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1
B2C
CONTENT
MARKETING
B2C
CONTENT
MARKETING
BENCHMARKS, BUDGETS,
AND TRENDS
11TH ANNUAL
INSIGHTS FOR 2021
2
SURVEY TERM DEFINITIONS
Content marketing: A strategic marketing
approach focused on creating and distributing
valuable, relevant, and consistent content to
attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and,
ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Success: Achieving your organization’s desired/
targeted results.
Note: In instances where we observed notable
year-over-year differences, this report contains
comparisons with findings from last year’s 10th
annual survey—reported on in B2C Content
Marketing 2020: Benchmarks, Budgets, and
Trends.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
m INTRODUCTION......................................................................... 3
m KEY FINDINGS............................................................................. 4
m MATURITY & STRATEGY.............................................................. 5
m TEAM STRUCTURE & OUTSOURCING........................................ 10
m CONTENT CREATION & DISTRIBUTION..................................... 17
m METRICS, GOALS & OVERALL SUCCESS.................................... 26
m BUDGETS & SPENDING............................................................. 31
m INSIGHTS FOR 2021.................................................................. 35
m METHODOLOGY........................................................................ 40
m ABOUT...................................................................................... 41
ANN
HANDLEY
Chief Content Officer,
MarketingProfs
LISA
MURTON
BEETS
Research Director/
Report Author, CMI
STEPHANIE STAHL
General Manager, CMI
ROBERT ROSE
Chief Strategy Advisor, CMI
KIM MOUTSOS
VP Content, CMI
CATHY McPHILLIPS
VP Marketing, CMI
JOSEPH “JK”
KALINOWSKI
Creative Director, CMI
3
INTRODUCTION
Welcome to our annual B2C Content
Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and
Trends report. Here we present the results from
B2C marketers who replied to our 11th Annual
Content Marketing Survey.
The events of 2020 have certainly reshaped
how organizations conduct their marketing.
At the time of this survey, content marketers
were still reeling from the events that took
place during the first half of 2020. As we
usher in 2021, we are still facing constant
change and uncertainty.
Many B2C marketers reported adjusting quickly
when the pandemic hit; perhaps their companies
were doubling down on digital, heavily engaging
in virtual events, or trying to keep on top of rapidly
changing analytics resulting from more people
being at home and online. All these scenarios
created the need for new content, formats, and
strategies.
As we move into 2021 in a world where most
gatherings are still limited, direct-to-consumer will
continue to drive B2C. Successful B2C marketers
will focus on creating content experiences and
building relationships in the digital world.
3
4
B2C content marketers are
becoming more strategic.
Seventy-three percent of respondents report
their organization has a content marketing
strategy. Of those, 42% have a documented
strategy, up from 33% the previous year.
See page 7.
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
They responded quickly
when the pandemic hit.
Eighty-two percent agree their organization
made quick changes due to the pandemic.
The top reported adjustment was “changed
our targeting/messaging strategy” (63%).
See pages 8 and 9.
Many have small content
marketing teams.
Consistent with our past research, 52%
report their organization has a small (or one-
person) marketing/content marketing team
serving the entire organization. See page 13.
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
Livestreaming video
saw a big jump in use.
When we looked at the content types B2C
marketers are using compared with one year
ago, livestreaming video had the biggest
increase (35% vs. 13% the previous year).
See page 20.
Nearly half have established
online communities.
Forty-eight percent say their organization
has established an online community. The
survey defined an online community as a
space where your audience can engage with
each other and your brand in the form of
discussions, posts, surveys, etc. See page 21.
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
Facebook is the top social
media platform.
Facebook is the social media platform that
B2C marketers use most often (both organic
and paid). That was also the case last year.
The use of organic Instagram and YouTube
increased over last year, by seven and 10
percentage points, respectively. See pages
23 and 25.
KEY FINDINGS
B2C
ONTENT
ARKETING
B2C
ONTENT
ARKETING
NCHMARKS, BUDGETS,
AND TRENDS
11TH ANNUAL
MATURITY
& STRATEGY
5
6
41% of B2C marketers report their organization is in the sophisticated/mature phase of content marketing maturity.
SOPHISTICATED
Providing accurate measurement to the business, scaling
across the organization
MATURE
Finding success, yet challenged with integration across
the organization
ADOLESCENT
Possessing a business case, seeing early success,
becoming more sophisticated with measurement and
scaling
YOUNG
Experiencing growing pains, challenged with creating a
cohesive strategy and a measurement plan
FIRST STEPS
Doing some aspects of content, but have not yet begun to
make content marketing a process
How B2C Marketers Rate Their Organization’s
Content Marketing Maturity Level
12%
7%
28%
24%
29%
■ Sophisticated
■ Mature
■ Adolescent
■ Young
■ First Steps
Base: B2C content marketers.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
MATURITY & STRATEGY
7
MATURITY & STRATEGY
42% of B2C marketers indicate their organization has a documented content marketing strategy, up from 33% the
previous year.
	
68% report their organization made major or moderate adjustments to their content marketing strategy in
	 response to the pandemic.
	
51% describe the adjustments as both short- and long-term.
Percentage of B2C Marketers
With a Content Marketing Strategy
22%
42%
6%
31%
■ Yes, and it is documented
■ Yes, but it is not documented
■ No, but plan to within 12 months
■ No, with no plans
Base: B2C content marketers.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021.
Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020
Nature of Adjustments Made to
B2C Content Marketing Strategy
as a Result of Pandemic
34%
51%
6%
9%
■ Short-term adjustments
■ Long-term adjustments
■ Both short- and long-term adjustments
■ Unsure
Base: B2C content marketers whose organizations adjusted
their strategy in response to the pandemic.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021.
Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
Impact of Pandemic on
B2C Content Marketing Strategy
27%
26%
5%
42%
■ Major
■ Moderate
■ Slight
■ None
Base: B2C content marketers whose
organizations have a content marketing strategy.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021.
Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
8
MATURITY & STRATEGY
Most B2C marketers surveyed agree their organization made quick and effective pandemic-related changes and
expect the changes to stay in effect for the foreseeable future.
Base: B2C content marketers who answered each statement.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
Our organization made quick changes
due to the pandemic.
Our organization made effective changes
due to the pandemic.
We expect some of the changes we made to
stay in effect for the foreseeable future.
0 20 40 60 80 100
■ Strongly agree ■ Somewhat agree ■ Neither agree nor disagree
■ Somewhat disagree ■ Strongly disagree
46%
38%
36% 48%
42% 11%
36% 9%
6%
7% 2%
3%
12% 3% 1%
B2C Marketers’ Opinions About Changes Their Organization
Made to Content Marketing in Response to Pandemic
9
MATURITY & STRATEGY
63% of B2C marketers surveyed changed their messaging/targeting strategy in response to the pandemic. Far fewer
took actions such as revisiting customer personas (18%) and changing their content marketing metrics (13%).
Content Marketing Changes B2C Organizations
Made in Response to the Pandemic
63%
54%
46%
43%
37%
34%
26%
25%
23%
18%
13%
0 20 40 60 80
Changed targeting/messaging strategy
Adjusted editorial calendar
Changed content distribution/promotion strategy
Put more resources toward social media/online communities
Changed website
Reexamined customer journey
Increased time spent talking with customers
Changed our products/services
Adjusted key performance indicators (KPIs)
Revisited customer/buyer personas
Changed content marketing metrics
(e.g., set up new analytics/dashboards)
Base: B2C content marketers whose organizations made at least one of the changes shown on the aided list. Multiple responses permitted.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
10
TEAM
STRUCTURE &
OUTSOURCING
10
B2C
ONTENT
ARKETING
B2C
ONTENT
ARKETING
NCHMARKS, BUDGETS,
AND TRENDS
11TH ANNUAL
11
TEAM STRUCTURE & OUTSOURCING
60% of all respondents said the size of their content marketing team was the same as 12 months ago. Around one-
third of those from large organizations reported an increase.
All Respondents 1-99 Employees 100+ Employees
Increased 27% 21% 34%
Stayed the same 60% 67% 52%
Decreased 13% 13% 15%
Base: B2C content marketers.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
Size of B2C Content Marketing Team Compared With 12 Months Ago
12
TEAM STRUCTURE & OUTSOURCING
Large B2C organizations tend to have bigger content marketing teams, often in the two- to five-employee range.
B2C Organizations’ Content Marketing Team Size
(Full Time/Dedicated to Content Marketing)
All Respondents 1-99 Employees 100+ Employees
11+ 7% 2% 13%
6-10 6% 3% 10%
2-5 37% 31% 42%
1 25% 29% 20%
0 (no one is full time, dedicated) 26% 36% 15%
Base: B2C content marketers.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
13
TEAM STRUCTURE & OUTSOURCING
Half of the B2C marketers surveyed report small (or one-person) marketing/content marketing teams serving the
entire organization.
B2C Organizations’ Content Marketing Team Structure
All Respondents 1-99 Employees 100+ Employees
We have a small (or one-person) marketing/content
marketing team serving the entire organization.
52% 70% 32%
We have a centralized content marketing group that works
with multiple brands/products/departments throughout
the organization.
23% 17% 30%
Both — We have a centralized group and individual teams
throughout the organization.
20% 10% 31%
Each brand/product/department has its own content
marketing team.
5% 3% 7%
Base: B2C content marketers.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
14
TEAM STRUCTURE & OUTSOURCING
49% of B2C marketers report their organization outsources at least one content marketing activity, with large
companies being more likely to outsource.
Does Your B2C Organization Outsource Any Content Marketing Activities?
All Respondents 1-99 Employees 100+ Employees
Yes 49% 42% 56%
No 51% 58% 44%
Base: B2C content marketers.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
15
TEAM STRUCTURE & OUTSOURCING
Among those who outsource, content creation is the activity most outsourced by far.
Base: B2C content marketers whose organizations outsource at least one content marketing activity. Aided list; multiple responses permitted.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
Content Marketing Activities B2C Organizations Outsource
75%
40%
27%
25%
23%
23%
7%
0 20 40 60 80
Content creation
Content distribution
Measurement
Content strategy
Content technology
Editorial planning
Other
16
TEAM STRUCTURE & OUTSOURCING
B2C marketers who outsource at least one content marketing activity say their biggest challenges are budget issues
(52%) and finding partners with adequate topic expertise (52%).
Top 5 Challenges When Seeking
Outsourced B2C Content Marketing Help
52%
52%
45%
43%
33%
28%
20%
14%
7%
0 20 40 60
Budget issues
Finding partners with adequate topic expertise
Finding partners who understand/are able to empathize with our audience
Lack of clear return on investment (ROI) metrics
Finding partners who can provide adequate strategic advice
Lack of integration with our organization’s process/tools
Lack of comprehensive solutions from one partner
Finding partners who consistently deliver on time
Other
Base: B2C content marketers whose organizations outsource at least one content marketing activity. Aided list; up to five responses permitted.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
CONTENT
CREATION &
DISTRIBUTION
17
B2C
ONTENT
ARKETING
B2C
ONTENT
ARKETING
NCHMARKS, BUDGETS,
AND TRENDS
11TH ANNUAL
18
CONTENT CREATION & DISTRIBUTION
The top three technologies B2C marketers report using to assist with content marketing are analytics tools (85%),
social media publishing/analytics (73%), and email marketing software (71%).
Technologies B2C Organizations Use to
Assist With Content Marketing
73%
71%
53%
43%
39%
24%
85%
0 20 40 60 80 90
Analytics tools (e.g., web analytics, dashboards)
Social media publishing/analytics
Email marketing software
Content creation/collaboration/workflow
Content management system (CMS)
Customer relationship management (CRM) system
Content distribution platform
Base: B2C content marketers. Aided list; multiple responses permitted.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
19
CONTENT CREATION & DISTRIBUTION
73% of B2C marketers say they use keyword research tools for search engine optimization (SEO) during the
content creation process.
Editorial Tools B2C Marketers Use While Creating Content
73%
60%
58%
48%
37%
34%
22%
8%
0 20 40 60 80
Keyword research for search engine optimization (SEO)
Shared docs to collect/track ideas (e.g., Google Docs, Excel)
Editorial calendar
Personas (e.g., buyer, customer, audience)
Writing readability tools (e.g., Grammarly, Hemingway Editor)
Ideation/collaboration/project management platforms
Fact-checking procedures/tools
Other
Base: B2C content marketers. Aided list; multiple responses permitted.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
20
CONTENT CREATION & DISTRIBUTION
The top four types of content B2C marketers report using are blog posts/short articles (83%), email newsletters (74%), videos (pre-
produced) (62%), and infographics/charts/photos (55%).
Notable differences from last year:
	
Virtual events/webinars/online courses increased to 39% from 27%.
	
In-person events decreased to 37% from 50%.
	
Livestreaming content increased to 35% from 13%.
B2C marketers who use at least
two content types reported that
blog posts/short articles, email
newsletters (tied at 26%), and
pre-produced videos (13%) produced
the best overall content marketing
results for their organization in the last
12 months.
Other content types used in last
12 months: Digital magazines (19%),
podcasts (19%), print magazines
(18%), research reports (13%), white
papers (13%), print books (7%), and
other (8%).
Content Types B2C Marketers Used in Last 12 Months
83%
74%
62%
55%
39%
37%
35%
29%
24%
22%
0 20 40 60 80 100
Blog posts/short articles
Email newsletters
Videos (pre-produced)
Infographics/charts/photos
Virtual events/webinars/online courses
In-person events
Videos (livestreaming content)
E-books/guides
Case studies
Long-form text (e.g., articles 3,000+ words)
Base: B2C content marketers. Aided list; multiple responses permitted.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
21
CONTENT CREATION & DISTRIBUTION
48% of B2C marketers indicate their organization has established an online community. Among those who have not,
31% say they are likely to within the next 12 months, while another 45% say they are unlikely to.
Has Your B2C Organization
Established an Online Community?
48%
52%
■ Yes
■ No
How Likely is Your B2C Organization
to Establish an Online Community
in the Next 12 Months?
16%
15%
12%
12%
30%
15%
■ Extremely likely
■ Somewhat likely
■ Neither likely nor unlikely
■ Somewhat unlikely
■ Extremely unlikely
■ Unsure
Base: B2C content marketers.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
Base: B2C content marketers whose organizations have not established an online community.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
22
CONTENT CREATION & DISTRIBUTION
The top three organic content distribution channels B2C marketers report using are social media platforms (82%),
their organization’s website/blog (79%), and email (76%).
Organic Content Distribution Channels
B2C Marketers Used in Last 12 Months
82%
79%
76%
30%
29%
28%
22%
19%
12%
6%
3%
0 20 40 60 80 90
Social media platforms
Their organization’s website/blog
Email
Media/influencer relations
Speaking/presenting at virtual events
Guest posts/articles in third-party publications
Speaking/presenting at in-person events
Guest spots (e.g., podcasts, live videos)
Collaborative social spaces (e.g., Slack, Teams)
Listening platforms (e.g., Audible, Spotify, Apple Podcasts)
Other
Base: B2C content marketers. Aided list; multiple responses permitted.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
23
CONTENT CREATION & DISTRIBUTION
B2C marketers use Facebook as their top organic social media platform for content distribution.
These percentages are similar to last year, with two notable exceptions:
 Instagram increased to 81% from 74%.
 YouTube increased to 72% from 62%.
B2C marketers who use
at least two organic social
media platforms reported
that Facebook (59%) and
Instagram (21%) produced
the best overall content
marketing results for their
organization in the last
12 months.
Other organic social media
platforms used in last 12
months: Pinterest (29%),
Snapchat (10%), Medium
(6%), Quora (5%), Reddit (5%),
TikTok (4%), and other (3%).
Base: B2C content marketers whose organizations used organic social media platforms to distribute content in the last 12 months.
Aided list; multiple responses permitted.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
Organic Social Media Platforms
B2C Content Marketers Used in Last 12 Months
97%
81%
72%
67%
65%
0 20 40 60 80 90 100
Facebook
Instagram
YouTube
Twitter
LinkedIn
24
CONTENT CREATION & DISTRIBUTION
72% of B2C marketers used paid channels to distribute content in the last 12 months, compared with 85% the previous year.
The types used, as well as the proportion of respondents who use each one, are nearly identical to last year’s findings.
Base: B2C content marketers.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021.
Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
Base: B2C content marketers whose organizations used paid content distribution
channels in the last 12 months. Aided list; multiple responses permitted.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021.
Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
Did Your B2C Organization
Use Any Paid Distribution Channels
for Content Marketing Purposes
in the Last 12 Months?
28%
72%
■ Yes
■ No
Paid Content Distribution Channels
B2C Marketers Used in Last 12 Months
91%
68%
50%
42%
40%
23%
2%
Social media advertising/promoted posts
Search engine marketing (SEM)/pay-per-click
Banner ads promoting your content
Sponsorships (e.g., events, booths, workshops)
Native advertising/sponsored content
(not including social media platforms)
Partner emails promoting your content
Other
0 20 40 60 80 100
Of all the paid distribution channels they use, B2C marketers said social media advertising/promoted
posts (45%) and search engine marketing (SEM)/pay-per-click (31%) produced the best overall content
marketing results for their organization in the last 12 months.
25
CONTENT CREATION & DISTRIBUTION
Of the B2C marketers who use paid advertising on social media, the two platforms they use most often are
Facebook (94%) and Instagram (58%).
Other paid social media
platforms used in last 12
months: Pinterest (12%),
Quora (3%), Snapchat (3%),
Reddit (2%), TikTok (2%), and
other (5%).
Base: B2C content marketers whose organizations used paid social media platforms to distribute content in the last 12 months. Aided list; multiple responses permitted.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
Paid Social Media Platforms
B2C Content Marketers Used in Last 12 Months
80% 94%
58%
33%
26%
26%
Facebook
Instagram
YouTube
LinkedIn
Twitter
0 20 40 60 80 100
METRICS,
GOALS &
OVERALL
SUCCESS
26
B2C
ONTENT
ARKETING
B2C
ONTENT
ARKETING
NCHMARKS, BUDGETS,
AND TRENDS
11TH ANNUAL
27
METRICS, GOALS & OVERALL SUCCESS
77% of B2C marketers report their organization uses metrics to measure content performance. Website traffic (87%) is
the metric they use most often.
Does Your B2C Organization
Use Metrics to Measure
Content Performance?
13%
77%
10%
■ Yes
■ No
■ Unsure
Base: B2C content marketers.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021.
Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
Base: B2C content marketers whose organizations use metrics to measure content performance.
Aided list; multiple responses permitted.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
Metrics B2C Organizations Tracked to
Measure Content Performance in Last 12 Months
87%
81%
79%
79%
78%
57%
56%
40%
33%
12%
1%
0 20 40 60 80 90
Website traffic
(e.g., page views, backlinks)
Social media analytics
(e.g., time spent, views, shares)
Email engagement
(e.g., opens, clicks, downloads)
Website engagement (e.g., time spent,
bounce rate, form completions)
Conversions (e.g., traffic to
subscribers, leads to sales)
Search rankings
Email subscriber numbers
(e.g., growth, unsubscribes)
Cost to acquire a lead, subscriber,
and/or customer
PR mentions/media coverage
Marketing qualified lead metrics
(e.g., MQLs, SQLs)
Other
28
B2C marketers continue to report using content marketing successfully to reach numerous goals.
Notable differences from last year:
 Build credibility/trust increased to 76% from 65%.
 Build loyalty with existing clients/customers increased to 70% from 55%.
 Build a subscribed audience increased to 55% from 38%.
All Respondents
As Reported
One Year Ago*
As Reported
Two Years Ago**
Create brand awareness 81% 84% 79%
Build credibility/trust 76% 65% 67%
Educate audience(s) 71% 75% 65%
Build loyalty with existing clients/customers 70% 55% 63%
Build a subscribed audience 55% 38% 45%
Generate sales/revenue 54% 48% 52%
Generate demand/leads 52% 61% 57%
Nurture subscribers/audiences/leads 48% 49% 42%
Support the launch of a new product 44% 51% 40%
Drive attendance to one or more in-person or virtual events 37% 36% 33%
*See B2C Content Marketing 2020: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends
**See B2C Content Marketing 2019: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends
Base: B2C content marketers. Aided list; multiple responses permitted.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
Goals B2C Marketers Have Achieved by Using
Content Marketing Successfully in Last 12 Months
METRICS, GOALS & OVERALL SUCCESS
29
34% of B2C marketers say their organization was extremely or very successful with content marketing in the last 12
months; another 49% say it was moderately successful.
Base: B2C content marketers; aided list. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021.
Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
How B2C Marketers Rate
Their Organization’s Overall Level of
Content Marketing Success in Last 12 Months
28%
49%
16%
6%
1%
■ Extremely successful
■ Very successful
■ Moderately successful
■ Minimally successful
■ Not at all successful
METRICS, GOALS & OVERALL SUCCESS
30
B2C marketers who reported high levels of content marketing success (extremely/very successful) said the top two
factors contributing to that success were the value their content provides (77%) and website changes (59%).
Factors B2C Marketers Attribute to Their Organization’s
Content Marketing Success in Last 12 Months
77%
59%
49%
37%
35%
27%
15%
5%
0 20 40 60 80
The value our content provides
Website changes (e.g., new content)
Search rankings
Strategy changes
Changing buyer/consumer behaviors (e.g., more time on internet)
Earned media (e.g., PR mentions, media coverage)
Changing our products/services
Other
Base: B2C content marketers whose organizations were extremely/very successful with content
marketing in the last 12 months. Aided list; multiple responses permitted.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
METRICS, GOALS & OVERALL SUCCESS
BUDGETS
& SPENDING
31
B2C
ONTENT
ARKETING
B2C
ONTENT
ARKETING
NCHMARKS, BUDGETS,
AND TRENDS
11TH ANNUAL
32
BUDGETS & SPENDING
Most respondents went into 2020 with a content marketing budget. As 2020 progressed toward the midpoint,
one-third of B2C respondents decreased their content marketing spending, but 50% made no change.
Base: B2C content marketers. Aided list.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
Base: B2C content marketers.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
2020 Annual Budget for B2C
Content Marketing: Pre-Pandemic (Average)
21%
41%
3%
3%
4%
29%
■ Less than $100,000
■ $100,000 to under $500,000
■ $500,000 to under $750,000
■ $750,000 to under $1,000,000
■ $1,000,000 or more
■ We didn’t have a content marketing
budget established for 2020
Note: The question read: “Prior to the pandemic, approximately how much
had your organization budgeted for 2020 content marketing (not including
salaries), in U.S. dollars?”
Change in B2C Content
Marketing Spending in
H1 2020 in Response to Pandemic
50%
33%
17% ■ No change in our spending
on content marketing
■ Decreased our spending
on content marketing
■ Increased our spending on
content marketing
33
BUDGETS & SPENDING
The majority of B2C respondents expected to spend about the same on content marketing during the second half of
2020 as they did during the first half.
B2C Marketers’ Estimated Change
in Content Marketing Spending:
H2 2020 vs. H1 2020
54%
19%
27% ■ Increase
■ Stay the same
■ Decrease
Base: B2C content marketers.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
34
BUDGETS & SPENDING
30% said their B2C organization had shifted traditional paid advertising dollars to content marketing in the
last 12 months.
Base: B2C content marketers.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
Did Your B2C Organization
Shift Paid Advertising Dollars to
Content Marketing in the Last 12 Months?
30%
33%
22%
15%
■ Yes
■ No
■ Unsure
■ We haven’t spent on traditional
advertising in the last 12 months
INSIGHTS
FOR 2021
35
B2C
ONTENT
ARKETING
B2C
ONTENT
ARKETING
NCHMARKS, BUDGETS,
AND TRENDS
11TH ANNUAL
36
INSIGHTS FOR 2021
67% of B2C marketers felt the pandemic would have a major or moderate long-term impact on their organization’s
overall content marketing success.
Base: B2C content marketers.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
Long-Term Impact B2C Marketers Think Pandemic
Will Have on Their Organization’s Content Marketing Success
19%
48%
23%
5%
6%
■ Major
■ Moderate
■ Slight
■ None
■ Unsure
37
INSIGHTS FOR 2021
B2C respondents predict the top content marketing areas their organizations will invest in during 2021 are content
creation (61%), social media management/community building (54%), and website enhancements (53%).
Top 5 Areas of Content Marketing B2C Marketers
Think Their Organization Will Invest in During 2021
61%
54%
53%
43%
40%
36%
31%
30%
27%
25%
18%
2%
0 20 40 60 80
Content creation
Social media management/community building
Website enhancements
Content distribution – organic/nonpaid
Customer experience
Getting to know audiences better
(e.g., personas, social listening, research)
Content distribution – paid
Events (digital, in-person, hybrid)
Earned media (PR/media/influencer relations)
Content marketing-related technologies
Staffing/human resources
Other
Base: B2C content marketers. Aided list; maximum of five responses permitted.
B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
38
INSIGHTS FOR 2021
Stop Waiting For The New
Normal—We’re Already In It
Welcome to 2021. You know, we spent
so much time in 2020 struggling for an
answer to “what now,” that it seemed
impossible to plan for 2021. And now we’re all wondering
if 2021 is simply a replay of last year.
What can we do, then? We often mistakenly believe that
“what now” means we should take the experiences we had
in 2020 and try to predict the new normal future. Will it be
summer when we get back to normal? Will the vaccines
help? Will the economy improve? We often plan our “what
now” road map based on an assumption that our previous
experience helps us to see around corners.
Spoiler alert: No one really knows what will happen.
What we do know is that as B2C marketers, developing
direct relationships with consumers will increasingly
depend on great digital experiences. So, we can start
planning with a self-assessment of our content marketing
plan. Remember that answering “what now” is not trying
to plan for “what’s next.” Look at all the things that
evolved this past year. What things do you want to keep?
What do you want to change? What should you and your
team stop doing? Then, with those things in mind, ask
yourself how you and your team might change to prepare
for whatever comes next.
Content Marketing Is Cool—But Content
Operations Make It Work
As 2021 begins, we’re seeing more B2C businesses begin to
in-source many elements of content creation, production,
and management, particularly within large companies.
ACTION STEPS FOR MOVING FORWARD
By Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Advisor, CMI
(continued on next page)
39
INSIGHTS FOR 2021
This move to “in-house” services, however, is fueling a
broader evolution in building a more creative and media-
fluent service to the overall business.
As content marketers, it’s not enough to just understand
how to create blogs, infographics, or other media assets.
We need to understand how content operations work at
scale. That means understanding technology, governance,
and how to structure content so that it can be reused,
repackaged, and leveraged across silos.
It won’t be long before your business starts looking hard
at how to make content more efficient—and measurable
at scale. Content marketers that have skill sets and
knowledge beyond just creating powerful content will be
ready to evolve and lead that charge.
Get Your Audience Data Plan Together
Customer data is going to become an increasingly
precious commodity. As we saw from this year’s research,
“building credibility and trust” is a huge goal for content
marketing now. You’ll need the data in order to know
where and how to be trustworthy. But you’ll need to be
trustworthy in order to get the data. If that sounds like a
Catch-22, it is. But delivering value to audiences before
they become customers is the way out of it.
If you’re looking for measurability, there will be no other
foundational element as important as connecting your
content marketing experiences and being able to have
a 360-degree view into the audience you are engaging.
This includes, of course, the data that customers willingly,
trustingly, and emotionally give to you as part of that
program. This is what Forrester calls “Zero Party Data.”
We just call it building an audience.
40
METHODOLOGY & DEMOGRAPHICS
This report is based on the results of the Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs 11th Annual Content Marketing Survey. The online survey was emailed to a sample of marketers using lists from
CMI and MarketingProfs. A total of 1,707 recipients from around the globe—representing a range of industries, functional areas, and company sizes—replied to the survey in July 2020. This report
presents the findings from the 233 respondents who indicated:
 Their organization is a for-profit B2C company, with the majority (66%) based in North America.
 Their organization has used content marketing for at least one year.
 They are a content marketer, involved with the content marketing function, and/or someone to whom content marketing reports.
Note: In instances where we observed notable year-over-year differences, this report contains comparisons with findings from last year’s 10th annual survey—reported on in B2C Content Marketing
2020: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends. Some percentages shown in this report do not total 100%, due to rounding.
Find all our past research at ContentMarketingInstitute.com/research.
B2C Industry
Classification
Size of B2C Company
(by Employees)
B2C Content Marketing
Job Function
■ Small (10-99 employees)
■ Micro(fewerthan10employees)
■ Medium (100-999 employees)
■ Large (1,000+ employees)
■ Senior leadership (e.g., CEO, owner, CMO, VP, GM)
■ Marketing management
■ Content creation/content management
■ Marketing operations
■ Advertising/PR/comm management
■ Sales/business management
■ Other
14%
15%
12%
11%
21%
31%
26%
22%
9%
9%
6%
7%
6%
5%
20%
29%
26%
23%
6%
5%
4% 7%
■ Retail/e-commerce
■ Financial services/banking/insurance
■ Agency (content marketing, advertising, digital, PR)
■ Healthcare/med/pharma/life sciences
■ Travel/tourism/hospitality
■ Manufacturing
■ Education
■ Professional services
■ Technology/IT/software/hardware
■ Other
41
Thanks to all the survey participants who made this research possible and to everyone who helps disseminate
these findings throughout the content marketing industry.
About Content Marketing Institute
Content Marketing Institute is the leading global content marketing education and training organization, teaching enterprise brands how to attract
and retain customers through compelling, multichannel storytelling. CMI’s Content Marketing World event, the largest content marketing-focused
event, is held every fall in Cleveland, Ohio, and ContentTECH Summit event is held every spring in San Diego, California. CMI publishes Chief Content
Officer for executives and provides strategic consulting and content marketing research for some of the best-known brands in the world. Content
Marketing Institute is organized by Informa Connect. Learn more at ContentMarketingInstitute.com
About Informa Connect
Informa Connect is a specialist in content-driven events and digital communities that allow professionals to meet, connect, learn, and share
knowledge. We operate major branded events in Marketing, Global Finance, Life Sciences and Pharma, Construction and Real Estate, and other
specialist markets, and connect communities online year-round.
About MarketingProfs
MarketingProfs is a business-to-business marketing education company—a growing community of more than 550,000+ marketers who aspire
to learn, connect, and lead. Its training and education programs include webcasts, master classes, workshops, and its flagship event, the
MarketingProfs B2B Forum. And its community offers the support and networking modern marketers need—as a department of 1 or 1,000. Learn
more at MarketingProfs.com.
ABOUT

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B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks and Trends for 2021

  • 2. 2 SURVEY TERM DEFINITIONS Content marketing: A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. Success: Achieving your organization’s desired/ targeted results. Note: In instances where we observed notable year-over-year differences, this report contains comparisons with findings from last year’s 10th annual survey—reported on in B2C Content Marketing 2020: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends. TABLE OF CONTENTS m INTRODUCTION......................................................................... 3 m KEY FINDINGS............................................................................. 4 m MATURITY & STRATEGY.............................................................. 5 m TEAM STRUCTURE & OUTSOURCING........................................ 10 m CONTENT CREATION & DISTRIBUTION..................................... 17 m METRICS, GOALS & OVERALL SUCCESS.................................... 26 m BUDGETS & SPENDING............................................................. 31 m INSIGHTS FOR 2021.................................................................. 35 m METHODOLOGY........................................................................ 40 m ABOUT...................................................................................... 41 ANN HANDLEY Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs LISA MURTON BEETS Research Director/ Report Author, CMI STEPHANIE STAHL General Manager, CMI ROBERT ROSE Chief Strategy Advisor, CMI KIM MOUTSOS VP Content, CMI CATHY McPHILLIPS VP Marketing, CMI JOSEPH “JK” KALINOWSKI Creative Director, CMI
  • 3. 3 INTRODUCTION Welcome to our annual B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report. Here we present the results from B2C marketers who replied to our 11th Annual Content Marketing Survey. The events of 2020 have certainly reshaped how organizations conduct their marketing. At the time of this survey, content marketers were still reeling from the events that took place during the first half of 2020. As we usher in 2021, we are still facing constant change and uncertainty. Many B2C marketers reported adjusting quickly when the pandemic hit; perhaps their companies were doubling down on digital, heavily engaging in virtual events, or trying to keep on top of rapidly changing analytics resulting from more people being at home and online. All these scenarios created the need for new content, formats, and strategies. As we move into 2021 in a world where most gatherings are still limited, direct-to-consumer will continue to drive B2C. Successful B2C marketers will focus on creating content experiences and building relationships in the digital world. 3
  • 4. 4 B2C content marketers are becoming more strategic. Seventy-three percent of respondents report their organization has a content marketing strategy. Of those, 42% have a documented strategy, up from 33% the previous year. See page 7. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• They responded quickly when the pandemic hit. Eighty-two percent agree their organization made quick changes due to the pandemic. The top reported adjustment was “changed our targeting/messaging strategy” (63%). See pages 8 and 9. Many have small content marketing teams. Consistent with our past research, 52% report their organization has a small (or one- person) marketing/content marketing team serving the entire organization. See page 13. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Livestreaming video saw a big jump in use. When we looked at the content types B2C marketers are using compared with one year ago, livestreaming video had the biggest increase (35% vs. 13% the previous year). See page 20. Nearly half have established online communities. Forty-eight percent say their organization has established an online community. The survey defined an online community as a space where your audience can engage with each other and your brand in the form of discussions, posts, surveys, etc. See page 21. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Facebook is the top social media platform. Facebook is the social media platform that B2C marketers use most often (both organic and paid). That was also the case last year. The use of organic Instagram and YouTube increased over last year, by seven and 10 percentage points, respectively. See pages 23 and 25. KEY FINDINGS
  • 6. 6 41% of B2C marketers report their organization is in the sophisticated/mature phase of content marketing maturity. SOPHISTICATED Providing accurate measurement to the business, scaling across the organization MATURE Finding success, yet challenged with integration across the organization ADOLESCENT Possessing a business case, seeing early success, becoming more sophisticated with measurement and scaling YOUNG Experiencing growing pains, challenged with creating a cohesive strategy and a measurement plan FIRST STEPS Doing some aspects of content, but have not yet begun to make content marketing a process How B2C Marketers Rate Their Organization’s Content Marketing Maturity Level 12% 7% 28% 24% 29% ■ Sophisticated ■ Mature ■ Adolescent ■ Young ■ First Steps Base: B2C content marketers. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020. MATURITY & STRATEGY
  • 7. 7 MATURITY & STRATEGY 42% of B2C marketers indicate their organization has a documented content marketing strategy, up from 33% the previous year.  68% report their organization made major or moderate adjustments to their content marketing strategy in response to the pandemic.  51% describe the adjustments as both short- and long-term. Percentage of B2C Marketers With a Content Marketing Strategy 22% 42% 6% 31% ■ Yes, and it is documented ■ Yes, but it is not documented ■ No, but plan to within 12 months ■ No, with no plans Base: B2C content marketers. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020 Nature of Adjustments Made to B2C Content Marketing Strategy as a Result of Pandemic 34% 51% 6% 9% ■ Short-term adjustments ■ Long-term adjustments ■ Both short- and long-term adjustments ■ Unsure Base: B2C content marketers whose organizations adjusted their strategy in response to the pandemic. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020. Impact of Pandemic on B2C Content Marketing Strategy 27% 26% 5% 42% ■ Major ■ Moderate ■ Slight ■ None Base: B2C content marketers whose organizations have a content marketing strategy. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
  • 8. 8 MATURITY & STRATEGY Most B2C marketers surveyed agree their organization made quick and effective pandemic-related changes and expect the changes to stay in effect for the foreseeable future. Base: B2C content marketers who answered each statement. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020. Our organization made quick changes due to the pandemic. Our organization made effective changes due to the pandemic. We expect some of the changes we made to stay in effect for the foreseeable future. 0 20 40 60 80 100 ■ Strongly agree ■ Somewhat agree ■ Neither agree nor disagree ■ Somewhat disagree ■ Strongly disagree 46% 38% 36% 48% 42% 11% 36% 9% 6% 7% 2% 3% 12% 3% 1% B2C Marketers’ Opinions About Changes Their Organization Made to Content Marketing in Response to Pandemic
  • 9. 9 MATURITY & STRATEGY 63% of B2C marketers surveyed changed their messaging/targeting strategy in response to the pandemic. Far fewer took actions such as revisiting customer personas (18%) and changing their content marketing metrics (13%). Content Marketing Changes B2C Organizations Made in Response to the Pandemic 63% 54% 46% 43% 37% 34% 26% 25% 23% 18% 13% 0 20 40 60 80 Changed targeting/messaging strategy Adjusted editorial calendar Changed content distribution/promotion strategy Put more resources toward social media/online communities Changed website Reexamined customer journey Increased time spent talking with customers Changed our products/services Adjusted key performance indicators (KPIs) Revisited customer/buyer personas Changed content marketing metrics (e.g., set up new analytics/dashboards) Base: B2C content marketers whose organizations made at least one of the changes shown on the aided list. Multiple responses permitted. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
  • 11. 11 TEAM STRUCTURE & OUTSOURCING 60% of all respondents said the size of their content marketing team was the same as 12 months ago. Around one- third of those from large organizations reported an increase. All Respondents 1-99 Employees 100+ Employees Increased 27% 21% 34% Stayed the same 60% 67% 52% Decreased 13% 13% 15% Base: B2C content marketers. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020. Size of B2C Content Marketing Team Compared With 12 Months Ago
  • 12. 12 TEAM STRUCTURE & OUTSOURCING Large B2C organizations tend to have bigger content marketing teams, often in the two- to five-employee range. B2C Organizations’ Content Marketing Team Size (Full Time/Dedicated to Content Marketing) All Respondents 1-99 Employees 100+ Employees 11+ 7% 2% 13% 6-10 6% 3% 10% 2-5 37% 31% 42% 1 25% 29% 20% 0 (no one is full time, dedicated) 26% 36% 15% Base: B2C content marketers. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
  • 13. 13 TEAM STRUCTURE & OUTSOURCING Half of the B2C marketers surveyed report small (or one-person) marketing/content marketing teams serving the entire organization. B2C Organizations’ Content Marketing Team Structure All Respondents 1-99 Employees 100+ Employees We have a small (or one-person) marketing/content marketing team serving the entire organization. 52% 70% 32% We have a centralized content marketing group that works with multiple brands/products/departments throughout the organization. 23% 17% 30% Both — We have a centralized group and individual teams throughout the organization. 20% 10% 31% Each brand/product/department has its own content marketing team. 5% 3% 7% Base: B2C content marketers. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
  • 14. 14 TEAM STRUCTURE & OUTSOURCING 49% of B2C marketers report their organization outsources at least one content marketing activity, with large companies being more likely to outsource. Does Your B2C Organization Outsource Any Content Marketing Activities? All Respondents 1-99 Employees 100+ Employees Yes 49% 42% 56% No 51% 58% 44% Base: B2C content marketers. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
  • 15. 15 TEAM STRUCTURE & OUTSOURCING Among those who outsource, content creation is the activity most outsourced by far. Base: B2C content marketers whose organizations outsource at least one content marketing activity. Aided list; multiple responses permitted. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020. Content Marketing Activities B2C Organizations Outsource 75% 40% 27% 25% 23% 23% 7% 0 20 40 60 80 Content creation Content distribution Measurement Content strategy Content technology Editorial planning Other
  • 16. 16 TEAM STRUCTURE & OUTSOURCING B2C marketers who outsource at least one content marketing activity say their biggest challenges are budget issues (52%) and finding partners with adequate topic expertise (52%). Top 5 Challenges When Seeking Outsourced B2C Content Marketing Help 52% 52% 45% 43% 33% 28% 20% 14% 7% 0 20 40 60 Budget issues Finding partners with adequate topic expertise Finding partners who understand/are able to empathize with our audience Lack of clear return on investment (ROI) metrics Finding partners who can provide adequate strategic advice Lack of integration with our organization’s process/tools Lack of comprehensive solutions from one partner Finding partners who consistently deliver on time Other Base: B2C content marketers whose organizations outsource at least one content marketing activity. Aided list; up to five responses permitted. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
  • 18. 18 CONTENT CREATION & DISTRIBUTION The top three technologies B2C marketers report using to assist with content marketing are analytics tools (85%), social media publishing/analytics (73%), and email marketing software (71%). Technologies B2C Organizations Use to Assist With Content Marketing 73% 71% 53% 43% 39% 24% 85% 0 20 40 60 80 90 Analytics tools (e.g., web analytics, dashboards) Social media publishing/analytics Email marketing software Content creation/collaboration/workflow Content management system (CMS) Customer relationship management (CRM) system Content distribution platform Base: B2C content marketers. Aided list; multiple responses permitted. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
  • 19. 19 CONTENT CREATION & DISTRIBUTION 73% of B2C marketers say they use keyword research tools for search engine optimization (SEO) during the content creation process. Editorial Tools B2C Marketers Use While Creating Content 73% 60% 58% 48% 37% 34% 22% 8% 0 20 40 60 80 Keyword research for search engine optimization (SEO) Shared docs to collect/track ideas (e.g., Google Docs, Excel) Editorial calendar Personas (e.g., buyer, customer, audience) Writing readability tools (e.g., Grammarly, Hemingway Editor) Ideation/collaboration/project management platforms Fact-checking procedures/tools Other Base: B2C content marketers. Aided list; multiple responses permitted. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
  • 20. 20 CONTENT CREATION & DISTRIBUTION The top four types of content B2C marketers report using are blog posts/short articles (83%), email newsletters (74%), videos (pre- produced) (62%), and infographics/charts/photos (55%). Notable differences from last year:  Virtual events/webinars/online courses increased to 39% from 27%.  In-person events decreased to 37% from 50%.  Livestreaming content increased to 35% from 13%. B2C marketers who use at least two content types reported that blog posts/short articles, email newsletters (tied at 26%), and pre-produced videos (13%) produced the best overall content marketing results for their organization in the last 12 months. Other content types used in last 12 months: Digital magazines (19%), podcasts (19%), print magazines (18%), research reports (13%), white papers (13%), print books (7%), and other (8%). Content Types B2C Marketers Used in Last 12 Months 83% 74% 62% 55% 39% 37% 35% 29% 24% 22% 0 20 40 60 80 100 Blog posts/short articles Email newsletters Videos (pre-produced) Infographics/charts/photos Virtual events/webinars/online courses In-person events Videos (livestreaming content) E-books/guides Case studies Long-form text (e.g., articles 3,000+ words) Base: B2C content marketers. Aided list; multiple responses permitted. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
  • 21. 21 CONTENT CREATION & DISTRIBUTION 48% of B2C marketers indicate their organization has established an online community. Among those who have not, 31% say they are likely to within the next 12 months, while another 45% say they are unlikely to. Has Your B2C Organization Established an Online Community? 48% 52% ■ Yes ■ No How Likely is Your B2C Organization to Establish an Online Community in the Next 12 Months? 16% 15% 12% 12% 30% 15% ■ Extremely likely ■ Somewhat likely ■ Neither likely nor unlikely ■ Somewhat unlikely ■ Extremely unlikely ■ Unsure Base: B2C content marketers. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020. Base: B2C content marketers whose organizations have not established an online community. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
  • 22. 22 CONTENT CREATION & DISTRIBUTION The top three organic content distribution channels B2C marketers report using are social media platforms (82%), their organization’s website/blog (79%), and email (76%). Organic Content Distribution Channels B2C Marketers Used in Last 12 Months 82% 79% 76% 30% 29% 28% 22% 19% 12% 6% 3% 0 20 40 60 80 90 Social media platforms Their organization’s website/blog Email Media/influencer relations Speaking/presenting at virtual events Guest posts/articles in third-party publications Speaking/presenting at in-person events Guest spots (e.g., podcasts, live videos) Collaborative social spaces (e.g., Slack, Teams) Listening platforms (e.g., Audible, Spotify, Apple Podcasts) Other Base: B2C content marketers. Aided list; multiple responses permitted. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
  • 23. 23 CONTENT CREATION & DISTRIBUTION B2C marketers use Facebook as their top organic social media platform for content distribution. These percentages are similar to last year, with two notable exceptions:  Instagram increased to 81% from 74%.  YouTube increased to 72% from 62%. B2C marketers who use at least two organic social media platforms reported that Facebook (59%) and Instagram (21%) produced the best overall content marketing results for their organization in the last 12 months. Other organic social media platforms used in last 12 months: Pinterest (29%), Snapchat (10%), Medium (6%), Quora (5%), Reddit (5%), TikTok (4%), and other (3%). Base: B2C content marketers whose organizations used organic social media platforms to distribute content in the last 12 months. Aided list; multiple responses permitted. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020. Organic Social Media Platforms B2C Content Marketers Used in Last 12 Months 97% 81% 72% 67% 65% 0 20 40 60 80 90 100 Facebook Instagram YouTube Twitter LinkedIn
  • 24. 24 CONTENT CREATION & DISTRIBUTION 72% of B2C marketers used paid channels to distribute content in the last 12 months, compared with 85% the previous year. The types used, as well as the proportion of respondents who use each one, are nearly identical to last year’s findings. Base: B2C content marketers. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020. Base: B2C content marketers whose organizations used paid content distribution channels in the last 12 months. Aided list; multiple responses permitted. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020. Did Your B2C Organization Use Any Paid Distribution Channels for Content Marketing Purposes in the Last 12 Months? 28% 72% ■ Yes ■ No Paid Content Distribution Channels B2C Marketers Used in Last 12 Months 91% 68% 50% 42% 40% 23% 2% Social media advertising/promoted posts Search engine marketing (SEM)/pay-per-click Banner ads promoting your content Sponsorships (e.g., events, booths, workshops) Native advertising/sponsored content (not including social media platforms) Partner emails promoting your content Other 0 20 40 60 80 100 Of all the paid distribution channels they use, B2C marketers said social media advertising/promoted posts (45%) and search engine marketing (SEM)/pay-per-click (31%) produced the best overall content marketing results for their organization in the last 12 months.
  • 25. 25 CONTENT CREATION & DISTRIBUTION Of the B2C marketers who use paid advertising on social media, the two platforms they use most often are Facebook (94%) and Instagram (58%). Other paid social media platforms used in last 12 months: Pinterest (12%), Quora (3%), Snapchat (3%), Reddit (2%), TikTok (2%), and other (5%). Base: B2C content marketers whose organizations used paid social media platforms to distribute content in the last 12 months. Aided list; multiple responses permitted. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020. Paid Social Media Platforms B2C Content Marketers Used in Last 12 Months 80% 94% 58% 33% 26% 26% Facebook Instagram YouTube LinkedIn Twitter 0 20 40 60 80 100
  • 27. 27 METRICS, GOALS & OVERALL SUCCESS 77% of B2C marketers report their organization uses metrics to measure content performance. Website traffic (87%) is the metric they use most often. Does Your B2C Organization Use Metrics to Measure Content Performance? 13% 77% 10% ■ Yes ■ No ■ Unsure Base: B2C content marketers. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020. Base: B2C content marketers whose organizations use metrics to measure content performance. Aided list; multiple responses permitted. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020. Metrics B2C Organizations Tracked to Measure Content Performance in Last 12 Months 87% 81% 79% 79% 78% 57% 56% 40% 33% 12% 1% 0 20 40 60 80 90 Website traffic (e.g., page views, backlinks) Social media analytics (e.g., time spent, views, shares) Email engagement (e.g., opens, clicks, downloads) Website engagement (e.g., time spent, bounce rate, form completions) Conversions (e.g., traffic to subscribers, leads to sales) Search rankings Email subscriber numbers (e.g., growth, unsubscribes) Cost to acquire a lead, subscriber, and/or customer PR mentions/media coverage Marketing qualified lead metrics (e.g., MQLs, SQLs) Other
  • 28. 28 B2C marketers continue to report using content marketing successfully to reach numerous goals. Notable differences from last year:  Build credibility/trust increased to 76% from 65%.  Build loyalty with existing clients/customers increased to 70% from 55%.  Build a subscribed audience increased to 55% from 38%. All Respondents As Reported One Year Ago* As Reported Two Years Ago** Create brand awareness 81% 84% 79% Build credibility/trust 76% 65% 67% Educate audience(s) 71% 75% 65% Build loyalty with existing clients/customers 70% 55% 63% Build a subscribed audience 55% 38% 45% Generate sales/revenue 54% 48% 52% Generate demand/leads 52% 61% 57% Nurture subscribers/audiences/leads 48% 49% 42% Support the launch of a new product 44% 51% 40% Drive attendance to one or more in-person or virtual events 37% 36% 33% *See B2C Content Marketing 2020: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends **See B2C Content Marketing 2019: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends Base: B2C content marketers. Aided list; multiple responses permitted. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020. Goals B2C Marketers Have Achieved by Using Content Marketing Successfully in Last 12 Months METRICS, GOALS & OVERALL SUCCESS
  • 29. 29 34% of B2C marketers say their organization was extremely or very successful with content marketing in the last 12 months; another 49% say it was moderately successful. Base: B2C content marketers; aided list. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020. How B2C Marketers Rate Their Organization’s Overall Level of Content Marketing Success in Last 12 Months 28% 49% 16% 6% 1% ■ Extremely successful ■ Very successful ■ Moderately successful ■ Minimally successful ■ Not at all successful METRICS, GOALS & OVERALL SUCCESS
  • 30. 30 B2C marketers who reported high levels of content marketing success (extremely/very successful) said the top two factors contributing to that success were the value their content provides (77%) and website changes (59%). Factors B2C Marketers Attribute to Their Organization’s Content Marketing Success in Last 12 Months 77% 59% 49% 37% 35% 27% 15% 5% 0 20 40 60 80 The value our content provides Website changes (e.g., new content) Search rankings Strategy changes Changing buyer/consumer behaviors (e.g., more time on internet) Earned media (e.g., PR mentions, media coverage) Changing our products/services Other Base: B2C content marketers whose organizations were extremely/very successful with content marketing in the last 12 months. Aided list; multiple responses permitted. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020. METRICS, GOALS & OVERALL SUCCESS
  • 32. 32 BUDGETS & SPENDING Most respondents went into 2020 with a content marketing budget. As 2020 progressed toward the midpoint, one-third of B2C respondents decreased their content marketing spending, but 50% made no change. Base: B2C content marketers. Aided list. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020. Base: B2C content marketers. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020. 2020 Annual Budget for B2C Content Marketing: Pre-Pandemic (Average) 21% 41% 3% 3% 4% 29% ■ Less than $100,000 ■ $100,000 to under $500,000 ■ $500,000 to under $750,000 ■ $750,000 to under $1,000,000 ■ $1,000,000 or more ■ We didn’t have a content marketing budget established for 2020 Note: The question read: “Prior to the pandemic, approximately how much had your organization budgeted for 2020 content marketing (not including salaries), in U.S. dollars?” Change in B2C Content Marketing Spending in H1 2020 in Response to Pandemic 50% 33% 17% ■ No change in our spending on content marketing ■ Decreased our spending on content marketing ■ Increased our spending on content marketing
  • 33. 33 BUDGETS & SPENDING The majority of B2C respondents expected to spend about the same on content marketing during the second half of 2020 as they did during the first half. B2C Marketers’ Estimated Change in Content Marketing Spending: H2 2020 vs. H1 2020 54% 19% 27% ■ Increase ■ Stay the same ■ Decrease Base: B2C content marketers. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
  • 34. 34 BUDGETS & SPENDING 30% said their B2C organization had shifted traditional paid advertising dollars to content marketing in the last 12 months. Base: B2C content marketers. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020. Did Your B2C Organization Shift Paid Advertising Dollars to Content Marketing in the Last 12 Months? 30% 33% 22% 15% ■ Yes ■ No ■ Unsure ■ We haven’t spent on traditional advertising in the last 12 months
  • 36. 36 INSIGHTS FOR 2021 67% of B2C marketers felt the pandemic would have a major or moderate long-term impact on their organization’s overall content marketing success. Base: B2C content marketers. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020. Long-Term Impact B2C Marketers Think Pandemic Will Have on Their Organization’s Content Marketing Success 19% 48% 23% 5% 6% ■ Major ■ Moderate ■ Slight ■ None ■ Unsure
  • 37. 37 INSIGHTS FOR 2021 B2C respondents predict the top content marketing areas their organizations will invest in during 2021 are content creation (61%), social media management/community building (54%), and website enhancements (53%). Top 5 Areas of Content Marketing B2C Marketers Think Their Organization Will Invest in During 2021 61% 54% 53% 43% 40% 36% 31% 30% 27% 25% 18% 2% 0 20 40 60 80 Content creation Social media management/community building Website enhancements Content distribution – organic/nonpaid Customer experience Getting to know audiences better (e.g., personas, social listening, research) Content distribution – paid Events (digital, in-person, hybrid) Earned media (PR/media/influencer relations) Content marketing-related technologies Staffing/human resources Other Base: B2C content marketers. Aided list; maximum of five responses permitted. B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Insights for 2021. Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, July 2020.
  • 38. 38 INSIGHTS FOR 2021 Stop Waiting For The New Normal—We’re Already In It Welcome to 2021. You know, we spent so much time in 2020 struggling for an answer to “what now,” that it seemed impossible to plan for 2021. And now we’re all wondering if 2021 is simply a replay of last year. What can we do, then? We often mistakenly believe that “what now” means we should take the experiences we had in 2020 and try to predict the new normal future. Will it be summer when we get back to normal? Will the vaccines help? Will the economy improve? We often plan our “what now” road map based on an assumption that our previous experience helps us to see around corners. Spoiler alert: No one really knows what will happen. What we do know is that as B2C marketers, developing direct relationships with consumers will increasingly depend on great digital experiences. So, we can start planning with a self-assessment of our content marketing plan. Remember that answering “what now” is not trying to plan for “what’s next.” Look at all the things that evolved this past year. What things do you want to keep? What do you want to change? What should you and your team stop doing? Then, with those things in mind, ask yourself how you and your team might change to prepare for whatever comes next. Content Marketing Is Cool—But Content Operations Make It Work As 2021 begins, we’re seeing more B2C businesses begin to in-source many elements of content creation, production, and management, particularly within large companies. ACTION STEPS FOR MOVING FORWARD By Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Advisor, CMI (continued on next page)
  • 39. 39 INSIGHTS FOR 2021 This move to “in-house” services, however, is fueling a broader evolution in building a more creative and media- fluent service to the overall business. As content marketers, it’s not enough to just understand how to create blogs, infographics, or other media assets. We need to understand how content operations work at scale. That means understanding technology, governance, and how to structure content so that it can be reused, repackaged, and leveraged across silos. It won’t be long before your business starts looking hard at how to make content more efficient—and measurable at scale. Content marketers that have skill sets and knowledge beyond just creating powerful content will be ready to evolve and lead that charge. Get Your Audience Data Plan Together Customer data is going to become an increasingly precious commodity. As we saw from this year’s research, “building credibility and trust” is a huge goal for content marketing now. You’ll need the data in order to know where and how to be trustworthy. But you’ll need to be trustworthy in order to get the data. If that sounds like a Catch-22, it is. But delivering value to audiences before they become customers is the way out of it. If you’re looking for measurability, there will be no other foundational element as important as connecting your content marketing experiences and being able to have a 360-degree view into the audience you are engaging. This includes, of course, the data that customers willingly, trustingly, and emotionally give to you as part of that program. This is what Forrester calls “Zero Party Data.” We just call it building an audience.
  • 40. 40 METHODOLOGY & DEMOGRAPHICS This report is based on the results of the Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs 11th Annual Content Marketing Survey. The online survey was emailed to a sample of marketers using lists from CMI and MarketingProfs. A total of 1,707 recipients from around the globe—representing a range of industries, functional areas, and company sizes—replied to the survey in July 2020. This report presents the findings from the 233 respondents who indicated:  Their organization is a for-profit B2C company, with the majority (66%) based in North America.  Their organization has used content marketing for at least one year.  They are a content marketer, involved with the content marketing function, and/or someone to whom content marketing reports. Note: In instances where we observed notable year-over-year differences, this report contains comparisons with findings from last year’s 10th annual survey—reported on in B2C Content Marketing 2020: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends. Some percentages shown in this report do not total 100%, due to rounding. Find all our past research at ContentMarketingInstitute.com/research. B2C Industry Classification Size of B2C Company (by Employees) B2C Content Marketing Job Function ■ Small (10-99 employees) ■ Micro(fewerthan10employees) ■ Medium (100-999 employees) ■ Large (1,000+ employees) ■ Senior leadership (e.g., CEO, owner, CMO, VP, GM) ■ Marketing management ■ Content creation/content management ■ Marketing operations ■ Advertising/PR/comm management ■ Sales/business management ■ Other 14% 15% 12% 11% 21% 31% 26% 22% 9% 9% 6% 7% 6% 5% 20% 29% 26% 23% 6% 5% 4% 7% ■ Retail/e-commerce ■ Financial services/banking/insurance ■ Agency (content marketing, advertising, digital, PR) ■ Healthcare/med/pharma/life sciences ■ Travel/tourism/hospitality ■ Manufacturing ■ Education ■ Professional services ■ Technology/IT/software/hardware ■ Other
  • 41. 41 Thanks to all the survey participants who made this research possible and to everyone who helps disseminate these findings throughout the content marketing industry. About Content Marketing Institute Content Marketing Institute is the leading global content marketing education and training organization, teaching enterprise brands how to attract and retain customers through compelling, multichannel storytelling. CMI’s Content Marketing World event, the largest content marketing-focused event, is held every fall in Cleveland, Ohio, and ContentTECH Summit event is held every spring in San Diego, California. CMI publishes Chief Content Officer for executives and provides strategic consulting and content marketing research for some of the best-known brands in the world. Content Marketing Institute is organized by Informa Connect. Learn more at ContentMarketingInstitute.com About Informa Connect Informa Connect is a specialist in content-driven events and digital communities that allow professionals to meet, connect, learn, and share knowledge. We operate major branded events in Marketing, Global Finance, Life Sciences and Pharma, Construction and Real Estate, and other specialist markets, and connect communities online year-round. About MarketingProfs MarketingProfs is a business-to-business marketing education company—a growing community of more than 550,000+ marketers who aspire to learn, connect, and lead. Its training and education programs include webcasts, master classes, workshops, and its flagship event, the MarketingProfs B2B Forum. And its community offers the support and networking modern marketers need—as a department of 1 or 1,000. Learn more at MarketingProfs.com. ABOUT