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. 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)
2. 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)
3. 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. (January 2020)
4. 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% of respondents say it takes a few days or less to create a marketing email. More than half of those surveyed (53%) 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. (2019)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
5. 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. (July 2019)
6. 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.
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. (September 2019)
7. 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.
The study found that 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. It also found that more than 1/4 of marketers said they would add more staff or other resources in order to develop more creative work. (August 2019)
8. 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. Adobe survey shows emojis could have an impact on your bottom line. (☉_☉)
In honor of World Emoji Day, 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. For example, 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%). Also, more than half of emoji users (51%) say they are more likely to comment on brands’ social media posts when those brands use emojis and nearly half (48%) of respondents say they are more likely to follow brands that use emojis on social media. (July 2019)
10. Review 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. One of the major themes is that mobile device use continues to increase.
Digital media consumers spend an average of 3 hours 36 minutes per day on a mobile device — an increase of about 18 minutes per day since 2017. Also, 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. (June 2019)
11. 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. The survey found that approximately 7 in 10 content management professionals say their organizations have performed a content inventory. Also, 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. (April 2019)
B2B content marketing studies and research:
1. 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
2. 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)
3. 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. (August 2019)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. #podcasting Click To Tweet
B2C content marketing studies and research:
1. 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.
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.
2. Purchases via smart speakers not seeing significant increase.
Yes, recent years have seen a significant increase in the purchase and use of smart speakers. Despite the increase in ownership and consumption of these devices, these devices still are not a significant factor for consumers when making purchasing decisions. In fact, in Q2 2019, eMarketer estimated that more than 23.6 million U.S. consumers will have made a purchase through a smart speaker by the end of 2020. Recent data suggests this estimate will not come to fruition and eMarketer now predicts the number of U.S. consumers who will make a purchase through a smart speaker by the end of this year will be closer to 21.6 million people.
According to eMarketer, the number of people purchasing through smart devices is increasing each year — but the increase is slower than expected. It is expected that 10.8 percent of all U.S. digital buyers will have made a purchase by smart speaker before the end of this year. (February 2020)
3. 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.”
- 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.
- Prioritize search: The survey asked respondents to identify which activities they had undertaken online in the seven days preceding taking the survey. Nearly 90% of respondents said they used online search to find information about a company or product.
(November 2019)A full 78% of survey 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. #marketing #advertising Click To Tweet
4. 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%
5. Report details most 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%)
- Social (15%)
- Shopping (9%)
- Remarketing (4%)
- Display (3%)
6. 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. (October 2019)
7. 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.”
Social media content marketing studies and research:
1. 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.
- 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.
2. 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)
3. 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.
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
4. 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
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.
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.
6. 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)
7. 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)
8. 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)
9. 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.
10. Study explores effectiveness of Quora ads vs. Reddit ads.
A recent study by Bannersnack measured the effectiveness of ad spend on Quora vs. Reddit.
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.
11. 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.
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