State of Content Marketing and Social Media [2017]

state of the inbound marketing

HubSpot released a report about the state of inbound marketing in 2017. The report was based on a survey of 6,000+ professionals, who were familiar with their company’s marketing strategy. With direct mail, telemarketing and trade shows, outbound marketing has gradually lost its effectiveness (and importance!) in the marketing strategies of companies of all sizes. So has inbound marketing been any better? You bet.

inbound marketing top priorities

State of Content Marketing key findings:

  1. With respect to SEO as the top overall priority, one respondent summed up their main challenge: “Google makes a lot of changes to their search algorithms, and it impacts websites and SEO.” The changing technology landscape will continue to keep marketing teams on their toes. 61% of respondents consider SEO their top priority. Marketers are focused on improving their SEO presence, creating more blog content (53%) that can be found via search, and distributing and amplifying content.
  2. Marketers today find generating traffic and leads to be their biggest challenge. 63% of respondents selected this as their top answer. Lead generation was followed by proving ROI (40%) and securing budget for marketing programs (28%). The write-in responses show marketers are facing a very wide swath of issues, from figuring out strategy to social conversion to analytics to staffing.
  3. 46% of marketing respondents found that inbound campaigns yielded higher ROI compared to outbound campaigns, yet 41% of respondents either could not answer the question or could not calculate ROI. The inability to measure ROI will be a hindrance for marketing teams trying to prove their value or advocate for higher budgets.
  4. Video is one of the top-cited disruptors in our survey. Many see video as a great channel to better connect with a prospect, while others fret that video will make their day jobs obsolete.

The difference in marketing ROI between inbound and outbound marketing:

inbound marketing roi

The difference between the Cost Per Lead of inbound/outbound marketing has been understood by marketers as well. When compared to the average inbound marketing budget last year, this year budgets for inbound marketing have been increasing, while the overall budgets for outbound channels have been steadily decreasing. Businesses rate every inbound lead generation channel as being more important than any outbound channel. This trend will be continued in years to come, and agencies are offering only outbound marketing services have been steadily losing their clientele.

inbound marketing budgets

The trend to focus more on inbound marketing rather than outbound is especially seen in smaller companies. With not much to spend on TV advertising, they have no choice but to turn more of their attention to social media, Facebook being the most popular from the group.

Customer acquisition through blogs is directly related to frequency of blog posts

Although it has been common knowledge for a while, the survey gives statistical evidence that the more you blog, the better are your chances of attracting that necessary customer. We have also seen the same trend among our own clients. If they have taken blogging seriously and devoted some time to it, then it has paid off. An interesting finding from the survey is that almost all companies blogging multiple times a day have acquired clients through their blog. But daily blogging isn’t your only way of attracting customers. Over 50% of companies blogging only once a week have still acquired customers through their blogs. Not bad for an hour a week. And what the data tells us, the frequency of blogging once a week is also the most common approach among companies.

inbound marketing lead quality

Traditional outbound marketing techniques have been losing their effectiveness. People are spending increasingly more of their time in social networks, so these are the places to go to. Shouting out and hoping people will hear you, is not working anymore. What works is initiating a real conversation with your client and hearing what they have to say. Whether you do that through giving out good advice or something else, is yours to decide.

Download the full report here

Priit Kallas

Priit is the founder and CEO of DreamGrow Digital, an internet marketing and social media company. With his 20+ years internet marketing experience he is Helping companies to understand and use the digital marketing to reach their target audiences. He's also writing on a personal growth website He has spoken at hundreds of seminars and conferences on different aspects of internet marketing. Priit is also the organizer of Digital Elite Camp, a leading traffic and conversion event.