Content consumption in the B2B space has accelerated rapidly over the past two years. Consider this statistic: According to NetLine Corporation’s 2022 State of B2B Content Consumption and Demand Report published this week, consumption increased more than nine percent from 2020 to 2021, with total demand for B2B content rising 33 percent since 2019.
But whether marketers are successful at reaching B2B decision-makers through content marketing tactics depends on a multitude of factors, including the specific format preferred by buyers, the level of purchasing intent, the buyer’s specific job function, and much more. Following are highlights from the report, which analyzed data from approximately 13,000 pieces of content from 300 industries, processed by its syndication lead generation network.
As expected, information technology professionals were the most active job function when it came to consuming B2B content, representing 28 percent of the total audience. Breaking it down further, 12.6 percent worked in IT systems management, 6.6 percent were network/server administrators and 6.4 percent were involved in software/system architecture.
The “executive” job function experienced a lift in 2021, increasing by nearly 20 percent to represent 13 percent of the total audience consuming content. Additionally, CEOs represented 10.7 percent of the total audience, and the consumption of B2B content by C-level executives overall rose 15.8 percent year-over-year. The industry categories that recurred the most after IT and executives were education, engineering, human resources and finance.
Interestingly, though it wasn’t ranked as a top-10 job function, biotech industry professionals—presumably in light of COVID-19 vaccines becoming available in 2021—requested about 26 percent more content than they did in 2020, according to the report.
Drilling down further into target audience statistics, 40 percent of all content consumption came from C-level users (14.8 percent), managers (13.3 percent) and directors (12.5 percent). In terms of year-over-year increases, directors consumed 27.8 percent more content and C-level users consumed an additional 15 percent. The most active job level—for the sixth consecutive year—was “individual contributor,” representing 25.5 percent of the audience.
When examining format, the most popular content type was eBooks, accounting for more than 43 percent of all buyer registrations, followed by guides (8 percent), cheat sheets (8 percent), tips and tricks guides (7 percent) and white papers (7 percent). Interestingly, the consumption of cheat sheets grew by 56 percent year-over-year. When looking at the webinar format, total buyer registrations increased 63 percent year-over-year, while virtual event registrations increased by 139 percent.
The amount of time it takes for buyers to invest in services is another data point warranting consideration by B2B content marketers. The report notes that approximately 31 percent of respondents expect to make purchases in the next 12 months. Within that subset, 55 percent will take 6-12 months, 26 percent will take 3-6 months and 19 percent will take less than three months.
Additional highlights from the report:
*Though the volume of B2B content is increasing, the time spent consuming those assets of content is expanding as well. In 2021, it took users 12 percent more time to open a piece of content they’d requested than the year prior—on average, 33.3 hours versus 29.7 hours in 2020.
*Looking at when content is most frequently reviewed throughout the week, the report notes that Wednesdays are the most popular day, followed closely by Mondays and Tuesdays. Approximately 90 percent of consumption happens during the work week.
*Keyword trends for 2021, ranked in order of interest, included pandemic, virtual, next generation sequencing (NGS), artificial intelligence (AI) and construction financial.
*Content is being consumed overwhelmingly via desktop, the report revealed, representing nearly 93 percent of engagements. That’s up from 74 percent in 2020.
Editor’s Note: Chief Marketer’s parent company Access Intelligence uses NetLine Corporation’s lead generation services.