2018 Content Preferences Survey Report.
Demand Gen Report has conducted the content preferences survey annually for the past six years to gain insights regarding how B2B buyers use content in the buying process and what types of content they prefer. The 2018 survey produced 168 responses from B2B marketing and sales professionals. Ninety percent of the respondents hold C-level, VP-level, director-level, or manager-level positions.
The 2018 survey revealed that content continues to play a vital role in the purchasing process. Thirty-eight percent of the survey respondents said they consume five or more pieces of content when making a purchase decision, and another 40% reported consuming between three and five pieces of content.
Research by other firms has shown that business buyers are becoming more selective about the content they consume, and the 2018 Content Preferences Survey also provides evidence for this increased selectivity. Demand Gen Report asked survey participants to indicate their agreement with this statement: "I place a higher emphasis on the trustworthiness of source." In the 2018 survey, 78% of respondents strongly agreed with the statement, up from 75% in the 2017 edition of the survey.
The content preferences surveys have also consistently shown that business buyers want content that is authoritative and evidence-based. In each survey, participants were asked what recommendations they would give to improve the quality of the content provided by B2B vendors. Demand Gen Report provided a list of possible recommendations, one of which was: Use more data and research to support content." The following table shows the percentage of respondents who strongly agreed with this recommendation:
Buyers' desire for content that is objective and authoritative is also reflected in the types of content they give more credence to. The following table shows the percentage of respondents in the 2018 survey who said they occasionally or frequently give credence to five types of content:
As the table shows, these survey respondents are most likely to give credence to content created by users and content authored by a third-party publication or analyst. They view vendor-created content as least credible, but even so, 61% of the respondents said they would occasionally or frequently give credence to such content.
Most of the findings of the 2018 Content Preferences Survey aren't particularly surprising, but they do provide support for several established principles of content marketing. Specifically, this research demonstrates the value of using third-party content and the importance of creating content that is credible and authoritative.
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