Content marketing has exploded in the last few years. According to analysts from Technavio, the industry is projected to be worth $412.88 billion by, as soon as, 2021, writes, Julia McCoy Chief Executive Officer, Express Writers.
From 2016 to 2021, global industry value will climb by $217.3 billionOpens a new window thanks to a 16% compound annual growth rate, as The Drum reported. What are the factors behind this ballooning growth? According to the report:
- Content marketing costs less than traditional advertising.
- More content marketers are focusing on building trust with content, focusing on the audience versus their brand. Conversion rates are better thanks to established trust.
- Content marketing effectively builds brand awareness, which helps businesses grow their reach.
Beyond cost-effectiveness, better conversion rates, and brand growth, what are some other reasons we can thank for the content boom?
1. We’re Finally Figuring Out This Content Thing
In many ways, the beginning of the digital content marketingOpens a new window era was experimental. Businesses were figuring out what worked and what didn’t. All the while, search engine algorithms were constantly changing the way content was optimized and discovered.
In fact, it’s only in the last few years that businesses started understanding the need for:
- Content strategy
- Tracking and measuring the effectiveness of their content
- Understanding the resulting ROI
In 2010, when Content Marketing Institute released their first Benchmarks, Budgets, & Trends Report for B2Bs, the biggest content marketing challengesOpens a new window reported were producing engaging content (36%) and producing enough content (21%). Fast-forward to the 2019 report, and the results are very different.
Today, the biggest challenge for content marketers is changes to SEO/search algorithms (61%), closely followed by changes to social media algorithms (45%). That’s a huge leap. The issue is no longer what to produce, but rather how to keep up with the changing search landscape.
We’re finally figuring out this content thing, including:
- Creating engaging, high-quality content that builds audience trust
- Tracking and measuring content ROI
- Using technology to streamline and improve content marketing processes
In short, we’re generally more successful at content than we were 10 years ago â€“ and that’s a big contributor to the industry’s current boom.
2. Businesses Are Seeing the Value of Content â€“ and Investing
It’s a slow journey to see returns from content marketing. On average, it takes months to gain traction, climb the search engine rankings, and begin building authority.
In the early days, lots of brands didn’t wait long enough to see the promised results. Others couldn’t see the value in content, mainly because adopters weren’t sure how to prove ROI.
However, as we improved as an industry, the benefits started coming into focus. We can measure our content marketing and point to concrete numbers that show exactly why it’s a great investment. As a result, more businesses are investing.
We can see proof of that in the global content marketing software market. From 2018 to 2023, it’s expected to enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 18.4%. It should surge from $4.12 billion in 2018 to $9.59 billion in 2023Opens a new window . According to GlobeNewswire,
â€œMajor growth drivers for the market include the growing adoption of content marketing software for personalized marketing, customer engagement, and social media, and an increasing use of omnichannel message for enhancing customer experience.â€
3. Content Marketing Aligns with Modern Buyer Preferences and Needs
One of the main reasons content marketing is enjoying explosive growth is a simple fact: Modern consumers are using the internet for almost everything, including:
- News and information
When it comes to shopping, in particular, today’s consumers aren’t limiting themselves to special purchases or certain types of goods. They’re buying everything you can think of, including consumer packaged goods (CPG) like non-perishable grocery items, beauty products, and personal care products. According to a 2018 Periscope by McKinsey survey, 70% of respondentsOpens a new window shop this way.
Of course, their purchase decisions are affected by the internet, too. Consumers now have the means to thoroughly research products, share their shopping experiences with a wide audience, and generally take more control over how and what they buy.
Combine these points with the fact that most online activity begins with a search, and you’ll start to see why content marketing fits in so neatly. As a Google study reports:
â€œSearch has become second nature to consumers. People use search in those â€˜I want to know’, â€˜I want to do’, and â€˜I want to buy’ moments.â€
Consumers are savvier than ever before, and their buying journeys are more complicated. They can smell a sleazy sales pitch from miles away. They know when brands are being genuine and when they’re just grabbing for money.
That’s why they respond so well to the non-sales approach of content marketing. Content provides value. Content answers questions and addresses pain points. Content builds trust and loyalty, and creates customer-brand relationships.
The amazing part is brands are now seeing that meeting customers at the door of their search with valuable content works far better than trumpeting cold ads in their face. The cold ad approach is dying, because customers are not responding the same ways they used to.
In contrast, content marketing is gaining momentum because it gives the people what they want.
The Future of Marketing is Content Marketing
From where we sit today, content marketing is looking more and more likely as the future of marketing. As the industry continues to grow, as more brands see results from content and gain momentum, traditional advertising will pale in comparison. As we move into the 2020s, the question won’t be whether content works â€“ it will be â€œhow high can we fly with content?â€