Hubspot released the State of Inbound 2016 last September, and we're still mulling over the wealth of information in it since it came out.
The State of Inbound is an annual report by Hubspot based on a survey conducted on digital marketing agency professionals, marketers and sales people around the globe, covering inbound benchmark data, new technologies and trends that companies are adding to their marketing strategy in the coming year. This year's sampling is made of 4,500 marketers and sales people around the globe.
While there's a lot of insights to sift through, we're specifically digging into the content production data to see where companies are putting their budget this next 12 months and what it means for us inbound/content marketers.
1. SEO & Blogging remains as the top inbound marketing priorities in 2017
While this is not really a surprise, it's important to affirm that SEO and Blogging (blog content creation and distribution) are still the top inbound marketing priorities in 2017.
One can't deny that search engines are still the biggest source of website traffic across industries, which makes blogging a valuable commodity for businesses. Videos and interactive content are effective strategies as more consumers become mobile (and impatient), but all these other forms of content don't give as much SEO value to a website as blog content.
But this only means the competition for readers' attention is going to be tougher than ever. With over 2 million blog posts published daily in 2015 (Two! million! daily! you guys!), we expect to see an even greater growth and competition in this arena.
This tells us two things:
Business Blogging is staple
For years, businesses have found great value out of creating blog content. Blog content cuts through various stages in the funnel—from attracting traffic to your website, to establishing authority and building trust, to converting leads to sales, to eventually empowering, educating, and retaining customers. But I think the most value we can get from business blogging is its potential to rank in search engines, making it a staple marketing channel.
Blog Consumption is evolving
It goes without saying that, as consumers have to sift through even more content these days, they also become smarter in choosing which content to read. While blog content remains staple, diversifying the content you produce is important to expand your reach and to keep the attention of your readers. And this is where videos, ebooks, and interactive content comes to the picture.
Which brings us to the next point.
2. Youtube and Facebook Video are the top distribution channels companies plan to add to their marketing efforts
Youtube has long changed the marketing game, but a surprise contender is Facebook Video.
This only shows that marketers are getting on board the multimedia bandwagon and giving audiences alternative ways to consume content.
Youtube is still the leading portal for creative, informative and entertaining video content but we've been seeing a lot of brands using Facebook to broadcast live events, webinars and real time Q&A sessions. The possibilities are endless, and this emerging live casting strategy is something that shouldn't be overlooked.
3. There's great opportunity in producing instructional, multimedia content and web-based tools
In Search Engine Marketing we like looking at the low-hanging fruits—long-tailed keywords that have less competition or less search count, the idea being that you want to capture the traffic from overlooked but highly targeted search queries.
Applying the same principle, the data above shows where companies are putting most of their time and budget; and while we want a piece of the bigger pie, focusing on low-hanging fruits has the potential to give us better and more targeted results. In hindsight, it gives marketers the idea to go against the flow by creating what everyone is not doing so much of.
Webinars, instructional videos, online tools
If we are to segregate the above content formats in terms of perceived priority, the segmentation would look something like this:
- SEO Content: Blog posts, landing pages, or any content published within the pages of a website that is optimized for search engines. (Searchability)
- Gated Long-form Content: Ebooks and whitepapers. (Lead Generation)
- Gated Interactive Tools: Webinars, instructional videos, online tools. (Conversion)
Understandably, creating webinars, videos and online tools is quite a production. These formats require a lot more manpower and resources than creating blog content, ebooks or whitepapers.
But even though ebooks and whitepapers are easier to produce and can attract potential customers to sign up, creating useful tools and instructional materials that your buyer personas can use for free may result to more targeted leads. Consequently, this could be a better solution (than blog content) to the number one priority marketers have over the next 12 months, "converting contacts/leads to customers".
Year by year, since 2013, companies have progressed in the way they see their online marketing strategy—from a website being a mere channel to reach audiences (2013), to increasing number of contacts and leads (2014-2015), and now being an actual sales tool to convert leads to paying customers (2016). We can only expect that Inbound marketers will get better at optimizing their marketing funnels and creating value for their potential and existing customers alike.
Inbound Marketing, Philippines
Last week I talked about Inbound Marketing in the Philippines, and its relevance to B2b industries. It's interesting to note that among the respondents of the State of Inbound survey, only 13% came from South East Asia. Spiralytics is one of only a handful of Hubspot-certified agencies practicing Inbound Marketing in the Philippines, and we're excited to see how Asia will adapt to these new inbound technologies in the coming years.
Download this Success Story and see how we utilized SEO and Content Marketing best practices to help build and grow one of our clients' inbound sales funnel.