Content costs soared last year, according to a data study by PathFactory; B2B video content costs the most at $8,448 while blogs cost the least at $1,959; people do actually binge on B2B content
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms have given us data. Savvy software companies aggregate and anonymize user data on their platforms and publish reports.
Unlike surveys, these studies are based on behavior. It’s a valuable benchmark for the community and good marketing for the company.
PathFactory, which is a content platform for B2B companies, recently published such a study. According to Marketing Charts, where I first spotted it, the “findings are based on PathFactory content engagement data across its entire customer base.”
MarketingCharts covered just a slice of the report, so I went back for a closer look later. What I found was pure gold in terms of content marketing benchmarks. Below are several findings that stood out.
1. The cost of B2B content
Prices have inflated everywhere the cost of content in B2B was no exception. The report finds content costs soared 58% in 2021 compared to the year earlier. The average content asset costs $2,791 to produce.
What constitutes a content asset? The report breaks out a few examples:
- Marketing videos cost an average of $8,448 and earned 2:22 minutes of viewing time;
- Blogs cost an average of $1,959 and earned 3:02 minutes of viewing time;
- Webinars cost an average of $4,231 and earned 2:20 minutes of viewing time;
- White papers cost an average of $8,279 and earned 6:18 minutes of viewing time; and
- Articles cost an average of $2,854 and earned 2:04 minutes of viewing time
Interestingly, webinars were the only asset type listed in this section that saw its viewing time fall in comparison to 2020. Webinar view time fell 36%, according to the report.
I don’t think that means these aren’t worth doing. As we’ll see in a bit, the viewing time for recordings is among the highest of content assets.
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2. Content engagement grew
There’s a reason B2B marketers are investing in content. It’s because it drives consumption and engagement.
According to the report, “Engagement times increased substantially in 2021, with average session time up by 47% and average view time by 63%.” Indeed, B2B marketing organizations produced content that drew more visitors (up 55%), who logged more sessions (up 36%), viewed more pages (up 35%) and consumed more unique content assets (up 43%).
The average view time for a content asset is 2:57, according to the report. It says “known visitors,” spend nearly twice as much time with content – 1.7x – than “unknown” or new visitors.
This speaks to the notion that effective content programs focus on building subscribers. Subscribers are the key to building social proof in a noisy digital environment, driving engagement, ethically obtaining first-party data, and the key to compounding content marketing results.
3. The top content types by viewed time
Retailers know that the longer customers hang around in a physical store, the more likely they are to buy something. There’s a similar concept at play with B2B content marketing. Among other factors, the time a target audience spends with content is an indication of success.
Here are the top content types by viewed time in 2021:
- Whitepapers were viewed on average 6:18 – that’s up 142% from 2020;
- Webcast recordings were viewed on average 5:43 – that’s up 48% ;
- Surveys were viewed on average 5:28 – that’s up 48% 122%;
- Presentations were viewed on average 3:56 – that’s up 24%; and
- Registration pages were viewed on average 3:52 – that’s up 56.7%.
Notice that the time spent with webcast recordings is higher than with live webinars referenced in the first point.
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4. People do actually binge on B2B content
Streaming services may have brought us the concept of content binging, but it seems to be happening in B2B too.
B2B content bingers:
- Viewed 1.9x more content assets per session than non-bingers;
- Viewed 4.6x more content assets in total;
- Maintained individual session viewing times that were 9.5x longer overall; and
- Bingers also were 2x more likely to return and visit again than non-bingers.
All this engagement adds up to more time. The report finds bingers spend an average of 7:14 minutes with content per session.
5. The average age of content assets
The report found the age of content assets in B2B breaks out like this:
- 33% of B2B content is 3 years old;
- 27% of B2B content is 2-3 years old; and
- 40% of B2B content is one year old.
I’m not sure if the age of content is useful for comparison. Some of the best-performing content I’ve ever produced is 10 years old and still pulls web traffic.
However, it is useful for reminding us that content marketing is a long game. We are building a library of content that is useful to our intended audience. That’s part of the important nuance: all marketing is not content marketing.
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The full report is loaded with additional detail and no registration is required: Content Engagement Report 2021
[Did you know? This blog is a clever cover story for a boutique marketing and PR consultancy serving B2B tech. Check out our services.]
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Image by Unsplash and respective study