40+ Content Marketing Statistics to Power Your 2022 Strategy

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It’s fair to say that the past few years have been…unpredictable. If anything, they’ve been downright strange. 

Shifts in industry trends and online user behavior forced businesses to adapt their marketing focus with agility, all the while knowing that another pivot could be right around the corner. 

In our landmark State of Content Marketing 2022 Global Report, we surveyed 1,500 content marketers across selected industries and compiled thousands of data points that paint the picture of the content marketing landscape. Here we share some of the most significant statistics to help inform and help you make empowered decisions in 2022, namely:

  • The use of content marketing
  • Content marketing success factors
  • Goals and challenges in content marketing 
  • The impact of COVID-19 on content marketing
  • Content marketing budgets
  • Content marketing teams
  • Content performance 
content marketing statistics - infographics

The Use of Content Marketing

97% of our survey respondents claimed that content was a tactic that formed an important part of their overall marketing strategy in 2021. We also saw a 22% increase in the search for “what is content marketing,” along with other telltale searches that strongly indicate content marketing is on the rise. 

At the same time, the complexity or sophistication of their strategy varied significantly. Top highlights of this section include that:

  • 57% of respondents had a documented content marketing strategy
  • 19% of those reported an advanced content marketing strategy
  • 42% reported they are taking their first steps in content marketing
  • 36% of respondents claimed their strategy was fairly developed
Use of content marketing in 2022

Key takeaway: Content marketing is clearly something that companies and brands are doubling down on. However, a little less than half of our respondents indicated that they were taking their initial steps in creating a content marketing strategy—meaning a large portion of organizations have an immense opportunity available this year.

Defining Content Marketing Success 

Content marketers in 20 industries across 40 countries participated in our survey, giving us a very detailed picture of what criteria can be used to benchmark content marketing success. Here’s what we learned:

  • 78% of those who believe their content marketing was very successful in 2021 had a documented content marketing strategy
  • 73% of companies that spend from 10% to 70% of their total marketing budget on content marketing were very successful
  • 46% of companies that had highly successful content marketing increased their paid content promotional budget in 2021

These statistics reveal three underlying factors to success: the importance of documentation, the re-allocation of more financial resources to support content marketing specifically, and using additional (paid) channels to promote content.

With that said, our respondents reported their own content marketing success overall

  • 19% believed their content marketing efforts were very successful
  • 33% were moderately successful
  • 39% found their content marketing efforts to be only somewhat successful in 2021

While less than a fifth of our surveyed companies believed their content marketing was “very successful,” our respondents cited similar trends across the board when it came to the tactics that brought them the most success. Namely: 

  • 55% of successful content marketing strategies focused on improving the quality of content
  • 46% of those surveyed made SEO a priority
  • 41% focused on creating more video and visual content
content marketing tactics in 2022

Key takeaway: Document, document, document! Having a formal process for content marketing was a tactic that the most successful content marketers shared in 2021. The next priority involves the continual improvement of the quality of your content. Focus on improving personalization and humanizing your content, while making sure it’s backed by solid research and an understanding of who your customers are. Don’t be afraid to show the personality and voice of your brand, all the while giving your audience a reason to engage with you.

Goals and Challenges in Content Marketing 

Inflation, the pandemic, and global supply chain disruptions could easily be described as the trifecta of 2021—so how did content marketers adjust their goals to adapt to and supersede these challenges?

Goals

Our survey respondents cited the following key content goals for 2022:

  • 45% want to increase brand awareness
  • 37% want to attract more traffic to their website
  • 36% are focused on generating leads through content marketing
  • 27% of respondents want increased sales and revenue
  • 23% strive for improved customer loyalty and engagement with their brand

Challenges

With more businesses and industries leaning into digital channels to reach their audiences, the following were among the top challenges faced by our research participants:

content marketing challenges in 2022

Key takeaway: Even in times of global change, economic instability, and a public health crisis, the same core goals and challenges remain in digital marketing. Brands want to use content marketing to enhance their online visibility, gain new traffic and customers, and ultimately see a return on their investment (ROI); a difficult gap to bridge, but one that’s getting easier. 

With online users becoming savvier in their purchase journey, brands and content marketers should lean into creating quality content that provides resonating, long-term value beyond a visit or single sale. Each industry views the importance of its content in a different way; therefore, definitions and criteria for content marketing success will be unique.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Content Marketing

As we’ve already mentioned, the pandemic certainly influenced our lives in ways we never could have imagined. It altered our attitudes about work productivity, how we interact with our peers and customers, and impacted business continuity measures across the board. 

Interestingly enough, our survey found that 30% of businesses, both in B2B and B2C, said that the coronavirus and a potential lift of restrictions would not change anything about how they plan to conduct their 2022 content marketing strategy. 

Other interesting statistics from our survey found that:

  • 30% of businesses will participate in selected events offline, while focusing on specific online events (such as webinars)
  • 30% intend to create longer-term content plans
  • 26% will switch to regularly hosting and attending in-person events
  • 26% are planning to invest in growing their team due to the lift in COVID restrictions
  • 20% will adopt a hybrid or in-office work mode
content marketing post-covid

Key takeaway: While COVID-19 initially devastated businesses, particularly brick and mortars, marketing efforts are growing at a positive rate. Many businesses plan to expand their teams, invest in content marketing activities, and reinstate in-person events. 

Content Budgets

Does inflation influence the cost of advertising? Yes. Does it have an impact on the cost of hiring content marketers? Absolutely. Yet the question remains: Is investing more into content marketing the right choice?

According to our research, failure to budget for content does come at a cost. We found that 53% of surveyed companies that were unsuccessful with content marketing in 2021 spent less than 5% of their marketing budget on content. Some other highlights of our research included the following:

  • 73% of companies who increased their spend from 10% to 70% of their total marketing budget to content marketing were very successful
  • 46% of companies that had highly successful content marketing increased their paid content promotional budget in 2021
  • 72% of companies plan to increase their content marketing budget in 2022

With only 2% of respondents expecting to decrease their budget, it’s clear that the whopping majority of businesses plan to invest more seriously into their content marketing efforts. The top three areas of investment are social media and community building, improving the quality of content, and content promotion and distribution.

content marketing investment in 2022

Key takeaway:Companies are realizing that it takes time, resources, and additional spend to truly make their content resonate. In order to increase effectiveness, they are prioritizing social media, improving content quality, investing in content marketing spend, content promotion, and distribution.

Content Performance

What content fared the best in 2021? From strategy to format, our report reveals intriguing findings that emerged last year. 

But before we dive deep, here are some details about the way companies measure content performance:

The Power of the Content Audit

Content audits took center stage in this year’s study, revealing that:

  • 65% of companies that succeed in content marketing run content audits more than twice a year
  • 46% of companies whose content marketing was unsuccessful in 2021 never run content audits

If you’re not running content audits on the regular, you might be missing out. To boot, respondents shared their results after updating their content following an audit.

auditing and updating content

Auditing and pruning your existing content is one of the most effective ways to increase engagement, rankings, and traffic without having to spend additional resources on new content. 

Most Successful Content Types by Format

From video to success stories, guides, and more, these were the top-performing content types in 2021:

most successful content formats

Key takeaway: Pruning existing content is an excellent and cost-effective method to reinvigorate what you already have and generate quick wins. We’re also seeing bigger gains for case studies, success stories, video, and other content formats that provide original research. Focus on authentic content as part of your strategy to earn customer loyalty and trust.

To learn more about creating successful content, explore the 2022 Anatomy of Top-Performing Organic Content.

Content Teams

The companies we surveyed had anywhere from one to 1K+ employees, giving us a good range of how various organizations constructed their content marketing teams:

  • 42% of companies have one to three specialists
  • 21% lack a content marketing person or team entirely
  • 20% have four to 10 specialists in-house
  • 48% intend to increase the size of their marketing team in 2022, 49% say it will stay the same, and only 2% believe they will downsize
size of the content marketing team

Key takeaway: Content marketing is becoming a bigger priority for brands across the board. With the rise of more searches for content marketing-related topics, including content marketing salaries and job descriptions, this may indicate that more people are seeking to enter the content marketing field, and companies are ready to invest in them. 

Using Content Marketing Statistics for Long-Term Brand Growth

While our study gathered data from a wide array of sources, countries, and industries, note that these statistics can only provide a common backdrop of the main trends and happenings in our content marketing world. 

What other tips, trends, and statistics can you implement into your 2022 content marketing strategy? Download the entire State of Content Marketing 2022 Global Report by Semrush for more insights. 



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