Aussie marketers struggling to be effective with content marketing

New CMI and ADMA report finds local marketers are feeling less effectiveness about their content marketing programs this year, but that having a documented strategy is of huge benefit

Australian marketers are feeling less effective when it comes to content marketing, and many are still struggling to demonstrate its ROI to the organisation, a new report claims.

According to the fifth annual Content Marketing in Australia 2015: Benchmarks, Budgets and trends, produced by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and ADMA, 29 per cent of Australian marketers rated their use of content marketing as effective, down from 33 per cent last year.

However, the ratio rose to 44 per cent across those with a document content marketing strategy (37 per cent of total respondents). A further 46 per cent said they had a content marketing strategy that it was verbal only.

The report also found 39 per cent of respondents now maintain a dedicated content marketing group, 27 per cent of which work horizontally across the organisation and 12 per cent as an independent unit. The report authors noted the most effective marketers are more likely to have a dedicated group for content marketing (54 per cent).

Across the pool of respondents, the largest percentage (25 per cent) said product marketing is responsible for content marketing . On average, content marketing accounts for 27 per cent of the total marketing budget, and nearly two-thirds will increase spending in the next 12 months.

Key objectives for content marketing activities are engagement (87 per cent), brand awareness (85 per cent) and lead generation (79 per cent). Rounding out the top five were customer retention/loyalty (78 per cent) and sales (74 per cent). The report noted the most effective marketers placed a higher importance on the full spectrum of organisational goals, which also included lead nurturing, upsell/cross-sell and customer evangelism.

The top metric being used to gauge content marketing’s success is website traffic (60 per cent), followed by higher conversion rates (46 per cent) and sales (46 per cent). Overall, however, only 20 per cent believe they are successful at tracking content marketing’s ROI, and 13 per cent said they still did not track at all.

Having a documented content marketing strategy clearly drove positivity, and 33 per cent of those who maintained such a strategy said they were successful at understanding’s content’s ROI to the business.

Across the board, 74 per cent of respondents created more content in the last 12 months, a decrease of 7 per cent year-on-year. On average, Australian marketers are targeting four audiences, increasing to five audiences in organisations with at least 1000 employees.

On average, 12 tactics are being used in content marketing, a list topped by social media content – other than blogs, articles on the brand website, and email newsletters. A rising star this year was in-person events, which are being used by 74 per cent of respondents and also ranked highest tactic in terms of effectiveness by 65 per cent of those surveyed.

Other strong content types for effectiveness included email newsletters (62 per cent), blogs (62 per cent), and whitepapers (61 per cent).

Read more: 7 CMOs share their content marketing dos and don'ts

When it comes to their challenges, half of Australian marketers said producing engaging content is the biggest hurdle. Other major inhibitors included lack of budget (48 per cent), producing content consistently (46 per cent) and measuring effectiveness (44 per cent).

Just shy of half of all respondents publish new content daily or multiple times per week, a figure that rose to 72 per cent across the most effective marketers surveyed.

The report also asked marketers to choose from a list of options on content marketing initiatives they’re working on now. Sixty-seven per cent are working on a better understanding of audience, as well as creating more engaging and higher-quality content, and 65 per cent are organising content on websites.

On the to-do list for the next year are measuring content marketing ROI, content curation strategy, and understanding/using content marketing technology.

The report was based on a global survey undertaken by CMI and ADMA which attracted 5167 recipients globally. The Australian breakdown was based on 251 responses.

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