Content marketing continues to generate buzz and can be an amazing way to generate new leads and convert those leads into customers. No matter what form the content takes, it can help establish a brand as an authority in its field. The state of content marketing in the last few years has been one of great change.
The latest State of Content Marketing Report from SEMrush analyzed more than 450,000 tweets, 700,000 blog posts, hundreds of thousands of Google search queries and surveyed more than 1,200 marketing professionals around the world.
The report uncovered a number of content marketing trends that ruled the marketing world over the past year.
Here are ten content marketing statistics from the report that highlight the trends most likely to continue over the next several years.
Longer Articles Over 3,000 Words Received 3X More Traffic
In a few years, articles went from short pieces to lengthy, detailed pieces chock full of information. Pieces of 3,000 words or more got about three times the traffic and four times the shares as articles between 900 to 1,200 words. They also got more backlinks than shorter pieces.
While there is still a place for shorter pieces, a mix of long-form articles helps drive traffic and keeps site visitors engaged. The longer articles may also rank better in search engine results throughout 2020 (until the algorithms change yet again, anyway.
Around 37% of Americans Use Mobile Platforms to Go Online
For the last few years, there has been a huge push to go mobile-first and to really make online content smartphone-friendly.
While there is evidence that more and more people use their phones to access the internet, the results in the State of Content Marketing Report highlight that many still access websites via desktop.
Pew Internet Research found that about 37% of Americans use their mobile devices to go online and the overall number of people owning a smartphone went from 35% in 2011 to 81% in 2019. Mobile usage continues to rise in 2020.
However, many still use their desktops to research information. In a look at over 1,000 blogs, researchers discovered that around 63% of the traffic to automotive dealerships is via desktop. The numbers reach as high as 80% and above for online education and marketing topics.
The key takeaway here is to write for the audience rather than a device and make sure your website adapts to whatever screen size the user has at a given moment.
Successful Blogs Use a Mix of 13.8% Lists, 10.8% Q&As and 5.10% How-Tos
The report also looked at the different types of articles posted on blogs and found that most blogs benefited from a mix of different topics. For example, online education blogs had a mix of traffic that looked something like this: 3.6% guides, 5.10% how-to pieces, 10.8% Q&A articles and 13.8% lists.
Finding the right mix for each website is a matter of digging into site analytics and analyzing not only the popular topics on that blog but also competitor blogs. Many blogs even offer a look at the most popular articles, making it easy to do a bit of research and uncover which topics are popular with a given target audience.
There Are 2.96 Billion People on Social Media
One thing the report uncovered is that most businesses aren’t using social media as much as they should be, based on the number of users. There are approximately 2.96 billion people on social media.
The only categories using social media frequently enough were the fitness and health, home and garden and pharmaceutical categories. Each business is unique, so some marketers did a better job at social media promotions than others. However, it is a real weakness in the industry that must be addressed.
Headlines of 14 Words or More Got 5X More Backlinks
The report also uncovered an increase in headline length. The reason writers should use longer headlines of 14 words or more is because they get twice as much traffic, two times as many shares and five times more backlinks.
The traditional advice was to keep headline length between seven and 10 words, but that seems to be changing. People want to know they are getting the specific information they’re seeking.
Listicles Get Double the Traffic of Other Types of Posts
Listicles seem to be everywhere. People are busy and they like information they can absorb in quick chunks. The ability to skim over subheadings in a listicle helps the user zero in on the exact advice they need.
The State of Content Marketing Report 2019 by SEMrush also uncovered that listicles get the most shares and traffic — as much as double what other types of posts receive.
36% of Articles With Both H2 and H3 Headings Got More Traffic and Shares
The study also uncovered that the use of both H2 and H3 headings resulted in higher performances.
About 36% of articles with both headings had more traffic, shares and backlinks than similar articles without. The reason likely comes back to the need for people to skim and find the exact material needed. Descriptive headings save the reader time and frustration.
2020 Is About Ranking Higher Than Position #1
Search engines such as Google now use position zero to highlight quick snippets of content. While rich snippets have been around for a while, the way Google pulls information from content changed a bit in the last two years.
A rich snippet can appear anywhere in the text, so utilizing bullets helps Google see what content readers need most. Bulleted lists also make content more skimmable for readers.
The Word ‘Strategy’ Appeared in 29% of Tweets About Content Marketing
For years, top marketers have turned to well-organized plans in order to gain the most traction possible. The keyword phrase “content marketing strategy” was the most popular keyword in the category of content marketing and appeared in 29% of tweets. Content marketing strategy also appeared in the top 20 questions asked on Google about the topic.
In the last year, most people noticed more and more campaigns geared toward a specific holiday or event. Promoters have learned that people want highly personalized material that speaks directly to them and their needs. At the same time, consistency is the key to brand name recognition. Planned-out programs offer variety while still tying everything together with an underlying theme.
The Majority of Marketing Agencies Expanded Their Product Offerings
Another trend in the past year is a shift in the way marketing agencies package their products. Some agencies turned to proprietary software to increase the advantages of working with them over another agency. There is a lot of competition in the digital marketing space, so anything a company does to stand out increases potential profits.
Agencies should look at services already offered and find ways to expand into a full-service agency, so clients get all their exposure from one place. For example, add an event-planning service complete with logo-imprinted giveaway items. Any work that is farmed out or covered by another company is an opportunity for growth in 2020.
If you haven’t already, I urge you to download the State of Content Marketing Report from SEMrush. It’s filled with even more useful data to help guide your content marketing strategy this year.