Marketing research churns a nonstop feed of data and analysis. So with each monthly update we’ll add several new content marketing research reports and studies to the top of the list, while letting older updates gradually fall off the list 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
Content marketing research and studies you should know:
1. Sharablee lists the most engaging consumer, media 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.
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
- The Shade Room — 2.5 billion engagements
- Worldstar Hip Hop — 2.2 billion engagements
- Bleacher Report — 1.7 billion engagements
- House of Highlights — 1.2 billion engagements
- National Geographic — 983 million engagements
2. Nearly 1 in 4 American adults now own a smart speaker.
After an especially busy holiday season for smart speakers, the number of Americans who own one (or more) of these devices continues to quickly grow. A Smart Audio Report estimates that a full 60 million U.S. adults own at least one smart speaker. Because many people own more than one device, there are nearly 160 million of these devices now in U.S. homes.
The number of smart speakers in U.S. homes has grown by 135 percent in just two years from 67 million in December 2017 to 157 million in December 2019. Though voice devices continue to spread into more homes, marketers continue to struggle to find ways to best utilize these platforms to share content and messages. (1/2/20)
3. TikTok downloads explode in 2019 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. (1/10/20)
4. A full 33 percent more advertisers used stories ads in the last nine months.
Since the number of advertisers who utilize or have utilized Facebook, Instagram, or Messenger Stories reached three million in May 2019, the number has increased by another million in the last nine months.
This equals four million — more than half of Facebook’s seven million advertisers. As Facebook announced this development at CES 2020, it also shared a couple of examples of brands that are effectively using Stories in their campaigns — Grove Collaborative and Clinique. (1/7/20)
5. 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.
Some 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.
- The use of Snapchat decreases considerably with each older generation. About 68 percent of Gen Z uses Snapchat once a week. This is compared to 52 percent of Millennials, 32 percent of Gen X, and 5 percent of Baby Boomers.
- 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. (11/19/2019)
6. Influencers see a drop in engagement after Instagram’s test to hide likes.
“The bigger they are, the harder they fall” seems to be the best description of what is happening with the number of likes occurring on Instagram influencer accounts in the months since Instagram started testing hiding the public number of likes on posts.
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. (11/8/2019)
7. Study documents how long it really takes to produce a marketing email.
If you ever question why it seemingly takes so long to pull together a marketing email, you aren’t alone. New research from Litmus (free registration required to view report) details that only 23 percent of respondents say it takes a few days or less to create a marketing email. More than half of those surveyed (53 percent) say it typically takes more than two weeks to develop and send a marketing email.
Respondents claim that the majority of the time spent developing emails isn’t spent on planning or writing. Instead, the aspects of a marketing email that require the most time for brands of all sizes include designing the email, coding it, and having it reviewed and approved. (11/24/2019)More than half of surveyed marketers (53 percent) say it typically takes more than two weeks to develop and send a marketing email. #emailmarketing Click To Tweet
8. 2019 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. (11/19/2019)
9. Survey reveals the marketing tactics consumers love (and hate).
A survey of more than 500 Americans by Fractl has yielded some interesting results for marketers relative to inbound and outbound marketing tactics.
Fractl Marketing Director Amanda Milligan summarized the results into three main findings:
- Very few channels die: When survey respondents were questioned about what is the most effective way for a company to attract consumers to their business, more than half of the respondents selected, “Appearing in search results when I’m looking for something I need or want.” The second most-popular response was “Mailing me offers for discounts, coupons, or free trials.” Milligan explains that even though new and enticing channels appear, marketers can still find success in some of the trusted favorites.
- Don’t seem intrusive: A full 78% of respondents say they notice retargeted ads during their time spent on digital media. Of those people, 56% say they have negative feelings about being the target of those retargeted ads. When measuring sentiment around marketing tactics, website and blog articles had the highest positive sentiment, while website ads had the lowest.
- Prioritize search: The survey asked respondents to identify which activities they had undertaken online in the seven days preceding taking the survey. Nearly 90 percent of respondents said they used online search to find information about a company or product.
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10. 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.
11. Report shows publishers are dissatisfied with ROI from platform publishing.
Despite the fact that users are seeing more content from more publishers in more platforms, this doesn’t mean that all publishers are finding their efforts successful.
A new DigiDay report finds that the majority of publishers are less satisfied with their platform publishing results in 2019 than they were in 2018.
The percentage of publishers who claim to be satisfied with the ROI of publishing on platforms is as follows:
- Google AMP: 38%
- Facebook news feed: 33%
- Instagram: 21%
- Facebook Instant Articles: 20%
- Apple News: 18%
- Snapchat: 17%
12. Report details most (and least) effective PPC channels.
Wasting time and money on less-than-effective PPC campaigns is the last thing that any marketer wants, yet it still happens frequently. You can minimize the likelihood of throwing away your efforts on PPC channels that don’t work by learning from other marketers who have figured out what works best for them.
According to recent research from Hanapin Marketing, the most effective PPC channel is search — and it’s not even close. Check out the results of the percentage of marketers who consider the following channels to be most effective:
- Search (65 percent)
- Social (15 percent)
- Shopping (9 percent)
- Remarketing (4 percent)
- Display (3 percent)
Conversely, the study found the following channels to be least effective:
- Display (42 percent)
- Social (22 percent)
- Search (16 percent)
- Remarketing (6 percent)
- Native (5 percent)
Marketers’ view on what is most effective appears to directly correlate with where they are spending their money. A full 60% say they spent more on search in 2019 than in 2019. Likewise, 39% of marketers say they are spending less on display. (9/18/2019)
13. Employees are spending less time checking emails.
B2B email marketing efforts may be taking a hit simply because employees are checking their email less often. Respondents to a recent survey claim they spend nearly 3.5 hours (209 minutes to be precise) each day checking email. This is down from 4.25 hours (256 minutes) spent checking email in 2016.
Survey respondents say they find their work emails to be more useful than their personal emails. They open 80%of work emails and deem 59% of their emails useful. On the other hand, marketers only open 57% of personal emails and find only 37% to be useful. (10/8/2019)
14. Desktop conversions are still more valuable than mobile conversions.
Even though mobile conversions continue to grow, the majority of consumers still prefer to use desktop devices for transactions. A recent analysis of 10 million ad clicks shows that desktop users convert 60% more often than mobile users. Additionally, on average, desktop conversions are worth a full 93% more than mobile conversions.
Some of the issues that may result in fewer conversions on mobile include poor landing pages that are not conducive to transactions; apps that drive traffic, but not conversions because of a lack of quality; and ads that lead to accidental clicks on mobile. (10/7/2019)
15. Study finds increased video advertising opportunities for marketers, creators.
A new report by eMarketer that examines video ads in social media is finding that video creators are coming to be more and more in demand across all social platforms. In a survey of 350 marketers, a full 70 percent of respondents answered that they are using influencers in their digital video advertising, with another nine percent claiming they expect to do so before the conclusion of 2019.
Some of the key findings located in this report include:
- Although YouTube is still the most popular location for creators, ad opportunities for creators are presenting themselves more frequently in Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. The report also calls out TikTok and Twitch as two platforms to keep an eye on for creators to promote content.
- Even though creators are expanding the number of platforms they use, the eMarketer report predicts that most creators will continue to utilize YouTube as their “home base.”
- The shifts in the creator landscape give marketers more opportunities to place paid advertising in content or around it. (9/5/19)
16. How marketers would spend their money if given a larger budget.
If you’re a marketer, chances are good that you would love to have a little more in your marketing budget — but if you suddenly got your desired increase, how would you spend it? A recent study from Heinz Marketing and Pan Communications aimed to learn how senior marketers would answer this question.
Here is what the study found:
- Nearly 1/3 of respondents claimed they would create more diverse content to expand reach in ways they currently lack. Examples of this kind of content include podcasts, videos and webinars.
- More than 1/4 of marketers said they would add more staff or other resources in order to develop more creative work.
- More than a quarter of respondents also said they would use the increased budget to invest in more marketing tools.
- Approximately 10 percent said they would use the money for ad spend and other promotions. (8/27/19)
17. See how your salary compares with your peers in the 2020 Salary Guide: Creative and Marketing.
The 2020 Salary Guide: Creative and Marketing details the expected salaries associated with many marketing-related positions in the United States — including some information about salaries marketers can expect in different cities. Among other information, some of the interesting results include:
- The median salary for a CMO is estimated to be about $164,000 per year in 2020.
- The 2020 forecast for a median starting salary for a digital strategist is $79,750.
- A social media manager in 2020 could expect a starting median salary of $59,500.
- The median starting salary for a copywriter is expected to be $72,500 in 2020. (9/17/19)
18. 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.
- 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. (9/17/19)
19. Study explores effectiveness of Quora ads vs. Reddit ads.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn may be well-known entities in your ad spend strategy, but there may be reason to branch out to other platforms.
A recent study by Bannersnack measured the effectiveness of ad spend on Quora vs. Reddit.v
Here is what the study found:
- Reddit ads had 7 times as many impressions as Quora ads. Despite this, Quora ads received more clicks.
- Despite the Quora ads receiving more clicks, the Reddit ads generated more sales.
- Almost all of the impressions and clicks on the Quora ads came from mobile.
Bannersnack didn’t declare a “winner” between the two platforms but did conclude that it may be worth marketers’ time to pay attention to both Quora and Reddit. (7/20/19)
20. Podcast consumption explodes.
Since January 2018, podcast mobile app usage has jumped 60 percent. More growth is expected, as nearly half of current podcast listeners say they plan to increase their consumption of podcasts in the future.
Marketers who are looking to build awareness about their podcasts would be wise to make mention of them in blogs and articles. According to an Adobe Analytics report, more than 40 percent of podcast discovery happens through online sources. Millennials are the largest demographic of podcast listeners, as one in three claims to listen to five or more podcasts each week. (8/15/19)
21. Adobe survey shows emojis could have an impact on your bottom line. (☉_☉)
In honor of World Emoji Day, which was held on July 17, Adobe developed a survey to try to learn more about how emojis affect communication and marketing efforts.
The survey, which includes responses from 1,000 teens and adults who use emojis at least weekly, yielded some interesting conclusions:
- More than 4 out of 5 (82%) of respondents use emojis in text messages, making texting the preferred medium for emoji usage. For social platforms, users are much more likely to use emojis on Facebook (48%) than on Instagram (21%), Snapchat (18%), or Twitter (6%).
- More than half of emoji users (51%) say they are more likely to comment on brands’ social media posts when those brands use emojis.
- Nearly half (48%) of respondents say they are more likely to follow brands that use emojis on social media.
- A full 44% of respondents answered that they are more likely to buy products that are advertised using emojis.
Learn more about how incorporating more emojis, memes, and gifs could be advantageous to your marketing efforts. (7/15/19)More than half of emoji users say they are more likely to comment on brands' social media posts when those brands use emojis. | #contentmarketing | #socialmedia Click To Tweet
22. Marketing salary survey details what your peers are making.
Marketing Land’s 2019 Marketing Technology and Operations Salary Survey has found that nearly half of marketers in the United States make between $50-$100k per year — with most of this group making between $75-$100k per year.
The number of years of experience as a marketer seemed to have an effect on salaries. Marketers with 10+ years of experience rarely made less than $50k per year — with only three percent of respondents saying their salaries were in this range. Nearly two-thirds of respondents with more than 10 years of experience reported they earn more than $100k per year. (7/19/2019)
23. Review six key findings from Mary Meeker’s ‘Internet Trends’ report.
Perhaps no woman is as renowned in the digital marketing sphere as Mary Meeker. Her yearly ‘Internet Trends’ report has become a staple for content marketers seeking the data they need to help them make decisions for the upcoming year. The 333-page report is available for mass consumption, but if you are simply looking for a few highlights, consider the following:
- Mobile device use continues to increase. Digital media consumers spend an average of 3 hours 36 minutes per day on mobile device — an increase of about 18 minutes per day since 2017.
- People are spending an increasing amount of time on visual and video apps like Instagram and YouTube.
- The United States makes up 8 percent of the total global internet audience. China boasts 21 percent of the overall audience.
- Wearable technology continues to grow, with the total number of users doubling in the last four years.
- Digital purchases account for just 15% of all retail purchases, meaning 85% of purchases are still occurring in brick-and-mortar stores. The growth of ecommerce purchases is seemingly slowing down, as the year-to-year growth in these sales declined from Q4 2017 to Q4 2018.
- Nearly 3 in 5 Gen Z digital users claim YouTube to be their preferred learning channel. Annually, 4.5 billion hours of how-to content is viewed on YouTube.
24. Here’s why consumers follow (and unfollow) brands on social media.
A recent Sprout Social study aimed to find out why social media users follow—and unfollow—brands on social media. The top five reasons why social media users follow brands include:
- To learn about new products or services
- To be entertained
- To stay up to date on company news
- To learn about promotions and discounts
- To connect with other people who are similar to me.
Conversely, users who unfollow brands on social media claim they do so for the following reasons:
- Poor customer service
- Irrelevant content
- Too many ads from that brand
- Too many promotional posts
- They talk about politics and/or social issues.
25. 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% of marketers surveyed say they have developed a completely systematic approach.
- More than 40% of content management professionals surveyed say their organization has not acquired the needed technology to fully automate content management efforts. Conversely, about 40% say they have the right technology, but aren’t using it properly. (4/24/19)
26. 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)
27. 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)
28. 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.
29. 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.
More notable content marketing studies and research:
30. An eMarketer report forecasts that users will continue to spend more time on Instagram in upcoming years, but usage of Facebook and Snapchat will stagnate. According to the report, average Instagram usage will increase one minute per day each year through the end of 2021.
31. An analysis of 10 billion emails sent between April 2018 and April 2019 concluded that 1 in 5 emails opened are viewed in the three-hour period between 9 a.m. and noon. The peak hour for email opens is between 10-11 a.m., with the fewest emails opened occurring between the hours of 2-3 a.m.
32. A survey of 1,000 Instagram users shows consumers are more likely to buy directly after viewing a timeline video ad rather than a story ad. Likewise, Instagram users are more likely to buy a product after viewing a timeline video, whereas only 12 percent had done the same after viewing a product ad in an Instagram story.
33. 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.
34. An Instagram Stories analysis shows the importance of videos on the platform. Social Insider conducted an analysis of more than 135,000 Instagram Stories and concluded that brands who use videos are more likely to engage and retain their audiences in stories.
35. Millennial travelers have reached search fatigue. 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.
36. A survey of 1,000 consumers details what shoppers are most likely to buy online. The top items include books and media, video games, electronics and accessories, gifts, toys and games, sports collectibles and memorabilia, musical instruments, outdoor equipment, clothing and baby products.
37. Fewer marketing emails are landing in spam folders. In an analysis of nearly 7 billion marketing emails, roughly 9% of them landed in spam folders — a drop from the 14% of marketing marked as spam in 2017.
38. Ascend2’s Strategies, Tactics, and Trends for Email Marketing report points out that a personalized email is the most difficult type of email to deploy. However, respondents also say that personalized emails are most effective.
See more monthly roundups to help apply content marketing research: