of importance. Unsurprisingly, marketers ranked return on investment (ROI) as the most important media KPI. (May 2021)
6. Study asks the question of how stimulus checks affect site traffic and conversions.
Because one of the key intents of stimulus checks is to stimulate the economy, it would stand to reason that on-site traffic and conversion would increase around the times when stimulus checks are delivered. New marketing research has attempted to see if digital conversions have been affected by stimulus checks. The study concludes three key observations. The first is that stimulus checks do indeed spur more activity in online shopping behavior. Second, the impact of the distribution of stimulus checks on online shopping behavior depends on the industry being discussed. Lastly, the study found a strong positive correlation between average of value (AOV) and change in revenue. (February 2021)
7. 2021 State of Digital Media report details key publishing data
The 2021 State of Digital Media report by Influence & Co. gathered data from editors of 15 online publications and more than three dozen content contributors. The report (free registration required) provides marketing research that analyzes more than 127,000 pieces of digital content published in 2021. The report provides data related to content types, article length, social media support, and content publishing times. Among other things, the report found:
- More than 90 percent of digital editors plan to publish the same amount or more guest content in 2021.
- Roughly one-third of digital editors plan to publish video content in 2021.
- Nearly 40 percent of journalists say they plan to quote more industry experts in their articles in the coming year.
- Articles that are shared more have grown in length. Whereas articles with more than 1,000 shares in 2019 were approximately 891 words long, in 2020 articles worth more than 1,000 shares had 986 words on average. (February 2021)
8. Consumers spent more than $100 billion on mobile apps in 2020
In addition to websites, social media, email and other communication channels, mobile apps continue to grow by leaps and bounds and have continued to develop as tools that marketers can use to share content and encourage business engagements. Recent marketing studies from Sensor Tower show that global consumers spent more than $100 billion on apps in 2020 — a key indicator of how big the opportunity is with mobile apps. According to the report, on Christmas Day alone, consumers spent more than $400 million on the iOS App Store and Google Play. During 2020 in the United States, consumers spent more than $130 million on mobile apps. (December 2020)
9. More than half of U.S. consumers would trade marketing personalization for more data privacy.
When it comes to considering how your company uses personalization to reach current and potential consumers, the adage of “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” might be worth considering. According to a joint report from The Conference Board and Nielsen, a full 57 percent of respondents in the United States say they would rather do without personalization if it meant that they were able to preserve their online privacy. The study also found that globally, one in five people have switched from one company to another who they felt had better data privacy policies. (November 2020)
10. More than 50,000 U.S. agency employees to leave in 2020 and 2021.
New marketing research shows that the agency landscape is in the midst of a transformation in 2020 and this transformation will continue throughout 2021. In fact, the report has found that a total of 35,000 agency jobs will have been cut in the United States by the end of this year and an additional 17,000 jobs are expected to be cut next year. This cutting of agency staff could lead to brands being hampered in their efforts to develop content and run ad campaigns. The report also indicates that even in an exceptional economy, perhaps many of these positions won’t need to be replaced. The study estimates that more than 10 percent of media, creative, and digital tasks will be automated by 2023. (October 2020)
11. Content marketing revenues have significantly decreased in 2020.
To the surprise of very few people, estimates indicate that by the end of 2020, content marketing revenues will have decreased by almost seven percent in the United States. Because of the lack of revenue growth in the United States, the global content marketing growth is projected to only increase by just under two percent. The United States has a significant effect on the global market, as it accounts for more than 40 percent of the revenues earned globally. (September 2020)
12. More than two-thirds of marketers expect continued use of digital events beyond 2020.
The recent “Future of the ‘In-Person’ Business Economy” report has found that most marketers are expecting that digital events and meetings will continue beyond the end of 2020. A full 71 percent of marketers say they expect the regular continuation of digital events in 2021. This is an increase of 12 percent from how marketers responded in the spring of 2020 after initially being asked their thoughts. The report also shows that most marketers believe that even when live events return, there will be more digital and virtual elements associated with them. (August 2020)
13. Millennials, Gen Z prefer short-form video content.
Blame it on short attention spans if you want, but a recent survey of 1,000 smartphone owners between the age of 13-35 who had watched videos on their smartphones in the week before the survey, found that user-generated short-form videos are by far the most-viewed video content for the audience. The marketing research found that 8 out of 10 respondents watch short-form UGC videos every day. Likewise, a full 70 percent of respondents said they would rather engage with several short videos than TV shows or longer videos. More than half of the survey respondents claim that full-length TV and video series require more of a time commitment than they are willing to give. (July 2020)
14. Research shows that marketers are “sick” of video meetings, face production issues.
Although it is likely that the long-term future (and certainly the short-term future) points toward more work from home for marketers and publishing professionals, this doesn’t mean that all marketers are happy with the arrangement. In fact, new research from Digiday (subscription required) indicates that among agencies, employees are feeling like they are working more hours and attending more meetings. According to the report, 59 percent of respondents say they are working longer hours, 61 percent say they are in more meetings, and 51 percent say they are “sick” of video meetings. Conversely, only 25 percent of respondents say they miss working from the office. (July 2020)More than half of marketers say they are 'sick' of video meetings and 61 percent say they are in more meetings due to working from home. #marketing Click To Tweet
15. Marketers share how COVID-19 is affecting marketing strategies.
If you have found yourself needing to adjust your marketing strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic, you are in good company. In fact, a full 94 percent of marketers who responded to a recent survey said that the pandemic has affected their brand marketing strategies.
The level at which brands have needed to adjust their marketing strategies varies. The largest percentage of marketers (45 percent) responded they have made moderate tweaks to their strategies. A full 31 percent of marketers claim they made strong strategic adjustments, with 18 percent claiming the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to make extreme marketing strategy adjustments. (May 2020)A full 94% of marketers who responded to a recent survey said that the pandemic has affected their brand marketing strategies. #marketing #contentmarketing Click To Tweet
16. Marketers don’t follow their own advice regarding customer feedback.
When it comes to receiving and evaluating customer feedback before launching a new product, for some marketers, the prevailing thinking might be “do as I say, not as I do.” In a survey of 7,600 marketers from 10 countries — including the United States — roughly 2/3 of marketers responded that they should get customer feedback before launching marketing efforts for new products.
However, when these same marketers were asked how they test 15 different deliverables (including emails, videos, social media content and more), those surveyed responded that they either never or less than half of the time utilize customer feedback before the content goes live. (April 2020)
17. GIF usage has surged in the United States amid COVID-19 pandemic.
Depending on your perspective, the increased use of GIFs amid the COVID-19 pandemic can be either a silver lining or just another example of something bad that this pandemic has produced. It’s fair to say that GIPHY is thrilled with the increased usage. In fact, the company has seen a 33 percent increase in GIF usage over the last month. Marketers might do well to pay attention to the kind of GIFs that are most commonly being used right now. They include a 30 percent increase in searches for “I love you,” “I miss you,” and “You got this.” Likewise, people seem to have started to develop some new hobbies. There is a 225 percent increase in terms like “drawing,” “painting,” and “design.” (April 2020)
18. Spotify overtakes Pandora much sooner than expected.
Although Pandora got an early start on Spotify as the most popular music streaming service in the United States, it didn’t take long for Spotify to catch up. In fact, even though eMarketer didn’t expect a new king of music streaming until 2021, Spotify overtook Pandora as the top music streaming platform in late 2019 — two years earlier than expected. Now, by the end of 2020, marketing research by eMarketer expects Spotify to have 75 million monthly users vs. Pandora’s 60 million. Perhaps of most interest to marketers is the fact that much of Spotify’s growth can be attributed to the introduction of podcasts into the streaming platform. This allows marketers to not only have a larger audience to whom they can advertise, but also an enhanced ability to have their own podcasts consumed. (February 2020)
19. What research says is the best time to send email campaigns.
Good timing matters in life and it also matters in your marketing campaigns. Email marketing research reported by HubSpot of the best times to send marketing emails to engage your intended audience found that mornings are often going to be your best bet for a higher open rate. Not only that, but specific mornings count. For example, the report found that email campaigns sent before 10:30 a.m. on Thursdays saw a 25% click-through rate; while emails sent on Tuesdays in the same time frame see only a 5% click-through rate.
Another study concluded Thursdays are the best days to send newsletters, while Wednesdays are better for sending blog posts or videos. HubSpot provides email marketers a list of what research says is the best thing to do with your emails each day of the workweek. (February 2020)More than half of surveyed marketers (53%) say it typically takes more than two weeks to develop and send a marketing email. #emailmarketing Click To Tweet
B2B content marketing studies and research:
1. More than half of B2B marketers say their nurturing initiatives need improvement.
A new survey of B2B executives found that 44 percent say their efforts need improvement. Additionally, another 12 percent claim their marketing efforts are either inadequate” or “poor.” Conversely, about 8 percent say their initiatives are “excellent,” while 36 percent say they are average. The report also shows that, in the last 18 months, B2B marketers have had a difficult time with lead nurturing programs. In fact, more than 60 percent say it has been challenging to get responses with their nurturing programs and a quarter of respondents say it has been “very challenging” to get responses. (September 2021)
2. Text-based emails spark negative emotions; video-based emails bring pleasure.
A first-of-its-kind study that examines emotions associated with receiving different types of emails found that if you want your business partners to have a positive response to your B2B marketing email efforts, your best bet is to include video. The research found that U.S. professionals from high tech, consulting, banking, finance, and insurance industries entered a less happy, more pleased state when they received emails with video featured. On the other hand, the same individuals who received emails that featured text showed brain activity consistent with negative emotions, including being upset and annoyed. (August 2021)Want to make your customers happy to receive your emails? Focus on videos; avoid unnecessary text. #emailmarketing Click To Tweet
3. Report: What B2B buyers look for on vendor websites.
The Demand Gen report surveyed more than 250 B2B marketers, sales representatives, and IT executives found B2B buyers are largely looking for three criteria when determining if what the vendor offers will solve their problems:
- Provides easy access to relevant content that speaks directly to my company.
- Offers easy access to pricing and competitive information.
- Speaks directly to and demonstrates expertise around the needs of our industry.
65 percent of respondents marked the first two items as important. About 55 percent responded affirmatively that the third item is true for them. (July 2021)
4. B2B email marketing sees an uptick in 2021.
B2B email marketing is turning out to be a major factor in marketing efforts thus far this year. Between Q4 2020 and Q1 2021, spending on sales, advertising, and marketing grew by more than 6 percent. Likewise, spending increased by nearly 3 percent year-over-year. According to the study, which was conducted by American Express, results of advertising output will be even more successful once Q2 2021 data is finalized. A major part of this increase is thanks to the work done with email marketing. (June 2021)
5. Forrester report suggests B2B marketers need to embrace their role as leaders.
A forthcoming report from Forrester has found that B2B marketers need to take on a greater leadership role if they want to continue to build upon current successes. The report details that if B2B marketers are simply focusing on marketing strategies and techniques, they are missing opportunities to foster greater change within their businesses and organizations.
The report details six mandates for B2B marketers to consider as they move forward:
- Champion past, present, and future customers
- Steward all stakeholder relationships
- Engineer the customer experience
- Actualize the brand
- Architect customer value
- Orchestrate future success (May 2021)
6. Survey shows B2B marketers more frustrated with communication with B2B sales than vice versa.
B2B marketers are less likely to say that cooperation is successful with the sales team than the B2B sales team is to say cooperation is successful with the marketing team. A survey of 151 B2B marketers and 151 B2B salespeople showed that 46 percent of B2B marketers said the sales team doesn’t understand what is important to marketers. On the other hand, only 31 percent of B2B salespeople said the same about their marketing counterparts. Additionally, 43 percent of marketers agreed that the marketing and sales teams cooperated effectively. This is compared to 58 percent of salespeople. (February 2021)
7. Report shows most B2B marketers aren’t successfully collaborating with sales department.
A recent report shows that many B2B marketers haven’t quite aligned themselves with the sales department in meaningful ways. In fact, Altimeter’s most recent “State of Digital Selling” report details that fewer than one-third of B2B marketers are collaborating in meaningful ways with members of the sales department. On the flip side, nearly half (47 percent) of B2B marketers considered to be high performers collaborate regularly with sales professionals. (January 2021)
8. B2B marketers share their greatest obstacles to creating effective content.
B2B marketers say that changing priorities are the largest obstacles in their quests to create quality content. Though the shift in priorities was reported to be the most significant problem, the most prevalent problem for B2B marketers to effectively create content is having hefty workloads that don’t allow for them to spend as much time on content as they would like. Some of the other significant obstacles faced by B2B marketers include interference from others, a lack of resources, lack of cooperation from other departments, and legal or policy concerns. (January 2021)Changing priorities, hefty workloads, and a lack of resources are named by #B2B marketers as obstacles that keep them from creating more effective content. Click To Tweet
9. Host-read podcast ads are more effective.
Regardless of whether you pay to have your ad read during a podcast or if you have your own B2B podcast where you read ads, this valuable piece of marketing research will make your ads more effective — host-read ads perform better than other podcast ads. Nielsen reports that the affinity that podcast listeners feel for their hosts goes beyond just the content of the podcast — it also extends to the content of the ads. Ads read by hosts drive 71 percent brand recall, compared to 62 percent of podcast ads read by sponsors. Considering that more than 100 million Americans now listen to podcasts regularly, with this new knowledge, your ability to promote your B2B content through podcast ads is greater than ever. (November 2020)Podcast ads read by hosts drive 71 percent brand recall, compared to 62 percent of podcast ads read by sponsors. #advertising #podcasting #B2B Click To Tweet
10. Survey reveals how B2B marketers are reacting to COVID-19.
More than 90 percent of B2B content marketers have changed their strategies in 2020 due to COVID-19. This is one of the key results that comes from a recent B2B content marketing research report that indicates how 2020 has changed B2B marketing. Interestingly, 86 percent of B2B marketer respondents of the survey said their organization adjusted their strategies quickly, with 4 out of 5 marketers saying the strategy adjustments were effective. Likewise, more than 85 percent of respondents foresee that the adjustments to their B2B marketing strategies will remain in effect for the foreseeable future. (October 2020)
11. Report: B2B influencer marketing still has room to grow.
Even though influencer-focused B2B marketing efforts have already been around for a few years, large and small organizations alike continue to learn new ways to make this kind of marketing work to their advantage. Among other things, the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report details that 96 percent of B2B marketers who work with influencers are finding success. Likewise, nearly 80 percent of B2B marketers believe the importance of influencer marketing will grow in the next year. (September 2020)
12. Pandemic drives jump in ad spend by B2B organizations.
While it is unlikely to find anyone who would argue that the pandemic is a “good” thing, it has led to some good results for some B2B advertisers. For example, in large part because of the pandemic, it is expected that by the end of 2020, U.S. B2B organizations will spend 23 percent more on digital ads than they did in 2019. This is much higher than the year-to-year increase of overall digital ad spend, which is expected to increase only 1.7 percent. In dollars spent, this comes out to an increase of $1.5 billion—from $6.64 billion in 2019 to $8.14 billion in 2020. (August 2020)
13. Only 1 in 3 B2B marketers say their company is ‘excellent’ in personalization.
A new ON24 report that surveyed B2B marketers found that a significant percentage (44 percent) of respondents say their business is “excellent” in providing a “unique customer experience.” However, when asked about their ability to personalize to their audiences, only 33 percent of respondents rated their businesses excellent in this area. Similarly, only a few more B2B marketers (34 percent) say that their company’s performance in driving engagement can be rated as “excellent.” (July 2020)A new survey of B2B marketers found that 44 percent of respondents say their business is 'excellent' in providing a 'unique customer experience.' Only 33 percent say the same about their personalization efforts. Click To Tweet
14. Study shows that ebooks are the most-requested B2B marketing asset.
For B2B marketers, determining which content can best help them connect with potential customers and partners is an ongoing struggle, but according to Netline’s “2020 State of B2B Content Consumption and Demand Report for Marketers,” (free registration required) the ebook is by far the most requested asset from B2B marketers, followed by white papers and guides. Though webinars are less utilized by B2B businesses, marketing research shows that webinars may be the most effective way to get leads. More than 3/4 of marketers say webinars allow them to drive more leads and 80 percent say that webinars help them reduce their cost per lead. (July 2020)
15. LinkedIn’s “dwell time” algorithm update to affect B2B marketers.
A new examination of “dwell time” on LinkedIn will affect how effectively B2B marketers are able to reach audiences on LinkedIn. The “dwell time” update looks at two elements of LinkedIn posts to consider how your brand’s followers are engaging with them: (1) dwell time on a post within the feed; and (2) dwell time on a post after clicking into it. In essence, the main goal of the “dwell time” measurement will be to help better identify which content audiences are finding meaningful. Because of this, B2B marketers on LinkedIn have an elevated need to develop content that captures the interest of their collective audiences. (May 2020)
16. Signs point to an increase in newsletter ad revenue.
Although many aspects of the economy — including the digital economy — have been hard hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, market research from PowerInbox has shown that there may be a glimmer of hope for B2B marketers in newsletters. The analysis concludes that publisher clients of PowerInbox saw nearly 25 percent more revenue from their email newsletters toward the end of March than they saw at the beginning when many U.S. businesses and individuals were first affected by the pandemic.
The study found that the number of emails that were opened were up by 20 percent at the end of the month. Likewise, click-through-rate was up by 22 percent. These were two of the main contributing factors that led to increased revenue. (April 2020)
17. ‘The Infinite Dial’ report shows podcast consumption continues to grow.
In its 22 years of existence, “The Infinite Dial” report has become one of the most recognizable podcasting and audio consumption reports available. This year’s report has yielded some fascinating information for B2B marketers who are using podcasting to support their digital strategies.
Some of the marketing research found in this year’s edition includes:
- A full 10 million Americans who were not familiar with podcasting last year now are this year. Approximately 75 percent of the American public is now familiar with podcasting.
- More than half of Americans (55 percent) have listened to a podcast. This is a 4 percent increase from the 51 percent that was included in last year’s report.
- More than 1/3 of Americans listen to one or more podcasts monthly. This means more than 100 million Americans consume a podcast at least once per month. (March 2020)
18. Nearly 2/3 of B2B marketers say email is the most effective channel.
While B2B marketers continue to explore how to best connect to market their products or services, a majority of B2B marketers (59 percent) say that marketing through email is the most effective tactic. The same group of B2B marketers who were surveyed claimed there are some effective tactics they can take to make their emails even more effective. For example, according to Experian, 56% of email marketers who use emojis in their subject lines have a higher open rate. (March 2020)A majority of B2B marketers (59%) say that marketing through email is the most effective tactic. #emailmarketing Click To Tweet
19. More than half of companies will use LinkedIn for marketing by next year.
Currently, greater than 49 percent of all companies with 100 or more employees use Linkedin for B2B marketing purposes. According to a report from eMarketer, this number will jump to greater than 50 percent in 2021 — suggesting that LinkedIn still has yet to realize its full potential as a B2B platform.
This number has shown a steady increase over recent years. In 2017, 46 percent of companies with 100 or more employees were utilizing LinkedIn. In recent years, LinkedIn has released several features to allow organizations to target audiences based on industry, company, job title, and education. Each of these features strengthens LinkedIn’s ability to help organizations with their B2B marketing efforts. (February 2020)
B2C content marketing studies and research:
1. ‘Metaverse’ gains traction — even if consumers don’t know what it is.
Although you may have heard of the metaverse and perhaps may have included discussions about it in your marketing conversations, you might be among a small minority who actually understands what the metaverse is. According to a new report, less than 40 percent of consumers understand that the word describes the intermixing of digital and physical spaces. Even if consumers don’t fully understand the term, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t embracing the idea. The report documents that more than 75 percent of consumers say they depend on technology in their daily lives. This number is approximately 80 percent for those of the Gen Z and millennial generations. (September 2021)
2. Advertisers’ media buy decisions have shifted to meet consumer demands for corporate responsibility.
The number of organizations that apply corporate responsibility and brand safety considerations to their marketing efforts has increased by 20 percent in 2021, which means that 82 percent of brands now keep these issues under consideration, according to the Advertiser Perceptions Trust Report. The report also indicates that more than half of the organizations surveyed will make adjustments to their media budgets in an attempt to defund disinformation. Nearly 60 percent of brands say they have downgraded media partners based on a lack of trust. (August 2021)
3. Audi’s “cookie-less” test nets a 70 percent conversion rate.
4. New survey yields surprising results about the lack of brand affinity among consumers.
Although brands like to think that the work they do leads to consumer loyalty, this may be less true than some think. This is evidenced by a new brand affinity survey of more than 395,000 people. According to the survey, consumers feel that 75 percent of brands could cease to exist and would be easy to replace. This number is not so surprising when you consider the fact that survey respondents also revealed that less than 50 percent of brands are viewed as being trustworthy. Likewise, more than 70 percent of respondents say they have little faith that brands will be able to fulfill promises they make to consumers. (June 2021)Brand affinity survey: three in four brands could cease to exist and would be easy to replace. #marketing #branding Click To Tweet
5. Marketers share which marketing channels are most difficult for them to analyze.
A report on the marketing channels that are most difficult for marketers to analyze has shown that a full 100 percent of marketers (out of the more than 200 surveyed) find that television and radio are most difficult to track. Though no other channels saw the same kind of drastic results that TV and radio saw, a quick review of the report shows that marketers are struggling to track their efforts across several different channels — particularly traditional media channels. For example, 95 percent of respondents struggle to track print marketing efforts. Nearly 75 percent of respondents struggle to track influencer marketing efforts. Conversely, digital marketing efforts are much easier for marketers to track, with more than 80 percent of marketers saying they don’t struggle to track email or website marketing. (May 2021)
6. Spotify podcasts poised to take top spot in U.S. podcast listenership in 2021
It appears that Spotify’s podcast investments are paying off. For the first time, Spotify’s U.S. podcast listenership will overtake Apple Podcasts,’ according to eMarketer’s latest report. This year, 28.2 million people will listen to podcasts on Spotify at least monthly, while 28.0 million will listen via Apple Podcasts. Spotify has experienced significant growth in recent years. The company will grow 41.3 percent this year. In all, 2021 will see nearly 118 million monthly podcast users across the United States. This is a more than 10 percent year-over-year increase in listenership. Podcast listeners will also represent more than half of all monthly digital audio listeners in 2021. This number is expected to increase to more than 60 percent by 2024. (March 2021)For the first time, Spotify’s U.S. podcast listenership will overtake Apple Podcasts’ listenership. This year, 28.2 million people will listen to #podcasts on Spotify at least monthly, while 28.0 million will listen via Apple Podcasts. Click To Tweet
7. U.S. adults increased digital consumption an average of one hour per day in 2020.
Everybody assumed that Americans (and others) were spending more time on digital media in 2020, but a new report from eMarketer is quantifying these assumptions. According to the report, Americans spent an hour more on digital media in 2020 than they did in 2019. The report also details that adults spent an average of 7 hours 50 minutes per day on digital media — compared to 6 hours 47 minutes in 2019. Estimates predict that the amount of time adults spend on digital media will surpass 8 hours per day by 2022. (January 2021)
8. Email conversions increased more than 30 percent among retailers during the holiday season.
For email marketers — even during a global pandemic — the holidays are still the season to be jolly, as evidenced by a recent report that retailers saw a 32 percent increase in email ad conversions during the holiday season. The report also shows that shopping-related newsletters increased impressions more than 10 times the average during the holidays. Overall ad spend increased as well, with the study reporting that retailers’ digital ad spend was 22 percent higher in October and November 2020 than the prior year. (January 2021)
9. ‘Shoppable media’ poised to become fastest-growing ad category.
Although some brick-and-mortar stores may be awaiting the day when a vaccine is widespread and things can go back to “normal,” a new study suggests that the new normal for many of these retailers may not be what they expect. The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s “Brand Disruption 2021” report details that by the end of 2020, there will be as many as 25,000 store closings in the United States — 3x as many as in 2019. However, stores aren’t helpless in this wave of closings. The number of marketers who are using shoppable video ads in 2020 will reach 40 percent in 2020 — up from 25 percent just two years ago. Those who are shifting their strategies to digital-first are seeing results. Sales generated from livestreams will reach $120 billion globally this year — more than double the amount earned just one year ago. (November 2020)
10. SEO survey details this year’s most effective link-building tactics.
Search engine optimization content professionals were asked in a recent survey If they had to choose one tactic only for link-building, which tactic would they choose? More than half of those who responded said that outreach and content creation are most important. Nearly a quarter of respondents said that they would choose guest blog posts. When asked which tactics they most often use, more than 80 percent of respondents said that they use content creation and outreach initiatives and more than 75 percent of those who responded said that they utilize guest blog posts. (October 2020)
11. Study: Gen Z is more likely to remember your ads.
While marketers are worried about the perceived short attention span of their younger audiences, a recent study is showing that just because Gen Z doesn’t stick around for your full ad, that doesn’t mean you can’t reach them. The Snap and Kantar-sponsored marketing research shows that 59 percent of Gen Z respondents can recall a brand’s skippable video ad. This is a notably higher rate than the 47 percent of Gen Xers who can do the same. Perhaps what is even more impressive is that 55 percent of Gen Z consumers who watch a skippable ad for less than two seconds can remember it. This number is significantly higher than the 26 percent of Gen X consumers who can do the same. What does all this mean? Among other things, it means you can make a lasting impression in a short period of time in your marketing efforts to young adults and teens. (September 2020)A full 55% of Gen Z consumers who watch a skippable ad for less than two seconds can remember it. This number is significantly higher than the 26% of Gen X viewers who can do the same. #advertising #contentmarketing Click To Tweet
12. Podcast ad spend in the U.S. will reach $1 billion in 2021.
Because the popularity of podcasts has continued to increase in recent years, so has the amount of ad spend dollars that organizations are willing to spend on podcast platforms. According to marketing research, the U.S. ad spend on podcasts will increase to top more than $1 billion spent in 2021. Perhaps even more impressive is the sharp increase that will be seen from 2020 to 2021. Whereas ad spend on podcasts is expected to reach $782 million in 2020, the estimated total for 2021 is $1.13 billion. This is an increase of more than 40 percent year over year. (August 2020)
13. Nearly half of consumers have changed brand preferences during pandemic.
With all of the problems that 2020 has brought with it, it has also created some opportunities for brands to connect with new customers. A full 45 percent of surveyed consumers reported that the pandemic and racial justice issues have caused them to change brand preferences in the last few months. Additionally, more than 3 in 5 consumers responded that they expect their brand preferences will permanently change — even after the pandemic is over. The study also found that consumers are expecting businesses to be socially responsible. A full 88 percent of consumers say the pandemic has made it more important for companies to be ethical and 9 out of 10 consumers say they would rather buy from brands that prioritize employee and customer safety. (July 2020)
14. New data suggests why customers unsubscribe from your email lists.
- Emails come too often. For some “too often” means daily (34 percent), while for others it means once per week (17 percent).
- The content is not valuable. About 17 percent of people will unsubscribe from email content that feels overly promotional or spammy, and nearly 10 percent will unsubscribe if the content is “no longer valuable.”
- Unexpected content. About 5 percent of people say they unsubscribe from email lists that they don’t recall signing up for in the first place. Another 5 percent say they unsubscribe because the content of the emails doesn’t deliver on what they were expecting when they first signed up for the email subscription. (July 2020)
15. Email marketing continues to be a major player in digital marketing efforts.
Though it may have seemed that most marketers were already using email in their marketing efforts, new data shows that email marketing continues to be adopted by organizations. Between 2018 and 2020, email marketing saw an 11 percent usage increase. This now means that 82 percent of brands are utilizing email marketing efforts.
According to the marketing research found in a recent Salesforce study, email marketing is now the third-most popular digital marketing channel behind websites and social media, despite email marketing’s continued growth. Social media was less popular than email two years ago, but a 32 percent growth surge in social media usage in the last two years skyrocketed into second place. (May 2020)
16. Report details correlation between social followers and product sales.
Social media marketers now have a new important piece of information to share with executives when discussions turn to social media and ROI. According to a report from Sprout Social, almost 90 percent of consumers say they will purchase products from brands they follow on social media.
Likewise, the study found that after consumers follow a brand on social media, 75 percent of them increase the amount they spend on products or services from the brand. This is an increase from the 63 percent who answered similarly in 2019. (May 2020)According to a new report, almost 90 percent of consumers say they will purchase products from brands they follow on social media. #smm #contentmarketing Click To Tweet
17. Nearly three-fourths of your website content is not seen by your customers.
If you have developed a process for consistently creating content for your website, recent data suggests that you may want to also make sure you are putting ample time into ensuring that your content is useful and findable. A new report from Contentsquare has found that nearly 70 percent of the content published on websites is not seen by customers and prospects. Lest you think this report doesn’t apply to you, the data was compiled from content published over 12 months on 400 websites from several different industries, including luxury, apparel, beauty, travel, grocery, automotive, energy, home supply and technology, and financial services. The report also found that the financial services industry receives the freest traffic at 80 percent and the travel industry sees the most paid traffic at 49 percent. (March 2020)
18. Influencer marketing is predicted to be a $10 billion industry by the end of 2020.
Although many organizations are still looking into ways to best utilize influencers in their marketing efforts, the difficulty in measuring ROI hasn’t slowed influencer marketing practices among brands. In fact, influencer marketing is predicted to be a $10 billion industry by the end of 2020. (January 2020)
As your organization considers how to use influencer marketing, consider the following:
- Nearly 9 out of 10 marketers use “engagement” to measure the effectiveness of an influencer campaign.
- Almost 70 percent of marketers claimed that Instagram is the most effective channel for their influencer campaigns.
- Nearly 60 percent of marketers say that influencer content outperforms their own content.
Social media content marketing studies and research:
1. A new report details the social media platforms that see the most ROI.
New marketing research that documents the effectiveness of social media in marketing initiatives has found that Facebook is the platform that provides the most ROI for marketers. In fact, more than 40 percent of marketers say that Facebook is most effective for their businesses. This was followed up by 30 percent who said the same about Instagram. Although platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube see many users, marketers are not seeing nearly the same value with return on investment when they use these platforms. In fact, less than 10 percent of survey respondents claim any one of these platforms to be best for ROI. (September 2021)Report shows Facebook, Instagram to be more effective than other social media platforms in helping marketers achieve ROI. #smm Click To Tweet
2. Facebook’s first-ever ‘Widely Viewed Content Report’ brings surprising learnings.
In an attempt to provide further transparency about what content is being most viewed on its app, Facebook has released the first-ever “Widely Viewed Content Report.” The report details specific examples of the kind of content that is resonating most with Facebook users. The report found that the content that reaches the most users isn’t necessarily the same content that receives the most engagement. Nearly 60 percent of the posts that individuals see come from their own family and friends — meaning that Facebook’s efforts to emphasize content from personal relationships seems to largely be working. The types of posts and pages that are most broadly viewed focus on topics about pets, cooking, family, and other relatable content. (August 2021)
3. Social commerce in the United States explodes past $30 billion.
After expanding by 38.9 percent in 2020, you might have expected social commerce to significantly decrease in 2021 — however, recent data released by eMarketer shows this simply isn’t the case. In 2021, U.S. social commerce sales are expected to rise by another 35.8 percent, leading to a total of 36.62 billion in social commerce sales this year. Despite the increase, United States social media marketers still have a lot of room for growth. Whereas social commerce makes up only about 4 percent of the overall market in the United States, it makes up more than 13 percent in China. For those of you keeping score, China’s social commerce sales are expected to reach a massive $351.65 billion in 2021. (July 2021)
4. Survey shows how brands use social media to research competition.
Whereas just over half of large businesses use social media to research competition, a full 70 percent of smaller businesses use social media for the same purpose. Those individuals who utilize social media for researching competing businesses are most likely to turn to Facebook, with more than two-thirds of small businesses claiming they utilize Facebook for their marketing research of the competition. Approximately half of small businesses utilize Instagram. Social media channels like Twitter and LinkedIn are much less commonly used for comparison. Only about one in three use Twitter or LinkedIn. Roughly one quarter of businesses use YouTube for similar research. Though social media is viewed as an effective research tool for smaller businesses, larger businesses are more likely to use Google or Yelp. (June 2021)
5. TikTok will soon overtake Snapchat among Gen Z.
TikTok is set to overtake Instagram among the Gen Z audiences in the United States by the end of 2021. In addition to this, TikTok is also on pace to overtake Snapchat in terms of overall users by the end of 2023. By the end of 2021, TikTok will have 37.3 million Gen Z users compared to the 33.3 million Gen Z users that will be using Instagram. By the end of 2023, TikTok is expected to have 89.7 million users compared to Snapchat’s expected 89.5 million. (May 2021)TikTok is on the cusp of overtaking Snapchat among Gen Z audiences in the United States. #smm #marketing Click To Tweet
6. Report details the effect social marketing has on Gen Z and Millennial audiences.
A recent survey of 350 Gen Z and Millennial social media users has shed some light on how these audiences view and utilize product marketing on social media platforms. The report shows that 60 percent of respondents have purchased an item on their smartphones that they first were introduced to on social media. Likewise, nearly half of Gen Z and Millennials said that they purchase something at least once a month due to posts or ads from brands or influencers in their social media feeds. When comparing their shopping experience on Instagram versus TikTok, those surveyed rated Instagram as an overall better experience. (March 2021)
7. Pinterest, Snapchat report steady growth.
In their Q4 2020 reports, both Pinterest and Snapchat showed continued steady growth on their respective platforms. Snapchat now has 265 daily active users — an increase of 16 million since Q3 2020. Though the company saw 4 million new users from North America and Europe, the other 12 million new users came from the rest of the world. Pinterest’s growth rate has remained the same over the last two quarters and the platform added 17 million new users in Q4 2020. For comparison, Facebook added 299 active users in Q4 and Twitter added 35 million in the same time period. (February 2021)
8. Nearly 3/4 of Americans get news on social media platforms.
A new report from Pew Research shows that the gathering and distribution of news on social media continues to be a major activity for many Americans. In fact, a full 71 percent of Americans now say that they get at least a portion of their news from social media. Additionally, more than half say they get their news on social media platforms “often” or “sometimes.” Facebook is named as the top source for news content on social media, with 36 percent of Americans regularly getting news on that platform. YouTube follows as the second-most-prevalent news source for Americans on social media at 23 percent. About 15 percent of Americans get news from Twitter. (January 2021)
9. TikTok expected to have more than one billion users in 2021.
It would seem that threats of shutting down TikTok in the United States have done nothing to slow down its growth. According to an App Annie report, not only will TikTok surpass one billion monthly active users in 2021, it is actually expected to achieve 1.2 billion users before 2021 concludes. Reaching more than one billion monthly active users will place TikTok in the same stratosphere as Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp, and WeChat as other apps with more than one billion users. (November 2020)
10. Sprinklr’s #BeautyTwitter report shows the platform is a major player in beauty discussions.
Although one may think first of Pinterest or Instagram for beauty content on social media, a recent report by Sprinklr shows that Twitter is also a major player in social media beauty conversations. In their first-ever #BeautyTwitter report, Sprinklr shows that the platform saw more than 118 million tweets about beauty-related topics from July 2019 through July 2020. The report shows that the most popular beauty-related hashtag is #Makeup. Also, the report found that the day for the highest volume of beauty tweets is Wednesday and the best time for a brand to tweet about beauty is noon Eastern time.The most prominent beauty-related hashtag on Twitter is #makeup. #contentmarketing Click To Tweet
11. User-generated videos are becoming more prevalent in Facebook news feeds.
Although YouTube continues to attract viewers on a consistent basis, data indicates that Facebook has had a significant increase in the number of video views on the platform among videos that were not developed by brands or other media companies. In fact, data shows a significant increase in these video views throughout the first several months of 2020. Whereas January 2020 saw 223 billion views of these kinds of videos, August 2020 saw 495 billion views — a 122 percent increase in just eight months. (September 2020)
12. Virtually nobody is going to share your branded hashtag.
Although you may think your branded hashtag is a great way to encourage UGC that promotes your brand, a recent study has indicated that very few people will even consider sharing a branded hashtag. According to a report from Visual Objects, 75 percent of people say they are “unlikely” to share content on social media with a branded hashtag. The report also found that only about 1 in 10 survey respondents have interacted with a hashtag campaign in the prior three months. Brands who are seeking to have consumers support them with UGC may be more successful if they ask consumers to share reviews on third-party websites, with more than 1 in 4 saying they are “likely” to do so. (August 2020)According to a report from Visual Objects, 75 percent of people say they are 'unlikely' to share content on social media with a branded #hashtag Click To Tweet
13. Facebook adds 100 million monthly active users in Q2.
Despite the recent Facebook advertiser boycott, the social media behemoth continues to show growth. In addition to adding 100 million monthly active users in Q2, the Facebook company now has three billion worldwide users in its family of apps (Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp). Among its user base, Facebook also has a large percentage of daily active users with nearly 2/3 of Facebook users use the app on a daily basis. Facebook expects to see continued growth during Q3, though the company says the rate at which the growth occurs will likely slow. (July 2020)
14. LinkedIn report details how marketers are dealing with COVID-19.
LinkedIn surveyed more than 450 marketers to learn how the pandemic is affecting them and their marketing activities. Some of the survey’s results include:
- A full 76 percent of those surveyed said they were forced to shift marketing priorities because of the pandemic.
- When identifying their largest single concern, more than a third of respondents answered budget cuts.
- Nearly 1 in 5 marketers say COVID-19 had a “major impact” on their marketing strategies.
15. Social networks are seeing a boost in user engagement — but some platforms more than others.
Social media users in the United States are spending more time online, but the increase in time is not evenly distributed among the major social platforms. A new eMarketer report shows that social media usage among adults is up by nearly 7 minutes compared to usage one year ago. However, both Instagram and Snapchat are seeing a larger increase in time spent on the platforms than Facebook. Daily Instagram usage in 2020 is up 13.8 percent. Snapchat usage is up 12 percent. Comparatively, Facebook usage in minutes per day is up 4.3 percent. (May 2020)
16. Facebook shares new Information about how users watch videos on the platform.
In a survey of 3,000 users who watch videos on Facebook Watch at least once per week, Facebook found a few interesting findings that may help your organization as it considers its Facebook video strategy. (May 2020)
Included among some of the notable findings:
- More than 80 percent of all Facebook Watch users are seeking opportunities to connect with other users who have similar interests.
- Those surveyed said that they are very likely to share content found on Facebook Watch. In fact, 94 percent of users surveyed regularly share Facebook Watch content.
- Viewership rates among those who are active users remains high throughout the day, but generally speaking, Facebook Watch videos are more viewed in the evening or afternoon.
17. Social media use is on the rise during global pandemic.
If it feels like your content is being engaged with more than usual in recent weeks, that’s not your imagination — that’s an effect of COVID-19. As people self-isolate, they are more likely to use social media. (April 2020)
A recent report of social media usage in the United States, Italy, and Spain found:
- The number of Americans actively using Facebook increased by 2.5 percent from February 2020 to March 2020.
- The number of Italians using Facebook increased by nearly one percent during the same time period.
- The number of people in Spain using Facebook Messenger between February and March jumped a whopping 10.5 percent.
18. Learn five Facebook video stats that might change your perspective on video marketing in 2020.
You already know that video marketing is a key element of your social media strategy. However, you may not be as aware that the best tactics and strategies for developing your video marketing change on a regular basis. HubSpot recently shared five things that would be helpful for you to know in 2020 as you develop your Facebook video marketing content. (February 2020)
- More than 500 million people view videos on Facebook daily.
- Those 500 million viewers account for roughly 8 billion video views each day.
- More than 5 million brands advertise with videos on Facebook each month.
- Posts that include videos receive higher engagement than any other type of post.
- Since 2016, sponsored video views have increased by more than 250 percent.
19. Marketers are now spending more on Instagram ads than YouTube.
According to a recent Bloomberg report, marketers are spending more on Instagram than on YouTube. In fact, it appears as if marketers are spending much more on Instagram. The report details that Instagram brought in $20 billion in ad spend in 2019.
Conversely, Google brought in about $15 billion in ad revenue last year. This huge intake of ad revenue makes Facebook’s $1 billion purchase of Instagram in 2015 look like a steal. The ads appear to be working. Roughly one-third of Instagram users have made a purchase directly attributed to an Instagram ad. (February 2020)
20. Sharablee lists the most engaging consumer brands.
If you’re looking to learn from the best social media accounts, look no further than the list recently compiled by Sharablee that details the most engaging consumer and media brands. (December 2019)
In its evaluation of “social actions” such as likes, shares, comments, video views and more on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, Sharablee found the following brands were most successful in engaging audiences in 2019:
- Fashion Nova — 282.5 million engagements
- Huda Beauty — 228.9 million engagements
- Victoria’s Secret — 194.9 million engagements
- Kylie Cosmetics — 194.1 million engagements
- ColourPop — 151.4 million engagements
21. TikTok downloads explode to surpass digital giants.
If your company can find meaningful ways to engage with audiences on TikTok, now might be the time to jump on developing your publishing strategy for the platform. Sensor Tower’s Store Intelligence Data Digest shows that only WhatsApp had more downloads last year than TikTok.
Yes, this means that TikTok was downloaded more times in 2019 than Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram. Before you jump into TikTok, consider if your desired audience is there. A full 45 percent of the app’s downloads in 2019 occurred in India. (January 2020)TikTok was downloaded more times in 2019 than Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram. #socialmedia #contentmarketing Click To Tweet
22. Generational preferences influence how audiences use social platforms.
A study by The Manifest of more than 600 Gen Z, Millennial, Gen X, and Baby Boomer social media users has found that more than 80 percent of respondents in each generation use social media daily — however the platforms the different groups prefer to use vary by generation. (July 2019)
A couple of the report’s interesting findings include:
- Whereas at least 87 percent of Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers use Facebook at least once per week, only 36 percent of Gen Z does the same.
- Gen Z is also more likely to use YouTube — though not by as wide a margin. Nearly 90 percent of Gen Z uses YouTube weekly. About 86 percent of Millennials, 68 percent of Gen X, and 52 percent of Baby Boomers do the same.
23. Influencers see a drop in engagement after Instagram’s test to hide likes.
Recently Social Media Today partnered with HypeAuditor to document a study that details the social engagement from more than 150,000 Instagram influencers. Each of these influencers sees about 1/3 of their followers coming from regions where Instagram is testing hiding like counts. The report has found that smaller influencers are seeing a smaller decrease in the percentage of likes lost per post than larger influencers.
For example, influencers in Brazil with between 1,000 and 5,000 followers saw a 17 percent decrease in likes per post; whereas Brazilian influencers with between 100,000 and 1 million likes saw a 26 percent decrease. (November 2019)
24. Data suggests Snapchat has made a comeback.
An eMarketer report estimates that by the end of 2019, Snapchat will have a total of 293 million users worldwide — 14 percent more than the number of followers at the end of December 2018. The company now expects a total of 356 million worldwide users of the platform by the end of 2023. (November 2019)
25. Facebook reports a significant year-over-year increase in ad impressions.
Compared to this time last year, Facebook has seen a 37 percent increase in ad impressions on its family of social platforms. The company is reporting that the increase is largely being driven by Facebook news feed ads, Instagram feed ads, and Instagram Stories ads.
Another potential reason for the increase in ad impressions is the decrease in the price per ad, which dropped six percent from one year ago. (November 2019)
26. Young Americans are using social media less now than two years ago.
A report that details the use of social media by Americans between the ages of 12-34 shows that this group seems to be using most major social media platforms less than it did two years ago. (September 2019)
- Facebook use is down from 79% in 2017 to 62% in 2019.
- Twitter use decreased from 36% to 29%.
- Pinterest dropped from 36% to 31%.
- LinkedIn dropped slightly from 23% to 21%.
- Instagram — a notable exception — has thus far been able to buck the trend, growing from 64% two years ago to 66 percent in 2019.
See more monthly roundups to help apply content marketing research:
- Content Marketing Trends to Know (With Examples): Monthly Roundup
- Social Media Marketing News: Monthly Roundup
- Freelancing Tips & News: Monthly Roundup