According to latest research from Track Maven, a growing majority of professional marketing content fails to have an impact. The study found the output of content per brand increased 78% from the start of 2013 to the end of 2014, but content engagement decreased 60%. Brands are generating a higher volume of content per channel, but individual pieces of content are receiving fewer interactions
On social networks, brand-generated content is seeing the lowest engagement rates now than anytime in 2013 and 2014, and 43% of professionally marketed blog posts receive fewer than 10 interactions. Marketers are distributing more content on more channels, while simultaneously complaining about how hard it is to cut through the noise, says the report.
Compounded with a backward looking approach to measuring effectiveness, the “more is better” approach to content marketing is destined to fail. Smart content can overcome bad distribution, but smart distribution cannot save bad content, concludes the analysis.
Multi-channel marketing has become the norm rather than the exception, but simply engaging in content marketing fails to set brands apart. In light of that fact, plus the continued expansion of available channels, the time is right for marketers to ask a different question: Is more content really better asks the study.
The television industry provides an analogy, the report observes. Over the past half-century, the number of television channels available to viewers has exploded, and the volume of television content has grown in tandem. In the 1970s and 1980s, the number of channels available to viewers exploded. By 1995, the average U.S. household could choose from 45 channels. That number ballooned to 189 by 2013.3
According to Nielsen’s Advertising & Audiences report, this channel explosion did not cause viewers to watch more television channels. Despite the impressive increase in the number of television channels to choose from, viewers consistently watched on average only 17 channels. Relating this to today’s digital channel explosion, for marketers, simply being present as many places as possible does not help you reach your customers. The best way to cut through the noise is to produce the best content, says the report.
According to the research, a growing majority of professional marketing content is ineffective. The study analysis shows that nearly one out of four brand-generated blog posts (23%) receives zero interactions. Even more distressing, says the report, nearly half of all professionally marketed blog posts (43%) received only 10 or fewer interactions. But ineffective content isn’t symptomatic of blogs alone; a significant volume of brand-generated social media content also fails to garner engagement. On Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn, more than half of all posts receive fewer than 10 interactions (73%, 60%, 65%, and 68%, respectively).
Among the major social networks, Twitter has the lowest engagement threshold, with 73% of tweets receiving 10 or fewer interactions. Instagram has the highest engagement threshold; only 10% of Instagram photos and 6% of Instagram videos receive 10 or fewer interactions. Among the major social networks, Instagram also has the highest percentage of viral content, with 49% of Instagram photos and 60% of Instagram videos receiving more than 250 interactions.
Branded Marketing Content by Channel (% of Interactions)
Source: Track Maven, January 2015
Across 2013 and 2014, the output of brand-generated content by channel nearly doubled, increasing by 78%. But instead of increasing in tandem with output, content engagement cascaded dramatically. Across the same time frame, the number of interactions per post per 1,000 followers actually fell by more than half, decreasing by 60%.
Channel explosion has made it easier for marketers to distribute content at scale, and new channels have required them to create more content at a faster pace. But, as the data above show, marketers’ “more is better” approach is not an effective response to channel explosion. Stated differently, marketers are getting better at distributing content, but are not getting better at creating content worth distributing, concludes the report. According to CMI research, only 38% of B2B marketers and 37% of B2C marketers rate their organization’s content marketing as “effective” or “very effective.”
The proliferation of marketing platforms and technologies continues to catalyze the distribution of content. The report concludes by noting that, for marketers, the real challenge, and real opportunity, lies in the initial content creation phase. Improved analytics empower marketers to course-correct their content strategy in real time for maximum long-term impact, Marketers that fail to adopt a “measure first” approach may find themselves left behind or facing ballooning content marketing spend with diminishing returns.
To access the complete report from Track Maven, please visit here.