Content marketing is being hyped right now, usually by people who have something to gain, but according to our preliminary research, (n=677) people are using their Internet time to go to bookmarked sites. Consumers simply don’t have the time to read all the content that’s out there, but brands are convinced that content marketing has an ROI.
We conducted research of a large consumer products good company that wanted to know just how deep they should get into content. In addition, we set up a duplicate website that was served up to ever fifth visitor that had a lot of content. The results weren’t even close: the website without the content had better engagement metrics, including the number of page views, time on site, and time on “targeted pages”. Obviously, for this product a content strategy was not going to work so we decided to do some qualitative research and here is what we found;
1ne: Internet users first go to bookmark sites and on the sites they go to social media sites have the highest engagement (time on site).
2wo: Content has different uses to different audiences, but if they are looking for answers to specific questions they start at a search engine and usually it’s organic search results that are clicked on.
3hree: [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]For the first time we heard the term “Internet fatigue” from Millennials[/inlinetweet]. When asked to define that term, they said “they were tired of spending time going to random sites (i.e. surfing the web). For them using chat, email, and social media is different from “surfing the web”.
4our: [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Millennials were more likely to be skeptical of content sponsored by brands[/inlinetweet] and would often “fact check” claims and look for more information.
5ive: When asked about content online a vast majority said “they can’t keep up with everything”. Brands were ranked very low in “content I would like to follow”.
6ix: More content is “consumed” on laptops and desktops than on mobile devices.
Does this mean that content marketing is as dead as an Adam Sandler movie? No. It just means that marketers need to understand just how much interaction consumers want with them. Providing recipes and “how to articles” can indeed be beneficial, but only when consumers need them, not as a way to increase engagement.