NetLine’s 2021 State of B2B Content Consumption and Demand Report examines vital insights from the content consumption behaviours of B2B buyers
Fuelled by a dearth of in-person events and virtual meetings, the effects of the pandemic drove an overall spike in content consumption — especially with webinars — resulting in a 22% YOY increase in content registrations. The 2021 State of B2B Content Consumption and Demand Report for Marketers focuses on the consumption behaviours from 2020, studying a year that introduced us to COVID-19. The virus’ effects are addressed throughout the report, as it weighed heavily on B2B activity.
CEO and Chairman of NetLine Corporation Robert Alvin said, “With the year we’ve just come through, and with millions of businesses looking to navigate through so much trepidation and ambiguity successfully, Content Marketing cemented itself an essential pillar in B2B organisations across the globe.”
Here is what we learned from the report;
Formats fought each other but eBooks remained champions
Once again, eBooks are the reigning B2B content format, gaining an additional half a million downloads over the previous year. However, Guides claimed second place after overtaking White Papers that fell by roughly 90,000 downloads.
Other winning formats include;
- A 103% increase in the amount of Webinars being uploaded
- On-Demand Webinars generated 36% more registrations than Live Webinars, with overall registrations increasing by 49%
- Live Virtual Conference registrations also increased by a whopping 2660%.
It’s interesting to note that while webinars have been showing positive results; they remain marketers’ choice to generate highly-qualified leads. However, it runs the risk of soon becoming a tired format not unlike Zoom fatigue or the overused COVID email. An achievable way to avoid getting lost in the crowd is to break format as much as possible, Easier said than done, but variable visual formats help ease the eyes watching a webinar. Think of it as an extension to cinema. At least that’s what Virtuosity, a design and construction software solutions company did when they demonstrated their product to potential clients using features from their patented design suite to immerse viewers. Try to keep dialogue open as opposed to having one person talking throughout the show.
Also Read: Make Way for A Podcast Hustle
People consumed more but had more distractions
The year 2020 led to a 22% increase in the amount of content being consumed, but it also led to greater distractions and uncertainty. This reaffirms the need for marketers to keep their content laser-focused on maintaining attention between the point of registration and hopefully compelling the user to quickly act/consume after registration.
While the NetLine report notices a significant lift in total demand, it observed that total time to consume requested content ballooned, adding 72 minutes. Despite the additional time it took for B2B professionals to initially consume their requested content, the time it took between additional content requests accelerated by 15%, marking the first year this stat took less time than the previous year.
Everyone was looking for answers
Some not so surprising findings include the fact that C-Suite professionals within Finance, Service Industry, and Education were the most active audience segments.
COVID-19 caused new folks who haven’t regularly sought content to do some research. Despite a visible dip from the smallest companies, businesses with 1,000 employees or less accounted for nearly 65% of all downloads, a 3% increase YOY; companies consisting of between 100-249 employees were the largest audience, overall, and representing 14.86% of all content consumption activity.
5 New Players entered the top 10 industry audiences;
- Retail and Consumer Goods
- Service Industry
- Corporate Services
Affinity categories influenced by WFH habits
B2B consumers joined everyone else in working from home. That meant the lines between professional and personal were further blurred. When building audience personas, affinity categories become particularly helpful. Affinity categories are used to reach potential customers to get them to discover a brand or product. These audiences near the beginning of the purchase funnel, as opposed to the in-Market Segment where users are more ready to purchase.
Here is what they looked for;
- 40% had a greater affinity towards investing
- 12% had a greater affinity in their individual hobbies
- 9% towards shopping
- 14% had a lesser affinity toward DIY projects
- 81% had a greater affinity towards sports
According to the report, marketers would be wise to focus their B2B content on 3 promises for 2021, namely security, predictability and simplicity.
Security: Companies don’t want to be caught off-guard ever again and will do everything in their means to protect themselves. Businesses are looking to build fortresses not only for themselves—such as the increased interest in database management—but as a means to find allies who can assimilate with their own needs seamlessly without introducing any kind of doubt or volatility, securing their own ecosystem.
Predictability: According to NetLine, the surge in consumption from professionals in the legal, insurance, and HR fields is rooted in their desire to protect and predict the hurdles their employees and clients will encounter. They will ultimately be the ones charged with offering protections and acting as both a calming and reassuring presence. To compete in this new era, content needs to be straightforward in its answers and how it addresses questions related to its pain points,
Simplicity: The lockdown and consequent slowdown provided businesses a moment in time to rethink and recalibrate; a chance to simplify and reinforce what you offer customers from the ground up. Businesses are looking for content that gives them a foundational path forward: “What do I need? What do I do?” Sweat the small stuff—because your potential customers are, too. This is especially true when their backs are against the wall.
Read the full report here.