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.
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%).
- 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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