Paid search ads rank as the most effective way to promote content online

But most companies rank themselves as still learning how to implement a content marketing strategy.

A big majority of companies market themselves by distributing content, such as white papers, articles and blogs. But most think they’re not all that good at content marketing, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s study, “B2B Enterprise Content Marketing 2016.” And most agree that placing ads on search engines like Google and Bing is the best way to promote their content.

The study defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract, retain a clearly defined audience and ultimately to drive profitable customer action.” 87% of marketers surveyed are using content marketing for their business which is down 1% from last year’s 88%, but the takeaway remains that content marketing is a vital aspect of most businesses’ marketing strategy.

Despite its widespread use, most companies don’t think they’re highly skilled at content marketing. The study broke companies into five categories based on what it refers to as an organization’s ‘marketing maturity,’ a measure of the development of each company’s content marketing strategy. Of those surveyed only 4% said their process was “sophisticated,” the highest tier, which is described as “providing accurate measurement to the business, scaling across the organization.” Another 29% said their business is “mature” in that they are having some success but are still challenged with integration across the organization.

Over 60% of businesses surveyed are still experiencing difficulties in implementing a successful content marketing strategy. Those businesses include those that self-identify as “adolescent” if they’re seeing early signs of success, “young” if they’re struggling to implement a strategy or “first steps” if they are doing some content marketing, but lack an official and clear process. Here’s the breakdown: 

  • Sophisticated: 4%
  •  Mature: 29%
  • Adolescent: 27%
  • Young: 28%
  • First Steps: 11%

The survey found that 82% of companies consider engagement with potential customers to be a goal of content marketing followed closely by sales at 81%.  Here are the leading goals of content marketing (respondents could choose all answers that apply):

  • Engagement: 82%
  • Sales: 81%
  • Lead generation: 79%
  • Brand awareness: 75%
  •  Customer retention/Loyalty: 74%
  •  Lead nurturing: 74%
  •   Upsell/Cross-sell: 65%
  • Creating brand advocates: 63%

Marketers are using an average of four paid methods to promote and distribute their content. The most commonly used are search engine marketing (77%), traditional online banner ads (75%) and offline promotion (72%). Promoted posts, social ads and native advertising all returned percentages over 50% and every choice that was presented in the survey saw an increase from last year’s responses. 

  •  Search engine marketing (SEM): 77%
  • Traditional online banner ads: 75%
  • Print or other offline promotion: 72%
  • Promoted posts: 62%
  • Social ads: 62%
  • Native advertising: 57%
  • Content discovery tools: 18%

Search engine marketing is not only the most popular method, survey respondents also ranked it as most effective, with 58% ranking it as either a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 (Not effective at all) to 5 (Very effective). Promoted posts had the biggest increase from a year ago as effectiveness grew to 48% from 42%. Social ads, native advertising, print promotions and banner ads were all effective more than 25% of the time.

  •  Search engine marketing (SEM): 58%
  • Content discovery tools: 49%
  • Promoted posts: 48%
  •  Social ads: 39%
  • Native advertising: 36%
  • Print or other offline promotion: 30%
  • Traditional online banner ads: 29%

 [By Tim Brusveen] [From B2B E-Commerce World] [Read More]