How Covid-19 Changed B2B Content Marketing in 2020 (20+ IMPORTANT facts you should know)

How Covid-19 Changed B2B content marketing in 2019

In addition to the health impact of Covid-19, there have also been economic and commercial impacts being felt globally and across different industries.

B2B content marketing was not left out of this effect. In fact, only 6% of B2B marketers reported having made no changes to their content marketing strategies in response to the pandemic. 

This article summarizes 22 important facts – derived from this year’s B2B Content Marketing report by Content Marketing Institute, Marketing Profs, and ON24 – you can use to improve your content marketing strategy and stay ahead of your competition. 

You’ll see:

  • How B2B marketers are faring months into the pandemic. 
  • The changes they’ve had to make to remain relevant to B2B buyers. 

And, because we don’t want you scrolling around, hoping to find a statistic you’re looking for, we have organized them into a few different categories.

B2B Content Marketing and Covid-19

1. 70% of B2B marketers with a content marketing strategy made major or moderate adjustments to their strategy due to the pandemic. 

Impact of pandemic on B2B content marketing strategy chart

2. 22% of marketers view their Covid-19 related content marketing adjustment as short-term while 66% view them as both short- and long-term.

Nature of adjustments made to content marketing strategy as a result of pandemic

3. 83% of B2B marketers made quick changes to their content marketing in response to Covid-19. 

80% felt the changes were effective and 86% expected some of the changes to stay in effect for the foreseeable future.

B2B Marketers' Opinions About changes their organization made to content marketing in response to pandemic

4. Many B2B marketers changed their targeting/messaging strategy, editorial calendar, and distribution strategy in response to Covid-19

Content marketing changes B2B Organizations made in response to the pandemic

5. Four months into the pandemic, only 5% of B2B marketers reported their organization was extremely successful with content marketing in the last 12 months.

How B2B marketers rate their organization's overall level of content marketing success in last 12 months

B2B marketers who reported extremely/ very successful content marketing said the top two

factors contributing to that success were: 

  1. The value their content provides (83%) 
  2. The changes made to their Website (60%)

And B2B marketers who reported low levels of content marketing success (minimally/not at all successful) said it was mostly due to: 

  1. Content creation challenges (63%)
  2. Strategy issues (51%)
Factors B2B marketers attribute to their organization's Minimal/ lack of content marketing success in Last 12 Months

B2B Content Outsourcing Statistics

6. 49% of companies outsource at least one content marketing activity

This year, only 61% of large companies (1000+ employees) reported outsourcing their content marketing compared to 71% in 2019. 

Does Your B2B Organization Outsource any content marketing activities

7. Content creation accounts for 86% of outsourced content marketing activities. 

8. 69% of B2B marketers report that finding talent with subject-matter expertise is the biggest challenge when outsourcing


Top 5 challenges when seeking outsourced B2B content marketing help

B2B Content Creation Statistics

9. 88% of B2B organizations use analytics tools to assist with content marketing. 

As a result of the work-from-home situation in 2020, use of content creation/collaboration/workflow technologies has increased to 58% from 48%.

Technologies B2B orgnaizations use to assist with content marketing

During the content creation process, 78% of B2B marketers use keyword research tools for search engine optimization (SEO) while only 22% use fact-checking procedures/tools.

Editorial tools B2B marketers use while creating content

10. Blog posts and email newsletters are the top content types for B2B organizations in 2020

  • Use of in-person events decreased by 31% (from 42% to 73%)
  • Use of virtual events, webinars or online courses increased by 10% (from 57% to 67%)
  • Use of live streaming content increased by 19% (29% from 10%)

11. Blog posts and virtual events/webinars/online courses produced the best overall content marketing results for B2B organizations in the last 12 months.

B2B marketers reported that blog posts/short articles and virtual events/webinars/online courses (both tied at 22%) produced the best overall content marketing results for their organization in the last 12 months.

Other content types used in last12 months: 

  1.  Digital Magazines (16%)
  2. Print Magazines (11%) 
  3. Print Books(5%) 
  4. Other (5%).

B2B Content Distribution Statistics

12. 32% of B2B marketers said their organization has established an online community.

 27% of the organizations who have not established an online community say they are likely to within the next 12 months, while another 48% say they are unlikely. 

Has your B2B organization established an online community 

How likely is your B2B organization to establish an online community in the next 12 months

13. The top three organic content distribution channels B2B marketers use are social media platforms (89%), email (87%), and their organization’s website/blog (86%).

Since the pandemic, the use of guest posts and media influencers have both decreased by 10%. 

  • Use of guest Posts or articles fell from 48% in 2019 to 38% in 2020.
  • Use of media influencers fell from 34% in 2019 to 24% in 2020.
Organic content distribution channels B2B marketers used in last 12 months

14. 69% of B2B content marketers say that LinkedIn generated the best overall organic content marketing results for their organization

Organic social media platforms B2B content marketers used in Last 12 months

15. The use of paid content marketing channels has dropped by 12% (72% vs 84% last year) in the last 12 months.

Did your organization use any paid content distribution channels for content marketing purposes in the last 12 months

B2B marketers said search engine marketing (SEM)/pay-per-click (33%) and social media

advertising/promoted posts (29%) produced the best overall content marketing results for their organizations in 2020. 

As a result, there was a significant increase in the use of social media advertising and search engine marketing.

  • Use of social media advertising/promoted posts increased to 83% from 60%
  • Use of search engine marketing (SEM)/pay-per-click increased to 65% from 51%
Paid content distribution channels B2B marketers used in Last 12 months

16. LinkedIn is the most used paid social media content promotion platform for B2B marketers in the last 12 months. 

Paid social media platforms B2B content marketers used in last 12 months

B2B Content Marketing Metrics and Goals 

17. 81% of B2B marketers report their organization uses metrics to measure content performance. 

Does your B2B organization use metrics to measure content performance?

18. Website traffic is the most used metric in measuring content marketing performance.

Metrics B2B organizations tracked to measure content performance in last 12 months

B2B Content Marketing Budgets and Spending

19. 24% of B2B marketers have shifted traditional paid advertising dollars to content marketing in the last 12 months.

20. 53% of B2B marketers did not change their 2020 content marketing budget in response to the pandemic.

B2B Content Marketing Insights for 2021 

21. Only 5% of B2B marketers believe that the pandemic will not have an overall effect on their content marketing success in 2021

22. The top predicted areas for content marketing investment in 2021 are content creation (70%) and website enhancements (66%)

Top 5 areas of content marketing B2B marketers think their organization will invest in during 2021

Is your content marketing strategy Covid-19 friendly? 

91% of B2B marketers believe that Covid-19 will have an overall effect on their content marketing strategy in 2021. To avoid being left behind, you must start planning now. 

The statistics in this article give you an idea of the kind of content B2B buyers will consume, in what format they want this content, where they’re most likely to see it, and how best to measure your ROI. 

You can use this information to stay a step ahead of your competition by Studying each stat and creating a content marketing strategy that aligns with the current B2B content marketing best practices.

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