Demand for B2B content has risen sharply over the past nine months. That’s a boon for content marketers, but also a challenge. They need to make strategic choices about how to meet this demand, especially since marketing budgets are flat or declining.
At Tendo, we’ve been tracking content trends to advise our clients on the most cost-effective content strategies to pursue in 2021. The data tells an interesting story. Yes, B2B content consumption has increased, but not for all audiences and not for all content types.
Here’s a key takeaway: To engage more customers and get the most from a limited budget, create more short-form content that’s easier to produce and distribute.
Need input on your 2021 digital strategy? Tendo advises some of the best-known B2B brands, and we can help you, too. Let’s talk.
Two Must-Read Resources on B2B Content in 2020
Two separate reports confirm that B2B content engagement has increased dramatically since the pandemic began. PathFactory, a B2B content platform, aggregated data for all its customer instances in its 2020 Content Engagement Report. In the same vein, NetLine, a B2B buyer engagement platform, shared its own extensive data set.
The top-line numbers are impressive:
- Since the pandemic upended business as usual—including in-person events and traditional marketing—in early March, PathFactory saw a 40% increase in total page views, a 42% increase in sessions, and a 17% increase in visitors.
- NetLine reported that demand for B2B content increased by 10.5% in April and 49.8% in May compared to those months in 2019.
- The increase in demand for B2B content continued through the summer, according to NetLine, which reported a 37.7% increase in June and a 16.84% increase in July, compared to 2019.
- The most active content consumers were professionals in IT, as well as executive-level professionals (in any industry) and workers in education and human resources, according to NetLine.
Browsing Behaviors and Top Content Types
Dig a little deeper and the findings get even more interesting. PathFactory shares these insights on how browsing behaviors have shifted and what content assets are getting the most traction.
The number of sessions among content “bingers”—those who consume more than one content asset in a single session—increased 43%, compared to 13% for non-bingers.While the total number of sessions increased, they were shorter in length, down 38% for bingers and 17% for non-bingers.
Tendo takeaways: While B2B buyers are hungry for content, their attention spans are shorter. Give them information in smaller bites and keep them coming back for more. Follow the best practices to optimize their content experience, connecting pages and assets to one another in a flow. If your CMS or digital platform allows it, target those bingers by using personalization to dynamically serve them fresh, relevant content.
Top content types
PathFactory reported the following increases in views by content type:
- 265.6% increase in executive summary views
- 139.5% increase in landing page views
- 128.1% increase in webinar views (no surprise)
- 108.1% increase in brochure views
- 78.8% increase in brief views
- 67% increase in guide views
They also found that on-demand webinars, videos, and blog posts drove the increase in content consumption among bingers.
Tendo takeaways: Continue to produce a diverse mix of content assets but emphasize short-form content that can be produced more quickly and at lower cost. Think checklists, briefs, blog posts, short videos, images, and one-sheets.
Content’s Starring Role in Your Digital-First Strategy
As we head into 2021, it’s more important than ever to be strategic in how you leverage B2B content:
- 35% of content marketers say that producing enough content is their top challenge, according to The B2B Content Marketing Report, a survey report published by FINITE in September 2020. And with budgets in peril, we need to do more with less, compounding the issue.
- Content is always the engine of your digital-first marketing strategy, driving every stage of the customer journey. COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future, so digital-first—or even digital-only—strategies will need to shoulder the burden of demand generation and perform better than ever.
Keep following the Tendo blog for ongoing insights on COVID-19 and content strategy.