Sunday, May 12, 2024

[Research Round-Up] The Latest From NetLine On B2B Content Consumption

(This Research Round-Up discusses the 2024 B2B content consumption report from NetLine Corporation. NetLine publishes this report annually, and it consistently provides a wealth of real-world insights about how business professionals actually consume marketing content.)

Source:  NetLine Corporation
Virtually all B2B companies are now using content marketing in several forms, and therefore understanding how business professionals consume content is now critical to marketing success. The 2024 State of B2B Content Consumption & Demand Report by NetLine Corporation provides valuable insights on this vital issue.

NetLine operates a content syndication platform, and this report is based on data from 6.2 million content registrations on the platform in 2023. The NetLine research is particularly valuable for two reasons.

First, it captures the real-world consumption behaviors of business professionals. The data used for the report was not derived from surveys or interviews but from actual engagements with B2B content.

And second, the report is based on first-party data. The business professionals who use the NetLine platform voluntarily share information about themselves and the organizations they work for in exchange for access to the content resources available on the platform.

For these reasons, the report contains a wealth of detailed information about content consumption behaviors, and I encourage you to review the full 38-page report.

Here are a few highlights from the report.

Content Consumption Continues Rising

As measured by registrations on the NetLine platform, overall B2B content consumption in 2023 increased by 14.3% compared to 2022 levels. NetLine's data shows that the total demand for B2B content has grown by 77% since the 2019 edition of the research. Content consumption by C-level executives is also still on the rise, growing by 7% year-over-year.

It's not surprising that demand for content about artificial intelligence exploded in 2023. The consumption of content relating to AI by NetLine registrants increased 5.5x year-over-year, and NetLine expects demand for AI content in 2024 will increase 1.9x over last year.

Most Popular Content Formats

The ten most requested content formats in 2023 were:

  1. eBooks
  2. Guides
  3. Cheat Sheets
  4. White Papers
  5. Research Reports
  6. Tips & Tricks Guides
  7. Articles
  8. Book Summaries
  9. On-Demand Webinars
  10. Live Webinars 
Collectively, these ten content formats accounted for 87% of all content registrations last year, and eBooks alone were 39.5% of total registrations. 

The Consumption Gap Widens
One of the more useful insights provided by the report relates to the consumption gap, which NetLine defines as the time between the moment content is requested and the moment it's opened for consumption. This data point is important because it provides a guide for timing follow-up contacts with potential buyers. After all, it makes little sense to contact a potential buyer about a content resource before he or she has reviewed the content.
In 2023, the average consumption gap was 31.2 hours, up from 28.7 hours in 2022. The consumption gap has varied over the past several years. The largest gap ever recorded by NetLine was 33.3 hours in 2021, while the smallest was 27.1 hours in 2018. The lesson here is that you should wait at least two days before you try to follow up with people who have viewed, listened to, or downloaded your content.
Content Consumption and Buyer Intent
For the past few years, NetLine's research has suggested that the content format a potential buyer chooses to consume is a good indicator of readiness to buy. In the latest analysis, NetLine identified six content formats that are more likely to be associated with a buying decision over the next year - playbooks, case studies, trend reports, analyst reports, white papers, and live webinars.
One format that is notably absent from this list is eBooks. Despite being the most frequently requested type of content last year, eBooks were not strongly associated with shorter-term purchase intention. This shouldn't be surprising because most eBooks are designed to appeal primarily to potential buyers who are in the early stages of the buying process.
The NetLine report contains several other valuable findings, and I recommend you take the time to read the full report.

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