9 Quality Content Marketing Statistics for 2020

Most of us internet denizens have encountered content marketing.And a lot of you reading this are probably interested in leveraging it to help your brand or website.

So you probably know what content marketing is, but let’s make sure we’re all on the same page first:

Content marketing is marketing based on creating and distributing content to a target audience.

It’s become insanely common on the internet, and for good reason: it works, and it means marketers have to give something of value instead of simply trying to extract value.

You may be interested in learning more about content marketing because you want to earn more in your business, or just because you’re curious about this widespread tactic.

Whatever the reason, let’s get to the numbers!

First up:

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Item 1: The overall conversion rate is 1-2%.

A couple points here: I’m putting this one first because it might be a little disheartening, and I want to get it out of the way first.

Second, let me explain what a conversion rate is, in case you’re not familiar:

Simply put, it’s the percentage of users or visitors who take a desired action. This desired action can vary—it can mean purchasing a product, obviously, but also a variety of other marketing-related actions.

It’s relevant here, because ultimately the goal of content marketing–like any other form of marketing–is to get people to do things.

So, the higher the conversion rate, the better a content marketer.

Please understand that there isn’t a single, widely agreed on number. There are lots of different conversion rate averages.

That being said, this simple number by BigCommerce seems consistent with most other recent stats I’ve seen, and it specifically is about conversions related to SALES, not just any desired action.

So take a look:

content marketing stats overall conversion rate

Now, in this case BigCommerce is actually saying 2% is more of a solid baseline to aim for.

That’s because the ‘average’ conversion rate ranges from about 1-2%.

To give you an example of some other numbers, IRP Commerce says conversion rates in December 2018 were 1.7%, though higher one year later.

Meanwhile, Wolfgang Digital puts the overall conversion rate for 2019 at 1.85%.

So 1-2% is a pretty reasonable benchmark for current, overall conversion rates, with 2% being a reasonable goal.

Item 2: Overall conversion rates have increased over 32% since last year.

So, I actually partly mentioned this statistic in the last one. It comes from IRP Commerce, and shows us how the overall conversion rate has grown significantly.

The first number is from December 2018. The second number is from December 2019.

See the difference after a year:

content marketing stats conversion rate growth

In the space of a year, the conversion rate increased by over half a percent. That’s a very small amount in the ordinary world…

But conversion rates, as you can see, tend to be low. So an increase of half a percent is HUGE.

You can tell from the last number, on the right—that’s 32% growth.

Of course, while this may give you some hope, it doesn’t mean you’re out of the water.

The overall rate includes a wide range of markets, industries, and types of sellers.

Here’s a case in point of how differentiated conversion rates are by industry:

Item 3: Arts and crafts store have an overall conversion rate of 4%, compared to the 1-2% for most other stores.

The raw data of this info comes from IRP Commerce, but the presentation comes from Growcode.

content marketing stats conversion rates by industry

As you can see, arts and crafts stories have the highest conversion rates by a significant margin.

The next highest are stores that sell electrical and commercial equipment, and then pet care. But they still don’t come that close.

And even so, that super high conversion rate is just over 4%! Tough stuff.

But this is what wraps up the tougher news, dear readers. The next stats will show the potential of content marketing—and why it can boost those conversion rates!

Item 4: Over half of businesses were investing in content marketing in 2018.

This comes from a hard-working insights company called The Manifest.

content marketing stats how many businesses use content marketing

Over half is huge: it means a majority of the businesses you interact with do this stuff.

And since this stat is for 2018, it’s probably even higher now.

The Manifest reports that in 2016, the number was just 36% of enterprises, so I’d imagine we’re into the territory of a “solid” majority by now.

That’s just normal enterprises. When it comes to B2B (business to business), on the other hand…

Item 5: More than 9 out of 10 B2B marketers use content marketing.

This makes sense, of course.

Business-to-business marketing will often involve place a higher value on information, strategy, advice, and so on.

Plus, a good deal of marketing is already geared towards helping other businesses better reach customers, instead of simply marketing one’s own business.

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at the number:

content marketing stats b2b content marketing use

Yep…an overwhelming 91% of B2B respondents said they used content marketing.

Keep in mind that this number is bound to be a little higher than normal because the respondents are interacting with a survey by a very successful content marketing-focused platform.

Nonetheless, I find this number overall believable. And it could even be higher now, in 2020.

Let’s turn our attention to the type of content marketing that companies are pursuing:

Item 6: Creating blog content is a marketing priority for over half of companies.

This isn’t too surprising, and if you’ve read a lot of company blogs, you’ll probably think the same thing.

I got this from Hubspot’s “State of Inbound 2018” report—it’s highly detailed and has tons of useful info about what businesses are doing and thinking:

content marketing stats blogging as inbound marketing goal

As you can see, improving search engine optimization (SEO) was the most popular marketing priority, while blog content came second at 55%.

A note on how these numbers work out: it means blog content creation was A top priority for 55% of companies, not THE top priority.

So for some of these companies, blogging can be more or less important than SEO and marketing automation —case by case.

The point here is that overall, a majority of companies have blog content as one of their top marketing priorities.

Although…

Item 7: About half (at least) of companies are interested in investing in video channels for marketing.

This also comes from the aforementioned “State of Inbound 2019” report, because dang, it has good info.

Anyway, this evaluates the interest of companies in investing in certain content distribution channels.

Check it out:

content marketing stats interest in video

YouTube took the top spot, with 45% of respondent businesses saying they planned on adding more YouTube content to their marketing in the next year.

But interestingly, professional networks (mostly LinkedIn) were nearly as much a priority as YouTube.

After that, Facebook video came in pretty close, as did Instagram.

The top 4 are separated from each other by 2 percentage points each—and when you take into account that Instagram allows for video, this means there’s a large interest in increasing video content marketing.

This might sound really reassuring, but you should keep the next stat in mind as well:

Item 8: Nearly half of businesses do not generate tangible sales results through social media marketing.

This is a stat for those leaning heavily into social media for their content marketing strategy, or who are planning to.

You can find this info from Zazzle’s 2019 “State of Content Marketing 2019” report. Do note that this survey, while excellent, is mostly derived from UK businesses and marketers.

Here are the numbers:

content marketing survey

It’s not all hopeless: about 31% said they did generate sales, measurably. 20% weren’t sure.

But again…nearly half, 49%, said they’ve been distributing their content through social media, but don’t have tangible results.

It doesn’t mean social media isn’t worth your time…

It just means you may want to be careful in assuming your content marketing plans can rest easily on social media.

Okay, I feel bad. Let me cheer you up again with our final stat:

Item 9: About 2/3rds of businesses find content marketing to be AT LEAST very effective.

This also comes from Zazzle’s content marketing report.

But this one is more optimistic. Have a look:

Zazzle content marketing

It should be clear that the VAST majority of businesses surveyed found content marketing to be at least somewhat effective.

Doing the math, at least 97% of businesses here said it’s at least somewhat effective. That’s nearly universal.

And NONE of them said it wasn’t effective at all.

But the percentage of businesses who said content marketing is at least “very” effective is still super high, at 66%. An easy 2/3rds majority.

You probably already think content marketing is potent…but it may help cheer you up to find most businesses agree!

Conclusion

There you are, my friends: 9 quality statistics about content marketing.

Yes, some of them are a little older—but that’s the price of getting information that took time to synthesize, and get published from credible sources.

These statistics aren’t disconnected. They can be summed up like this:

Conversion rates are low, though they are increasing and it depends on your industry. So you have to keep that in mind when doing content marketing.

But, content marketing is highly used and constantly expanding—and just about all businesses say it works.

So don’t lose too much hope, and give it your all!

You can see my list of references below if you want to verify my claims, or just learn more:

References

BigCommerce on overall conversion rates:
https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/conversion-rate-optimization/#what-is-a-good-ecommerce-conversion-rate

Wolfgang Digital on the overall conversion rate (supplementing BigCommerce):
https://www.wolfgangdigital.com/kpi-2019/

Presentation of conversion rates by industry:
https://www.growcode.com/blog/ecommerce-conversion-rate/

Raw data from IRP commerce, used for 1) overall conversion rates, 2) conversion rates by industry, and 3) growth in conversion rates:
https://www.irpcommerce.com/en/gb/ecommercemarketdata.aspx?Market=3

The Manifest on the percentage of businesses that use content marketing:
https://themanifest.com/digital-marketing/how-businesses-use-content-marketing

Content Marketing Institute B2B Content Marketing Report, on B2B’s use of content marketing:
https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/2018-b2b-research-final.pdf

Hubspot’s “state of inbound” report (interest in blog content and video content channels):
https://www.stateofinbound.com/?__hstc=20629287.2f2cf6f2c1f11a9df46ffe6375fed6e4.1579731830257.1579731830257.1579731830257.1&__hssc=20629287.1.1579731830260&__hsfp=645916085

Zazzle’s state of content marketing 2019 report (effectiveness of social media and content marketing overall):
https://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/resources/content-marketing-survey-2019/