25 Useful Content Marketing Stats That Are Actually Credible

As an avid crime fiction reader, I can assure you that marketers and detectives have little in common. We’re more like cops on desk duty, sitting in front of a computer and enjoying the occasional donut in the kitchen. But if there’s one part of our jobs that calls for investigative skills, it’s when we’re looking for content marketing stats.

Many marketers claim to be data-driven, but they’re not. They like data and want clear numbers to justify their decisions, yet they fall short when it comes to sifting through reports for quality data. The same goes for marketing blogs. Plenty of publications want to enrich their articles with flashy statistics, but writers and editors don’t always check the sources and validity of their information. If they did investigate, they wouldn’t be able to use a lot of the facts and figures stuffed into their content.

I totally get the reluctance to follow up. We’re all navigating busy days and meeting deadlines. But if you can spare five minutes, research the origin of a marketing stat you come across one time. I’ve gone down deep rabbit holes trying to verify sources for external data cited in TCS posts. Sometimes you get a quick confirmation. Other times, you never get to the bottom of a long, winding thread of links. Sites end up linking to each other as the original source of a stat—a möbius strip of marketing nonsense.

(If you want to learn more about data problems, goldfish, and attention spans, I highly recommend this article by Convene editor and TCS contributor Andrew Littlefield.)

You may have seen roundup lists of marketing stats before. This one is different. Every content marketing stat included below comes directly from Contently, including the year we gathered the data. Most come from research reports we’ve produced over the years; a few are currently out in print assets online, with digital versions coming soon. The result is a list of data you can trust.

Content planning

  • 98 percent of senior marketers believe having a content strategy is important for their success, but only 55 percent have a documented strategy. (2017)
  • 75 percent of readers want articles they read to be under 1,000 words. (2019)
  • 72 percent of marketers target content based on audience personas or customer profiles. (2017)
  • 55 percent of marketers think their content strategy is well integrated into their company’s overall marketing strategy. (2017)

Content creation

  • 70 percent of marketers describe their company’s workflow for creating content as middling or inefficient. (2017)
  • 83 percent prefer article and video content formats the most, despite the hype for flashier content formats like podcasts and infographics. (2019)

Content distribution

  • 50 percent of brands believe that paid content distribution is critical to their success. (2017)
  • However, only 40 percent are confident in their ability to effectively measure the results of their content distribution. (2017)
  • Finance content generates an average of 214 social shares. (2017)
  • 78 percent of brands always use a visual when posting to a channel. (2019)
  • 69 percent of organizations share visual content at least once per day. (2019)

[Click here to download our new report on the state of visual content, produced in partnership with Libris.]

Content effectiveness

  • 84 percent of U.S. consumers believe good marketing can impact their purchasing decisions. (2019)
  • 49 percent of marketers rate their content as somewhat or very effective. (2016)
  • 56 percent of people trust brands over traditional media and news outlets. (2019)
  • Only 17 percent of marketers consider their video content to be “very good.” (2019)
  • 33 percent of readers argue that publishing licensed content made a brand look worse. (2015)
  • 47 percent of millennials indicated they’d be more likely to trust a financial services company if it created useful content. (2017)
  • 75 percent of companies drive better marketing ROI when they use visuals with their content. (2019)

Organizational habits

  • 86 percent of marketers believe data has made them more effective at their jobs. (2017)
  • 67 percent of companies devote less than a quarter of their marketing budgets to content. (2016)
  • 64 percent of content teams have five or fewer people. (2017)
  • 61 percent of companies do not use content marketing software. (2017)
  • Lead conversion (32 percent) is the most popular metric for measuring content marketing success. (2016)

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