Studies show that buyers consume about five pieces of content before they’re ready to be contacted by a sales rep. So simply serving marginal content with catchy titles in hopes of “capturing leads” won’t necessarily drive sales. Marketers need to consistently deliver high-quality content that nurtures buyers down the funnel. Only then can content marketing tactics generate a positive return.
Given these facts, you have to measure engagement and compare those metrics to your peers to understand whether your audience values your content. To help you establish those benchmarks, the marketing team at Docalytics recently analyzed reader engagement metrics across more than 100,000 view sessions and 3,300 hours of viewing 1,200 B2B marketing resources, such as e-books, whitepapers, guides, and research reports.
From this detailed analysis, we uncovered some interesting statistics, which reaffirmed our belief that long-form content is still an important part of an overall content strategy. However, it did drastically change the way we — and our customers — approach creating and distributing that type of content.
Here are three of the most eye-opening takeaways we learned that can help you make sure your content gets noticed:
The Data: After analyzing more than 3,300 hours of view time, we found that the average reader viewed a resource for two minutes and two seconds and only consumed 53 percent of an average content offer.
The Translation: On average, marketers have only 122 seconds to make an impact and engage their audiences with branded content before losing them. We also observed a negative correlation between document length and average time spent, meaning when you offer prospects that 35-page whitepaper, they’ll often preview it, maybe flag it to return, and likely never view it again.
The Takeaway: Get to the point quickly, and don’t save your best material for last — the majority of readers will never get there.
The Data: As part of our analysis, we reviewed 1,187 marketing documents and found that the average e-book, whitepaper, or guide was a whopping 13 pages from cover to cover.
The Translation: Too many marketers believe longer content is perceived as more authoritative and will better portray their brands as thought leaders, ultimately converting more leads. To those marketers, I pose two simple questions:
If you answered “yes” and “no,” keep producing those 13-page downloads. If you answered “no” to both questions, it might be time to boil down your ideas.
The Takeaway: Writing concise content that gets to the point quickly is really hard to do, but in reality, it’s often what busy online browsers are looking for. B2B decision makers crave snackable content they can quickly consume during their coffee break and come away from feeling like they learned and accomplished something.
Of course, an authoritative 13-page whitepaper does have its place, but if you take an all-or-nothing approach, you’re missing huge exposure opportunities. Take the time to break that lengthy e-book into several parts, and distribute each part as a separate offering across your website, blog, and social channels. Not only will you satisfy readers’ thirst for content, but you’ll also streamline your content creation efforts, generating much more shareworthy content in the process.
The Data: Seventy-two percent of prospects downloading your content haven’t previously downloaded content from your website.
The Translation: While this overall statistic can vary from customer to customer, leads who visit your site and download your content today will likely not return to consume more content tomorrow (or ever, for that matter).
The Takeaway: Understand and accept this reality. The good news is that for every three leads that never return, one does. You need the right processes in place to track and score those return visitors so you can differentiate them from their one-hit-wonder counterparts (who would likely waste your sales team’s time if counted as true marketing qualified leads, anyway).
Although we have plenty of information to share, I’ll follow my own advice and keep things brief. My team at Docalytics will be working hard over the next several weeks to dive deeper into our data and compile “The Comprehensive Guide to Content Engagement Benchmarks.” Look out for more of those findings on The Knowledge Bank.
Steve Peck, co-founder of Docalytics, a rapidly growing technology company that provides innovative solutions that help B2B marketing and sales professionals capture more leads and insights from their companies' content. Steve has a passion for content and is constantly conceptualizing it. He firmly believes that the best ideas always come after a few pints.