Whether you are tallying up your results for the end of the year, or planning programs for the next year, benchmarks provide context for companions. Benchmarks give us a sense of how well we are resourced and what sort of results others in industry are providing.
Fortunately, there are several new studies that have been published about content marketing, blogging and webinars that provide solid benchmarks. These are the focus for this week’s Unscripted Marketing Links (UML), where on the occasional Saturday, I examine three ideas, studies or articles, wrap them in insight and present them here for your consideration.
1) Content marketing benchmarks
MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute published their 10th Annual B2B Marketing report with benchmarks, budgets and trends. This year the report sampled responses from 679 in North American B2B companies. Here are a few benchmarks that stood out for me:
- Content marketing teams remain small. Most organizations field a small content marketing team. More nuanced answers show:
- 32% have no one dedicated to content marketing;
- 24% employ one person;
- 35% dedicate a team of 2-5 people; and
- 9% dedicate a team of 6 or more.
- About half of businesses outsource some content marketing. 50% of respondents said they outsource some aspect of content marketing. Of those, 84% say they outsource content creation; distribution, technology, strategy and measurement were distant followers.
- B2B content marketers serve an average of four audiences. The average number of audiences B2B marketers create content for is four. It’s higher in large companies (5), defined as 1000+ employees, and lower in small companies (3), defined as 1-99 employees.
- Most content is aimed at building awareness. 50% of respondents said they create content to build awareness at the top of the funnel; 22% develop content for interest or intent at the middle of the funnel; 14% say they make content for the decision or late-stage of the funnel; and just 11% create content for customers after the sale.
- Most marketers used paid media to fuel owned media. 84% of B2B marketers use paid distribution channels for content marketing purposes. Of that segment of respondents, 72% use paid social media channels; 66% use sponsorships; 61% use pay-per-click advertising.
- The metrics content marketers track. Most respondents say they measure email marketing performance metrics (90%); website traffic (88%), which was oddly bundled with backlinks in this answer (these are useful but different measures IMHO), website engagement (86%), like time-on-page and bounce rates; social media vanity metrics (83%), such as shares, likes and follows; and conversion metrics (78%) such as subscribers and leads (78%).
- The average content marketing budget is $185,000. The average reported annual budget, reported across all respondents, came in at $185,000. The most successful content marketers invested more, with an average of $272,000, while the least successful content marketers spent less at $109,000. The survey also broke average budgets out by size, with large businesses, with 1000 or more employees investing $405,000; medium-sized businesses with 100-999 employees investing $213,000; and small businesses with 1-99 employees investing: $81,500. About 46% expect their content marketing budget to grow while 35% say it will remain flat and just 4% say it will decrease.
Perspective: Some of the findings are really incredulous. For example, if no one is dedicated to content marketing in your organization, how can a marketing leader expect results? Marketing is hard and you’ve got to commit to it. Year after year this survey shows that successful content marketing programs are resourced appropriately, have a documented content strategy, put their audience needs first, and measure real results with analytics. If you are looking for ideas, I have many years’ worth of useful ideas organized under the content marketing tag on this blog.
>>> Related: All Marketing is NOT Content Marketing
2) Blogging benchmarks
For the last six years, Orbit Media has surveyed 1,000 bloggers for its annual blogging survey. I’ve followed and written about the report for the last four years (here, here and here) and have generally found it reflects my own professional experience in blogging for B2B technology companies for more than 10 years.
Here are some useful benchmarks:
- How long is the average blog post? 1,236 words;
- 55% of bloggers report an average post exceeds 1,000 words; and
- 28% say their average post is greater than 1,500 words.
- How long does it take to write the average blog post? 3 hours and 57 minutes;
- 38% of bloggers report it takes more than 4 hours to write a post; and
- 19% say it takes six or more hours;
- Of bloggers that spend 4 or more hours on a post, 69% report “strong results.”
- How often do bloggers publish blog posts? 2-4 posts per month.
- 23% published “several” per month;
- 24% publish weekly (the most in this survey);
- 16% publish 2-6 per week; and
- “Bloggers who write more (either in length or in frequency) are more likely to report strong results.”
- Methods of successful bloggers. The survey isolates answers from bloggers who report “strong results.” Those bloggers that report success do the following:
- 75% include 10 or more images per blog post
- 67% write 20 or more draft headlines for each post;
- 67% publish blogs daily;
- 55% publish blogs with 2,000 or more words;
- 53% research keywords for each post;
- 50% collaborate with influencers to develop every post; and
- 49% check analytics for every post.
Perspective: Quality and consistency routinely show up in surveys and demonstrate what separates successful blogs from unsuccessful blogs. While length doesn’t necessarily bring quality, longer posts do generally suggest a thorough examination of a topic. More importantly, bloggers continue to say this drives results: longer posts drive better results.
These findings inevitably bring out contrarian opinions: “Nobody wants to write or read long posts.” But studies like this one have shown over and over that views are simply wrong, which means their employers or clients are missing the secret of success. To that end, the secret to success in blogging is to publish quality content, which often includes longer articles, on a consistent basis and over time. You can’t just turn it off or on.
3) Webinar benchmarks
Webinars are a long-time staple of B2B marketing. Usually these are instrumental part of lead generation programs. Recently I stumble upon two reports by two separate webinar vendors – On24 and GoToMeeting that offer solid benchmarks for webinar programs.
2019 Webinar Benchmarks Report by On24
On24 examined 22,922 webinars held in 2018 with at least 100 attendees – and also survey 200 users to compile this report. Here are a few statistics that stood out for me:
- 57% of respondents that use webinars for marketing produce 1-50 webinars annually;
- 54% of registrants occur at least 8 days prior to the webinar; 28% occur 15 days prior;
- 65% of respondents say they send five email touches for each webinar;
- Day: most webinars are held on:
- Tuesday (24%);
- Wednesday (27%); or
- Thursday (28%).
- Time: most webinars are held at:
- 8 a.m. (9%);
- 9 a.m. (10%);
- 10 a.m. (13%);
- 11 a.m. (18%) or
- 12 p.m. (11%);
- On24 says, “The best time to run a webinar is 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST) as it avoids most conflicts on both coasts.”
- 39% of registrants for marketing webinars converted to attendees; and
- Attendees viewed live webinars for an average of 58 minutes and recorded webinars for 47 minutes.
The Big Book of Webinar Stats by GoToMeeting
GoToMeeting analyzed 250,000 webinars held in 2017 – so the data is a little older – to produce this report.
- Software and technology companies produce the most webinars (29%) followed by financial services (14%), education (11%) and consulting (10%);
- 57% of registrants stem from email marketing; 15% from social media; 14% from websites or blogs;
- 59% of registrations happened a week out from a webinar; 17% occur within 24 hours of a webinar;
- The best days to promote a webinar are:
- Monday: 20%;
- Tuesday: 21%;
- Wednesday: 20%;
- Thursday: 18%; and
- Friday: 13%.
- The time when people register:
- 7 a.m. – 5%;
- 8 a.m. – 11%;
- 9 a.m. – 12%;
- 10 a.m. – 13%;
- 11 a.m. – 10%; and
- 12 a.m. – 8%.
- Day: most webinars are held on:
- Tuesday (24%);
- Wednesday (27%); or
- Thursday (26%).
- The time to hold a webinar to attract the most attendees:
- 8 a.m. (6%);
- 9 a.m. (12%);
- 10 a.m. (29%);
- 11 a.m. (24%) or
- 12 p.m. (8%).
- Most webinars (67%) run 60 minutes in length, followed by 90 minutes (11%);
- 44% of registrants for marketing webinars converted to attendees; and
- Marketing webinars drew an average of 56 attendees viewing the webinar for an average of 52 minutes.
Perspective: Neither report provides a data point on the frequency of webinars, but in my experience, a cadence of every other month, or every month works best. The market team develops a rhythm around this event – a system and process – that can easily be integrated into other marketing programs like SEO, PPC, social media and of course, it’s great fodder for content marketing and blogging alike.
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There’s a scene in the original casting of the Karate Kid where Mr. Miyagi implores Daniel to either commit – “karate, do ‘yes’” or “karate, do ‘no’” – because if you do karate “guess-so” then sooner or later you get squashed like a grape. It seems to me, studies like this just go to show the same could be said about marketing.
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Image credits: Unsplash and respective studies.