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The popularity of whitepapers as a B2B content marketing format is declining in relation to more interactive, easily digestible formats such as video, according to a recent survey of the B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn.

Overall, B2B content marketing is seen as an increasingly effective strategy: More than 82% of survey respondents are planning to increase their content production over the next 12 months.

Other key findings from the annual report:

  • YouTube is gaining popularity as a social media platform to reach and engage B2B audiences. Facebook is losing ground. 
  • 61% of marketers use marketing automation platforms, up from 43% last year. 
  • The vast majority (93%) of B2B marketers are creating content from scratch.
  • Only 34% are syndicating/curating content, and just 30% are encouraging user-generated content. 

Below, additional insights from the B2B Content Marketing Report, which was authored by Holger Schulze, the manager of the B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn.

The Most Effective Tactics

  • Customer testimonials and case studies are considered the most effective B2B content tactics by survey respondents.
  • Whitepapers suffered the biggest drop in perceived effectiveness from last year's survey—moving down from second place to sixth.
  • Videos are now viewed as the fifth most effective content type to reach B2B audiences.
  • The three least popular content formats are online games, printed books, and podcasts.

Top Goals of Content Marketing

Survey respondents listed lead generation (71%), thought leadership/market education (50%), and customer acquisition (45%) as their top content marketing goals.

Social Media Effectiveness

  • 85% of respondents consider LinkedIn an effective social media network for reaching and engaging B2B audiences. (However, consider that respondents were LinkedIn group members.)
  • 73% of respondents view YouTube as an effective platform, up from 53% last year. 
  • 65% say Twitter is effective, down from 70% last year. 
  • Only 39% say Facebook is an effective platform for delivering B2B content, down from 54% last year.

Top Challenges Facing B2B Content Marketers 

  • 55% of respondents say their top challenge is finding enough time and bandwidth to create content.
  • The next biggest challenge is producing engaging content (49%), followed by producing enough content variety to serve the needs of marketing programs (39%). 

Marketing Automation 

  • 37% of marketers use marketing automation to generate leads; 36% use it for lead nurturing. 
  • 39% of B2B marketers don't use marketing automation at all—significantly down from 57% last year.

About the research: The report was based on a June 2013 survey of 815 members of the B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn. The community has 35,000+ members from a broad range of countries, industries, and employers.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji