A new survey from content marketing provider Skyword found that nearly half of the respondents polled have a formal content marketing strategy, but only 25 percent are measuring the results of their social media content marketing efforts.
Conducted by Unisphere Research, the survey included 217 participants from the readership base of CRM Magazine and EContent Magazine, reflecting a variety of industries and business sizes.
The survey covered a number of content marketing trends, focusing on how organizations produce and distribute content. According to the findings, the number one reason marketers are implementing content marketing initiatives is to engage customers and prospects, with 68 percent of respondents claiming it is their primary goal.
While 46 percent of the survey participants report their organizations have formal content marketing strategies, 37 percent claim they are working on developing content marketing programs.
For the organizations leveraging content marketing programs, 48 percent say their efforts are resulting in engagement with customers and prospects, and 41 percent are seeing an increase in brand awareness.
Seven out of ten respondents are using social media to distribute their content marketing materials, with Facebook and Twitter proving to be the most popular platforms in terms of customer engagement.
As far as maintaining a social media presence, 64 percent of survey participants rated their company blog as their most valuable social media tool, followed by Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, online communities and YouTube.
Most of the organizations polled fall behind when it comes to tracking their social media content marketing results, with only 25 percent of respondents measuring the effectiveness of specific content marketing assets shared on social media channels.
“There is a high expectation regarding social media but a very low understanding around measures to determine ROI versus activity,” said one survey participant. Another participant confessed, “We don’t do as good a job at tracking the value of our efforts as we should be.”
For the respondents that are measuring social media performance, most are tracking engagement versus actual business gains, with only 31 percent of survey participants tying social media success to product or sales revenues.
While a majority of survey respondents are using social media to promote content, 66 percent admit that less than 10 percent of their budgets are allocated to social media.
When asked to rate the importance of channels for promoting content, social media came in fourth with 68 percent of respondents claiming it was an “extremely important” or “important” channel. Company websites, email campaigns and public relations all outranked social media as important channels for content marketing.
As far as the development of content marketing materials, 87 percent of respondents say they are creating content in-house, with 24 percent outsourcing content marketing creation to a content producer and 17 percent using curated content.
The study found that articles are the most popular type of content being created, followed by videos, blog entries, slide shows and infographics.
Product-related content ranked highest in content areas, with 77 percent of respondents claiming it was “extremely important” or “important” followed by best practices, thought leadership and industry news.
When asked how often their organizations are posting content, 46 percent of respondents say they are posting weekly.
Only 4 percent are posting more than once a day, but 40 percent say their “ideal frequency” would be to post daily or multiple times per day.
More than half of the survey participants report they are creating ten or fewer content marketing pieces per month to post on social media channels, with 44 percent of participants wanting to increase their content marketing postings to as much as 50 assets per month.
The survey found that 14 percent of respondents would like to increase the number of content marketing assets to more than 50 per month (only 4 percent of the respondents have actually reached this level).
According to the survey findings, producing targeted, relevant content to engage audiences is a struggle for many marketers, with 66 percent of survey respondents claiming it is their biggest content marketing challenge. Other challenges included creating high-quality content, generating more sales leads, lack of budgets and difficulty finding qualified writers.