Content Marketing in Australia 2016: Creating engaging content remains the big challenge!

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Producing content that engages audiences is the critical content marketing challenge currently faced by Australian businesses. 

According to the just-released Content Marketing in Australia 2016: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends Report, 69 per cent of Australian marketers find producing engaging content challenging.

Indeed, 84 per cent of those surveyed said their top priority for the next year will be to create more engaging content. This augurs well for savvy content creators!

Content Marketing in Australia 2016 reports on the findings gathered from the annual content marketing survey conducted by Content Marketing Institute and The Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) and sponsored by ‘made by Fairfax Media’. This reports presents findings from the 146 for-profit marketers  in Australia who responded to the survey conducted in July and August 2015.

Other key takeaways indicate Australian marketers are becoming more savvy about the strategic aspects of content marketing, although the issue of effectiveness left the report’s authors scratching their heads (read more here): 

  • 55 per cent of Australian marketers say their organisations are clear on what an effective or successful content marketing program looks like (although interestingly, just 28 per cent say their organisations are effective at content marketing).
  • Australian marketers have made progress over the past year in terms of documenting their content marketing strategy – 46 per cent have a documented content marketing strategy compared to 37 per cent last year.
  • Australian marketers reported higher levels of effectiveness for nearly all of the content marketing tactics, social media platforms, and paid methods of content promotion/distribution they use.


Of interest are some of the tactical findings:

  • In-person events (72 per cent), social media content and video (both 70 per cent) are the most effective content marketing tactics used by marketers in Australia. However, I find blogs – at 69 per cent – to be on the high side; certainly there is a dearth of good corporate blogs in this country so I’m quite surprised at how high this figure is in terms of supposed effectiveness.
  • I’m impressed that webinars/webcasts come in at 59 per cent – as a country we’re only just starting to become more sophisticated when it comes to webinars so expect this number to explode in coming years.
  • Books/ebooks at 58 per cent effectiveness caught me by surprise, not because of their effectiveness (I don’t doubt this for a second, they’re terrific!) but the fact marketers are hunkering down and producing them at all impresses me; long-form content like books require energy and commitment and somehow seem at odds with marketers’ desire for quick and easy content that moves the needle.

If we look at the chart below (tactic usage):

  • I wonder whether some of the ‘articles on website’ responses – at 87 per cent – might actually be blog posts and if so, the usage of blogs at 74 per cent could well be much higher, which is interesting.
  • Use of illustrations and photos is prevalent at 85 per cent, but their effectiveness (in the chart above) sits at just 57 per cent, so there’s a bit of a disconnect there.
  • In-person events are deemed to be the most effective tactic according to the report, but they’re not used as much. Will we see a swing back to events next year?


Social media effectiveness (see chart below)

And finally, I’m very surprised with the results of the content marketing effectiveness ratings for the major social media platforms:

  • I would have expected Facebook to be a lot higher given the sophistication of its hyper-targeting advertising platform – maybe marketers are still relying on organic reach and not paying to amplify their content efforts? This could be one reason and if it is, it’s only going to get harder for those marketers to get value from the platform if they’re not willing to put dollars behind their content marketing.
  • Twitter in second place is interesting – I’m not confident there are too many brands in Australia using Twitter effectively so am interested to hear what benefits marketers are getting from the platform.
  • LinkedIn in top spot is great news. I’m a LinkedIn advocate and I think the platform has a lot to offer marketers. However, with LinkedIn high and Facebook low in the effectiveness stakes suggests respondents to this research report are potentially skewed business-to-business versus consumer-facing brands.


The last word …

joe pulizziBut I’ll leave the last word to Joe Pulizzi (left), founder, Content Marketing Institute and author of the report:

“Australian marketers made progress over the last year with documenting their content marketing strategy and appear to be doing several things well; however, their overall effectiveness with content marketing is stagnant compared with last year,”  says Joe.

“One of the keys to success moving forward will be to ensure that the content they create is consistently delivering value.”

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