B2B content marketing data

Research studies show that customers absorb about five pieces of content before they are ready to be called by a sales representative. So it’s not enough to offer minimal content with interesting titles in hopes of “winning leads” to drive sales. Online marketers need to consistently offer high-quality content that supports the buyer in the funnel. Only then can content marketing methods deliver a positive return on investment.

Content has changed dramatically

Given these facts, you need to determine engagement and compare these metrics to those of your competitors to understand if your audience is worth your content.

From a comprehensive analysis of more than 100,000 sessions, 3,000 hours of looking at 1,200 B2B marketing resources such as e-books, whitepapers, guides and research study reports, we came up with some interesting statistics that reinforced our belief that long-form content is still an important component of a comprehensive content strategy. That said, the way we – and our clients – produce and distribute this type of content has changed dramatically.

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Here are three of the most eye-opening insights we’ve found that can help you ensure your content actually gets noticed:

B2B decision makers have attention deficit disorder

After analyzing more than 3,000 hours of viewing time, it was found that the average reader views a resource for about 2 minutes and consumes only 53 percent of a typical content offering.

Online marketers have an average of only 120 seconds to engage their audience with high-quality content before they lose them. We also found an unfavorable correlation between document length and typical dwell time, suggesting that potential customers often only preview a 35-page whitepaper, perhaps mark it for resubmission, and likely never see it again.

Lay it down quickly, and don’t save your best information for last-most readers will never get there.

Much content is methodically too long

The analysis examined 1,187 marketing documents and found that the typical e-book, white paper or manual is a full 13 pages from first page to last.

Too many marketers believe longer content is seen as more reliable and better represents their brands as idea guides, ultimately leading to more leads. To those online marketers, I ask 2 basic questions:

Have you recently read a 13-page e-book cover to cover?

Are you really that different from the people you’re marketing to?

If you answered “yes” and “no,” keep producing those 13-page downloads. If you answered “no” to both questions, maybe it’s time to rethink your concepts.

Many marketers expect your target audience to do what they themselves don’t do and have never done.

Writing concise content that gets to the point quickly is really difficult, but in reality, it’s exactly what busy online visitors are often looking for. B2B decision makers crave material they can quickly devour on their coffee break and leave feeling like they’ve learned and accomplished something.

Many marketers expect your target audience to do what they themselves don’t do and have never done.

Of course, a reliable 13-page white paper is appropriate, but if you take an all-or-nothing approach, you’ll miss significant direct contact opportunities. Make the effort to split this long e-book into several parts, and distribute each part as a different offer on your website, blog, and social channels. By doing so, you’ll not only satisfy readers’ thirst for material, but you’ll also streamline your material production and produce far more content to share in the process.

Returning visitors are the minority

Seventy-two percent of prospects who download your content have not previously downloaded content from your website.

While this total may vary from customer to customer, prospects who visit your site and download your content today are unlikely to return to read more content tomorrow (or ever).

Understand and accept this truth. The good thing is that for every 3 leads that never come back, one will. You need the right processes in place to track and score these return visitors so you can differentiate them from the “one-hit wonder” visitors (who would likely waste your sales team’s time if they were considered true marketing-qualified leads).

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Sebastian Stroeller

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Sebastian is a Google Whisperer, SEO expert and strategist with 10 years of experience in SEO, local SEO, eCommerce, affiliate and Google Ads. Sebastian’s passion for testing means he puts every strategy through its paces before recommending it to his clients. He’s a dog nut and also enjoys watching Netflix.

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