Content Marketing Statistics That Actually Drive Action

By | Last Updated: | Content Strategy

Content Marketing Statistics That Actually Drive Action

Data roundups are a helpful resource when it comes to presentation day. Throw some content marketing statistics on a slide deck, present it to your boss and hope that project gets approved. But how effective are those points and, more importantly, how can you use them to better support your specific company needs?

This post goes beyond the conference room table—it’s about building a case that encourages your executives, supports your argument and gives you a roadmap for what to do with that approved budget.

What are content marketers’ biggest problems?

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When coming up with stats and solutions for this post, we wanted it to help with the biggest problems content marketers encounter in their day to day jobs. This year’s Content Marketing Institute studies noted the top obstacles for B2B and B2C marketers, including:

  • Measuring content effectiveness (51% for B2C, 49% for B2B)
  • Producing engaging content (50% for B2C, 54% for B2B)
  • Producing content consistently  (44% for B2C, 50% for B2B)
  • Producing a variety of content (40% for B2C, 42% for B2B)

The above stats may bring some piece of mind when it comes to the state of your competition. But showing an executive that, in most cases, nearly half of marketers are struggling isn’t a convincing case to increase content marketing spends.

The following points are broken up to solve one (or all) of the challenges above, so you can bring solutions and supporting evidence to your next meeting.

Improving and investing in content

Proving the value is a vital first step to increasing or jumpstarting your content marketing budget. You can outline how many companies have a blog or number of social channels, but what will really get your executives to care? Your competition. Here are some ways to pair competitor data with marketing stats:

“Our competitor’s content is valued at X. We should build that.”

Using SEMrush, you can examine competitor sites, traffic value and backlinks—but our new favorite method is looking at specific content that is ranking and evaluating the potential value for our clients.

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For example, premium coffee manufacturer Clive Coffee sells high end espresso machines, coffee makers and grinders. Prima Coffee ranks for a lot of related search terms, including their popular guide to pour over coffee. Instead of typing in a coffee-related keyword into SEMrush, paste the URL of that piece of content.

In the example above, this post has an organic traffic value of $5.4k and ranks first for “how to make pour over coffee”. The $5.4k number is based on what people would be willing to bid on that traffic according to the CPC of the keywords the page ranks for.

For Clive Coffee, it may be valuable to start building beginner-level, top-of-funnel content and relate it back to their grinders. By showing this data to executives, we have a much more compelling argument as to why it should be created.

Supporting stats:

  • Our competitor X has Y more search traffic than we do. (SEMRush)
  • Our competitor’s content has also been shared X times on social media. (BuzzSumo)

“Our competition has X more links than us. Their organic positions are worth Y, and we need Z more links to outrank them.”

Links are still a significant ranking factor. If you’re languishing in the three to six spot on many SERPs, you probably need a few more in order to push yourself above your competitor.

In example, TripAdvisor ranks #1 for the term “Things to do in San Diego”. Their #1 page has better authority than SanDiego.org, and according to SEMRush, has a value of $120,000. Comparatively, SanDiego.org’s page has a value of $43,900, likely because it’s right behind on many SERPs.

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If we tie together the page authority, SEM page value and number of LRDs for TripAdvisor.com in a SanDiego.org marketing budget meeting, we’d have a compelling argument to spend at least $10,000 more to improve and promote this page in order to generate more engagement and links.

Supporting stats:

  • According to Majestic data, our competitor’s backlink growth is far outpacing ours. (Majestic)
  • Number of backlinks is the fourth most important factor of top ranking websites, with number of new backlinks in the top 15 important factors. (Search Metrics, 2014)
  • Almost 70% of SEO practitioners conduct link building. (Moz, 2014)

“These leaders average X shares per piece, we only average Y.”

Social media promotion is an important component of content marketing. If your content isn’t compelling enough to share (or streamlined to make sharing easier), all your “before publish” efforts will fall flat.

To find out how your competitor is doing, you can search their URL in Buzzsumo for a list of top content published in the past year. Then, export the data and repeat the process for your company, comparing the findings:

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To get granular information on specific pieces of content published over one year ago, you can use the Mozbar. Looking at marketing automation platforms, Hubspot excels in getting shares—even on some of their most obvious sales-driven content.

For example, comparing the social performance of their “What is Marketing Automation?” page to the same page on Salesforce Pardot and you’ll find that Hubspot has earned a little over 500 Twitter shares versus Pardot’s two.

Lesson here? Don’t neglect your low share numbers, especially when almost duplicate competitor content is showing success. Highlighting your competitor’s position in front of your own will make a strong case that there is room to improve—likely by allocating resources to create better content.

Supporting stats:

  • Our competitor is publishing X times a day on social media compared to our Y. We need to increase volume+quality. (Link to Competitor Twitter)
  • Our competitor’s brand is getting mentioned X times more per day than ours is. (Fresh Web Explorer)
  • Our competitor gets X more comments than we do on average. (Moz Analytics)
  • 60% of large companies have acquired customers through Twitter. (Hubspot, 2013)

“Average follower growth for our competitors is X.”

In addition to overall content shares, tracking social media growth and engagement is important to either a) keep your existing accounts or b) make a case to venture into new platforms.

Most social media experts will tell you not to measure follower count as a metric for success. But, not to rest on our laurels, measuring follower growth can determine if your efforts are getting you anywhere. Followerwonk’s track followers tool is great for monitoring this:

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The Greatist Twitter account is about three years younger than fitness and lifestyle publisher POPSUGARFitness, but has really impressed us in the last year with their content.

Their work shows, as you can see above their account gains more followers per day—and not with a breadth of spam accounts. According to Followerwonk, @Greatist has an engagement rate of 17% compared to @POPSUGARFitness at zero.

If you’re a leader in social, don’t forget that the competition is trying to overturn you. For those trying to push for more resources in social media, running a growth comparison can get you started.

Supporting stats:

  • 80% of inbound marketers have increased their focus on social media in the past six months. (Hubspot, 2014)
  • 34% of Twitter users follow brands because they share interesting/entertaining content. (AdWeek, 2014)
  • After following a brand, 72% of Twitter followers are more likely to make a future purchase. (Twitter, 2013)

“Our bounce rate is X compared to industry averages.”

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Bounce rates and website speed load time is possibly the least sexy thing to talk about in content marketing—but it’s probably the most important.

Last year, Neil Patel came out with an infographic that covered average bounce rate across multiple website types. Use this as a benchmark for your own analysis and determine what needs to change (layout, load times, content, etc.).

Even if you fall in the average range, if you’re at the top side of the average (such as 85+% bounce rate for a blog) it’s a strong argument for improving content quality (or changing your blog strategy).

Supporting stats:

  • 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. (Kissmetrics, 2011)
  • A one second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. (Kissmetrics, 2011)

Growing your team

The size of a content marketing team can vary depending on company structure, KPIs and—most importantly—budget. Here’s how to make the case to bring on new team members:

“Company is beating us because its marketing team is larger by X.”

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The simplest solution is turning to LinkedIn and examining the team size of a competitor company. If your internal team is significantly smaller, you’ve got a good argument for why another company is producing better or more engaging content—even if at a similar frequency.

But, to make that case more compelling, pair that employee count with the findings from a competitive landscape graph using SEMrush, using employee count as a metric:

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Using the example above, Webex (owned by Cisco) ranks for double the amount of keywords compared to GoToMeeting. They also have 110 more employees responsible for content.

If you discover that the competition has a department count of 20 versus your five, keep in mind the tactics they’re producing too. For example, Webex and GoToMeeting both have company blogs that are updated at about the same tempo, but Webex.com currently has almost double the amount of backlinks. Outside of the blog, there could be other premium linkable content their team is able to create due to their size.

Supporting stats:

Getting more money

Now we address the elephant in the room. Sometimes (but not always) to solve these challenges, you need a bigger budget. Even with data in hand, most executives are more willing to approve a budget if there is a roadmap to success ahead.

“If we invest in content, we estimate break-even on X date.”

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Our content marketing ROI calculator is one way to show executives how much time (and money) you’ll need in order to see returns. While there are many factors that play into a website’s ranking aside from content marketing and SEO, this tool is meant to get you one step closer to effectively estimating your bottom line.

By inputting your expected content costs and CPL, you can create an approximate ranking timeline to achieve profitability—or, depending on the use case, even more profit.

Supporting stats:

  • 77% of B2C businesses and 86% of B2C businesses use content marketing. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)
  • Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI. (Hubspot, 2014)
  • Inbound leads are consistently less expensive than outbound leads. (Hubspot, 2014)
  • Per dollar, content marketing produces 3x more leads. (Kapost)
  • 54% of marketers reported an SEO budget of $500/mo or more. (Moz, 2014)
  • 59% of B2C and 55% of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing spending this year. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)

Micro-investments: social, email and paid distribution

The following tactics and challenges are smaller than ones above, but still important to recognize. Solving one, two or multiple issues can make a large impact in your content marketing outcomes:

“Our competitor is using X more tactics, and winning.”

cmi-tactics

According to Content Marketing Institute, marketers use on average 12 content marketing tactics (11 for B2C, 13 for B2B) during their campaigns. With this in mind, browse your competitor’s site (or use a site search in Buzzsumo) to uncover the number of content types they’re currently producing and seeing success on.

If you’re only hitting publish on your blog, you likely have little chance of competing in a more sophisticated marketplace. Use this statistic, tied in with SEMRush, to show the importance of a diversified strategy.

Supporting stats:

“Our competitor is getting X more engagement on social media.”

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The worst sentence in marketing is “We need a Facebook account.” Instead of assuming you should be present on all channels, look to see where influencers in your industry are excelling and invest most there.

Utilizing Buzzsumo, you can search a URL to see where content is shared the most and allocate accordingly. Moz Analytics gives you the capability to track engagement differences between you and your competitors.

If you’re unaware of company blogs in your industry, use the author search option to find popular content by reporters, bloggers or other thought leaders.

Supporting stats:

“Our email marketing open rate of X% is less than the industry average of Y%.”

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Echoing the importance of owning—not renting—your land, the focus on email marketing has seen an intense uptick in the past year. If your monthly newsletter is still a “check the box” marketing tactic, it’s time to get on the email marketing bandwagon.

MailChimp offers email marketing benchmarks to help you determine if you’re achieving the average open rate and CTR for your industry. If you’re significantly behind, evaluate your content and scrub your send list.

Supporting stats:

  • Email marketing produces the highest quality leads for B2B companies. (Conductor, 2014)
  • Top performing email marketers are earning a 9.5% click-through rate. (Silverpop, 2014)
  • Email conversion rates are three times higher than social media. (Forbes, 2013)
  • Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost. (Hubspot)

“We average one conversion per X visitors to our content. If we invest in paid distribution based on Y CPC, we’ll see returns.”

B2C-paid-advertising-trends

Most savvy content marketers offer some kind of premium sign up at the end of a blog post. If that blog post is already seeing a good amount of traffic, consider amplifying it on a paid distribution network.

If you know the value of a conversion and know you get one conversion every say 10 visits, you’ll have the math of what you’d be willing to pay in CPC to get more of them. Bring this math to different distribution networks like Outbrain, Taboola, Twitter and Facebook, and you’ve now got a path to increase your bottom line.

With this data in hand, you can make a compelling argument to start distributing your content through paid channels.

Supporting stats:

Content marketing stats that persuade

Convincing your higher-ups who may be disappointed or skeptical of your projects is—to say the least—difficult. But taking the time to not only build a convincing argument with industry data, but also personalized, company-specific findings gets you a step closer to making your dream budget a reality.

  • MixStrix

    Awesome pointers on how to have a value-based conversation with executive that demonstrates relationship between search market share and assets. Thanks, Caroline! And thanks for the SEMrush mention.

  • Caroline, really great post and I love your actionable advice, resources and breakdown for exactly what marketers can compare to help make better business decisions. Showing exactly how much value a specific piece of competitor’s content has is a great tool for content marketing strategy.