Consumers may love digital media – especially visual and interactive content and high-value customized topics – they have grown to loathe digital advertising.
More consumers than ever before (over 53%) are using adblockers and for those who don’t block ads their trust in brand advertising has diminished considerably. Instead, they’re putting their trust in content generated by their peers and branded content meant to provide value over promotion.
If the bulk of your strategy consists of costly investment in paid search, social, and display advertising then let me give it straight: You need to change your strategy.
No matter the industry you’re in and the audience you serve, today’s customers require a different approach.
They demand value which has become the fundamentals behind content marketing:
- Building relationships
- Aligned with customer interests
When you create valuable content rather than promotional content you see incredible results. The proof of content marketing’s effectiveness can be seen in these stats, and it will make you want to cut off a hunk of that budget to invest in content marketing.
1. Content marketing creates more leads per dollar over paid ads
A well-executed paid campaign can deliver serious conversions and high ROAS, especially after proper split testing and optimization. There’s no doubt revenue and leads can be generated through paid search, social, and display.
But not as much as content marketing.
According to a recent study from Kapost has shown that when you stack content marketing against paid, it’s content marketing that delivers the highest return thanks to considerably lower up-front costs and continued returns over the long-term.
When packed with value your content will continue to perform month over month, year over year, without the need to spend any additional marketing budget. Once it’s live it continues to generate leads, links, and traffic.
Unlike paid, which requires a constant flow of cash to continue running and delivering leads.
2. Inbound content beats outbound advertising in volume of leads
According to research from Hubspot people hate ads for a lot of reasons:
- Ads are annoying/intrusive (64%)
- Ads disrupt what I’m doing (54%)
- Ads create security concerns (39%)
- Better page load time/reduced bandwidth use (36%)
- Offensive/inappropriate ad content (33%)
- Privacy concerns (32%)
- Reduced data usage (for mobile plans) (22%)
- I don’t like contributing to a business making money off my browsing (18%)
- Ideological reasons (8%)
But another statistics from the study reveals something interesting; it’s not the ads they hate. It’s the content and context of the ad. In fact, customers would be fine with ads if they were more in line with the fundamentals of content marketing.
And that’s why content marketing consistently generates more than 3x the volume of leads compared to paid advertising.
3. Ad overload is driving ad blocks
Traditional advertising used to be reserved for brands with a large budget to spend. That’s why in 1984 the average person saw around 2,000 ads per day. As advertising online grew more affordable and digital advertising grew in popularity that increased to more than 5,000 ads per day by 2014.
Combine that volume of ads with people’s distaste for paid ads it’s easy to understand why more than 615 million devices now have adblocker software installed, up from 198 million in 2015.
In a world where consumers are actively blocking ads it’s no surprise they’re embracing content marketing and all the value it brings without being even remotely intrusive.
4. More people get info online than ever before
It’s not just the younger generation heading online for entertainment and socialization. The convenience and quality of information online is driving more people to the web than ever in search of answers, information, and value.
Pew Research tells us that approximately half of consumers turn to the web for news and information (43% in 2017, up from 38% in 2016) while other mediums like print news and television are seeing declines (television fell from 57% to 50% while print fell from 20% to 18%)
And it’s the content leaders who are gaining the readers.
Year-over-year growth in unique site traffic is 7.8x higher for content marketing leaders; those who constantly improve their writing, techniques, value, and consistently raise the bar on what is ‘quality content writing’.
5. Infographics are shared 3x more than any other type of content
Blogging is highly effective, and consumers love video, but nothing trumps the engaging, easy-to-digest designs and storytelling of an infographic. That’s why they’re shared 3x more than any other type of content across social channels.
They’re also 30X more likely to be read over text content like this one.
Add interactivity and infographics become a highly sharable, lead generating, and link building content piece.
6. An informed audience is a warm audience
With the educational value of content marketing your audience is not only able to get more information when they need it, they get access to all the questions they need answered to make an informed decision.
When those readers convert into leads (and we know from early stats I shared that more of them convert) they’re much farther along in the buyer’s journey. They have more trust in you, more interest in the solution you offer, and less likely to search out answers and comparison shop.
Data shared by Curata shows that a whopping 74% of companies state content marketing boosts the quality and quantity of leads. The time you invest now in content marketing makes the job much easier for marketing and sales down the road.
7. Small businesses with blogs get more leads
Blogs are one of the most common content pieces used by businesses and for good reason – more than ¾ of internet users turn to blogs for information, entertainment, and news.
The small businesses who blog regularly and consistently (from a point of delivering value to the reader) get 126% more lead growth and 3.5X the amount of traffic vs. brands who don’t publish content.
Proof that you don’t need to have a content strategy with a budget rivaling major brands to see significant return from your content writing.
8. Content marketing builds trust
Brands often employ content marketing to meet a number of goals:
- Build links
- Build brand awareness
- Generate targeted traffic
- Generate leads
But content marketing is about more than acquiring new customers. A smart content strategy produces content at every stage of the buyers journey to build trust and help customers make an informed purchase decision.
And it’s crazy effective.
According to Social Media Examiner, blogs are the third most influential media next to retail and brand sites – and well beyond social media channels.
Take the time to map content to the sales funnel and all the additional traffic you will more readily move from interest and awareness to evaluation and on through the purchase phase.
It helps that 95% of B2B buyers consider content as a trustworthy source of information when evaluation a company and the services it offers. Roughly 80% of businesses prefer to gather and review information via articles versus advertisements.
9. Content marketing delivers the highest conversion rates
Acquisition and trust are great, but they don’t mean much if you’re not converting leads into customers. It may take more time with content marketing as customers find content to answer their questions and build trust, but the wait pays off.
According to Content Marketing Institute, content marketing produces conversion rates 6x higher than any other marketing method.
10. Consumers snack on content all day
Your audience isn’t just looking for content specific to making a purchase – they’re feeding on content of all types and quality all day long thanks to mobile tech.
In addition to quality, long form content if you can produce easily-digestable content optimized for a mobile audience you’ll be far more likely to capture those audience segments.
Google is more likely to position that mobile-friendly content in the SERPs as well since it recently added mobile-friendliness as one of the ranking factors in its core algorithm.
Content marketing continues to change how customers educate themselves and choose the companies they do business with. A smart marketer knows how to recognize and take advantage of trends like these.
To build links, leads, traffic, and customers it’s no longer a question of how much money to sink into paid campaigns, or extensive testing and audience targeting.
You customers are spread across a variety of channel actively searching for and digesting content. You just need to create the right kind of content. When you’re ready to revamp your marketing strategy and start producing more content refer to these stats to help guide your approach.