2015 B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends

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by Vahe Habeshian

Marketers have a problem with measuring content marketing.

Business-to-consumer (B2C) content marketers struggle with effectively tracking their content marketing return on investment (ROI), according to the findings of the fifth annual content marketing study by MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute.

(That’s also true of business-to-business (B2B) content marketers, the B2B version of the study found.)

Only 23% of B2C marketers say they are successful at tracking the ROI of their content marketing program, and nearly as many (21%) do not track ROI at all, according to the study: B2C Content Marketing: 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends—North America.

Moreover, fully 51% of B2C marketers say measuring content effectiveness is a challenge.

How can marketers be more successful at measuring content marketing effectiveness? It helps to have a documented content marketing strategy: 43% of B2C marketers who have a written strategy say they are effective at tracking ROI.

In fact, having a documented strategy helps increase effectiveness in all areas of content marketing, the research shows:

However, just 27% of B2C content marketers say they have a documented strategy.

Among the top challenges confronting B2C marketers are producing engaging content (50%), producing content consistently (44%), and producing a variety of content (40%). So it’s no wonder that more B2C marketers this year say they are challenged with finding trained content marketing professionals (32% this year vs. 10% last year).

“As the industry continues to mature, it’s becoming more critical to find trained professionals to not only create great content but also strategically plan for its development, distribution, and measurement,” said Ann Handley, chief content officer of MarketingProfs and author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content.

“The importance of this annual research cannot be overstated,” said Joe Pulizzi, founder, Content Marketing Institute and author of Epic Content Marketing. “In many cases, the research can help justify gaining additional budget for content programs, as well as assist in a necessary culture change that needs to happen to help content marketing become infused into the rest of the organization.”

A few other key findings from the report:

  • 45% of B2C marketers have a dedicated content marketing group in their organization.
  • 69% are creating more content now than they did one year ago.
  • The use of blogs dropped from 72% last year to 67% this year; the biggest increase in tactic usage has been for branded content tools (from 37% to 47%).
  • B2C marketers are using, on average, 7 social media platforms this year, compared with 6 last year.
  • 71% of B2C marketers use print or other offline promotion, making it the paid method they use most frequently to promote/distribute content; yet only 46% of them say it’s effective. The method they find most effective is search engine marketing (57%).

For detailed findings, see the full report: