A new survey into online marketing has shown that around 60% of businesses now have dedicated content marketing budgets; however, a significant number of them are unsure how to tell whether these are justified. While measuring the returns on content marketing can be hard, an increasing number of people are willing to take it on faith that it is something they need. Among those who do understand what they are getting, budgets are rising fast.
Content marketing has always been relevant to direct to customer businesses. The new research shows that this continues to be the case, with 68% of those surveyed investing in this area. What is interesting here, however, is that just over half those engaged in business to business trade say they also have budgets established for this area, suggesting a growing awareness of its usefulness in niche markets where the web, rather than Facebook or other social media, is often the predominant marketing channel.
Overall, social media is still the most important venue for marketing content, with 71% of brands producing it – sometimes by writing it in-house with no dedicated support. After that technique, white papers have proved highly effective. These are particularly popular in the B2B sector and are produced by 38% of brands. Blogging accounts for another 34%, though surprisingly only 34% of businesses have a blog – something that most marketers consider everyone should have.
There are now two new contenders for attention: 30% of businesses are now producing online video content, which is something that still appears to be performing well ahead of traditional methods, while 23% are using infographics, which psychologists say is one of the most powerful ways to attract attention and persuade potential customers to explore further.
Experts caution that content is only valuable when it reflects a deep understanding of the target market and is designed to give customers what they want – something that may differ from one market to another. Badly created content risks distracting those who encounter it from the brand message and can thereby actually reduce conversions.
Just to provide some perspective when it comes to budgets, one marketing company announced on Sunday that it had secured $24m to develop technology for planning and publishing content. Another company raised $25m in January and therefore the heat is really on, with these businesses going all out to win the favor of companies that want to make their mark.