One of the most notable changes in content marketing in 2019 is the shift in how it is being used by companies. According to Omar Ahktar, a digital marketing analyst at Altimeter Group, a Prophet Company,

Companies are now using content to do more than create awareness or brand health. They’re using it to directly drive revenue, become more cost-efficient and personalize the customer experience. Which is to say, they’re using content marketing to do far more than marketing.

Ahkbar’s survey, The 2018 State of Digital Content, discovered five key findings from the results of the survey which was sent out in “August 2018, with 400 respondents across North America, Europe (France, UK and Germany) and China, from companies with at least 1000 employees.”

1. Proving the Business Impact of Content

The survey pointed out that 81 percent of respondents agreed or somewhat agreed that they were able to directly track revenue generated by content and only 9 percent said they had difficulty proving the impact of content. These results raise the bar for all company’s expectations, because with the right tools, they too should be able to measure the impact of their content marketing on their own revenue.

2. Interactions are More Effective Than Reach

Ahkbar states, “When we first conducted the survey in 2016, reach (37%) and engagement (36%) were the most popular ways to measure the performance of content. In 2018, while engagement (defined as clicks, comments, or shares) is still favored as the top metric (30%), reach (12%) is far less popular. Instead, companies are using more financially-focused metrics such as efficiency (23%) and conversions (23%) to measure the success of their content strategies.”

Engagement is the #1 top way to measure content’s performance. This continues to look to the higher expectations of deployed content, and how companies are using content marketing to generate leads, save money and drive people to convert and purchase.

3. Product-Focused Content Performs the Best

While many PR and marketing professionals may be dismayed at hearing this, product-focused content at 29 percent performed better than any other kind of content including brand-focused content (18 percent), thought leadership or subject matter expertise (25 percent), or company-focused content (17 percent) designed to promote transparency and loyalty. These results are significant because it proves that customers like the content that generally isn’t developed by marketing and PR teams. However, when split by industry, service industries such as finance, banking and healthcare showed that thought leadership performed better and in the retail and manufacturing industries, product-focused content was the clear leader. These results indicated that companies that are making a product should publish product-focused content while service industry companies should provide helpful content to offer customers information to assist in decision-making.

4. Video Content is King

Another fact from the survey is that Short-Form Video is the best performing content format right now. In other words, it is the top performing type of content in every industry across the globe. Video under two minutes long ranked first, with Still Images coming in second place. These results prove that continuing to invest in short-form videos in 2019 and 2020 will provide the best ROI even though many channels are flooded with videos and images.

5. Technical Expertise and Data are Preferred

Even with the trend of preferring video content, statistics show that data is more important than creativity. In other words, you might have the best videographer in the word, but if you don’t provide hard data and know-how, customers aren’t interested. Data analysis (41 percent), project management (3 percent) and marketing automation expertise (37% percent) were the most looked-for skills for new hires in 2019.

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