There’s no question that content is shaping the marketing landscape globally but how is Irish content marketing really doing? A survey conducted by the Marketing Institute of Ireland and 256 Media is the first to establish the state of content marketing in Ireland and how it compares to international markets, and it finds that Irish marketers appear to be still getting to grips with this relatively new discipline.
Content marketing is beginning to make an impact with Irish marketers who spend 22% of their marketing budgets on content marketing currently, compared with a UK market figure of 26%. However, with 75% of Irish marketers intent on increasing their content marketing spend in the next year, this budget gap looks likely to close.
79% of marketers consider content marketing to be important, with 76% saying they have a content marketing strategy (compared to 87% of UK marketers). However, only 48% have documented their content marketing strategy (though this is about 10% higher than our counterparts in Australia, the UK and the US).
Customer engagement was rated the highest in terms of strategic intent in Ireland, followed by lead generation and website traffic growth.
The most used content assets are social media (used by 92%), followed by articles on website (74%), video (70%) and enewsletters (66%). Interestingly, blogs are used by just 51%, which is significantly lower than international norms (85% of UK marketers use blogs).
92% of Irish marketers view social media as the most important tactic, with Twitter (52%) found to be the most effective channel. Twitter also featured as the highest ranking social media platform in the UK, and the US while in Australia, LinkedIn was most popular.
Those with a documented (as opposed to just verbal) content marketing strategy, are more likely to consider their efforts effective, and to use personas, to produce more content, to increase their content spend, to use external resources, to have a dedicated team member responsible, to use content management software, to know what they are spending, and to measure their efforts. However, a lack of time, budget, and resources are proving to be a big drain on content efforts and marketing teams the world over.
Commenting on the survey, Tom Trainor, Chief Executive of The Marketing Institute, said “We are delighted to have this first insight into the state of content marketing in Ireland, as it allows us to benchmark ourselves versus other markets where content marketing is more established. The results point to significant opportunities for Irish marketers to enhance their return on investment in this area. This is important as only 26% of Irish marketers rated their content marketing efforts as effective compared to 42% of their UK peers.”
Karen Hesse, Managing Director of 256 Media, said “This survey suggests that Irish marketers are enthusiastic about content marketing but still getting to grips with the discipline. We see scope for improvement in how we are approaching our content strategy, implementation, use of technology and measurement of return on investment in order to drive better returns from our increasing spend. This is evident from the fact that only 42% use Buyer Personas, a staple of content marketing, to inform their efforts.”
- Irish marketers are spending 22% of their marketing budget on content marketing. This compares to an equivalent figure of 26% in the UK;
- 75% of respondents are producing more content than in the same period of last year;
- 56% intend to increase or significantly increase their spending on content in the next 12 months. B2C companies are particularly likely to significantly increase this investment.
- 67% of respondents (versus 87% of UK marketers) report having a content marketing strategy in place. 26% have no strategy, 6% aren’t sure;
- 48% have not documented their content marketing strategy, while 48% have;
- The number one strategic objective for content marketing was customer engagement, followed by sales/lead generation and website traffic.
- The most used content tactic is social media (utilised by 92% of respondents), followed by articles, then video;
- Blogs are used by just 51%, which is significantly lower than international norms (85% of UK marketers use blogs).
- Irish marketers rated the effectiveness of their use of content marketing at 3.05 on a 5-point scale where 1 represented ‘not at all’ and 5 represented ‘extremely’ effective;
- Only 26% of Irish marketers rate their content marketing efforts as ‘successful’ or ‘extremely successful’. This compares to 42% in the UK;
- The most effective content tactics aren’t necessarily the ones that marketers are using;
- Twitter is rated the most effective social media channel.
- 53% have a dedicated person (or team) in-house who is responsible for content marketing strategy;
- 43% are producing content internally only;
- Only 14% use content marketing management software (such as Hubspot or Marketo);
- 80% are outsourcing design, 34% writing.
The biggest challenge is ‘not enough time’, cited by 72% of respondents, followed by ‘producing engaging content, cited by 56%.
- 48% measure their return on investment on content marketing;
- 44% find it a challenge to measure their return;
Those with a documented content marketing strategy are more likely to consider their efforts effective and to:
- use personas;
- produce more content;
- increase their content spend;
- use external resources;
- have a dedicated team member responsible;
- use content management software;
- know what they are spending;
- measure their efforts.