Research reveals most popular types of content
The 2018 studies by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and Marketing Profs show what are the most popular types of content.
Popular types of B2B content
For business to business (B2B) marketers, the 3 most popular types of content are:
- Social media posts
- Case studies
- Videos that are pre-produced.
Close behind are e-books and white papers, followed by infographics.
This graph shows the 14 content types used most by B2B marketers:
You’ll see that the most successful B2B marketers use 7 content types. The least successful use only 4 types.
Popular types of B2C content
Business to consumer (B2C) marketers use similar types of content. The 3 most popular types of content are:
- Social media posts
- Videos that are pre-produced
- Illustrations and photos.
Close behind are infographics, followed by interactive tools.
This graph shows the 14 types of content used most by B2C marketers:
You’ll see that the most successful consumer marketers use 6 content types. The least successful use only 4.
Similarities and differences in B2B and B2C content
Whether you’re a consumer or business marketer, social media and pre-produced videos are 2 of the top 3 most popular types of content.
What’s the big difference between popular types of content in B2B and B2C marketing?
B2B emphasizes long-form content. B2C stresses visual content.
Content is becoming more visual
In consumer and business content marketing, visual content is growing fastest and becoming the most popular type of content.
In fact, the new 2019 CMI/Marketing Profs study shows increasing interest in visual forms of content among B2B marketers:
- 64% of B2B marketers are increasing use of audiovisual content.
- 56% are increasing use of images.
Text remains important
Text remains important for marketing B2B products and services, as well as for carefully considered consumer products and services:
- 61% of B2B marketers are increasing digital text – articles, blogs and books.
- 27% are using more printed text – magazines, books and brochures.
B2B marketers also are using more in-person content, or face-to-face marketing. Some 41% of marketers report an increase in face-to-face events, presentations and workshops.
And 38% of marketers are using more audio content – podcasts and audiobooks.
My blog, “What is the future of content marketing?” foreshadowed some of these changes. I predicted that content would become more visual and more audio.
I also expect content to become brainier and more empathetic.
This graph compares marketers’ usage of content types with a year ago:
Effectiveness varies along the buyer’s journey
Marketers find that the most effective types of content vary by the stage in the buyer’s journey.
In the early stages of building awareness and interest, text, audio and visual content lead the way. The most popular types of content are:
- Blog posts and articles, used by 73% of marketers
- Podcasts, used by 57%
- E-books, used by 56%
- Videos, used by 54%.
In the middle stages of consideration and intent, long-form content becomes more important. The most popular types of content are:
- White papers, used by 53% of marketers
- Webinars, used by 47%
- Interactive content, used by 46%
- Case studies, used by 42%.
In the late stages of evaluation and purchase, the most popular types of content are:
- Case studies, used by 40% of marketers
- In-person events, used by 32%.
Most popular types of content in paid media
The 2019 study also looked at what are the most popular types of content in paid media:
- Sponsored content on social media
- Search engine marketing/pay-per-click
- Banner ads that promote content.
Also important are partner emails to promote content, and sponsored content on other people’s websites.
“What are the top 3 most popular types of content marketing? Which are most effective?” is among marketers’ Top 100 Questions about content marketing.
You’ll find the Top 100 Questions and answers here.
What’s your top question about content marketing? I’d love to hear it.
As a marketing change agent, I consult with clients, lead content marketing workshops for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and write the weekly Simplify Marketing blog.
With experience from Fortune 500 companies such as AT&T, RR Donnelley and Tellabs, I've been named:
- Content Marketer of the Year by the Content Marketing Institute.
- Best Marketer by BtoB magazine.
- A B-to-B CMO to watch by Fierce CMO.