Source: 2015 Content Marketing and Data Intelligence, A CMA Industry Report – Content Marketing and Data Intelligence

Whether it’s for B2B or B2C campaigns, content marketing has come of age, and organisations are looking for new insights to maximise the return on their investment. Already, one quarter (25%) of marketing spend goes to content creation and execution according to a new industry report from the Content Marketing Association in the UK.

An interesting piece of research in the report asked a group of PhD researchers to gauge not only what type of pages and formats delivered the best organic content amplification for websites, but lift the lid on the user incentives for content engagement. According to the citation audit, the top motivational factors why people shared content was due to its practical value (35%), followed by the desire to develop their own personal brand online (31%), and timely relevance (15%).

The most-shared page types included editorial (27%), corporate social responsibility / charity (20%) and press / news pages (17%). This was followed by content hubs (14%). By contrast, company information (3%) and product pages (6%) hardly attracted any shares.

The research explains the popularity of editorial content (especially how-to guides) with its longevity, but it also links back to above mentioned psychological drivers. People congregate to online content that delivers practical value and makes them appear knowledgeable. The newsroom is one of the most frequently updated and as such SEO-friendly pages of a website, and you would expect a fair amount of user engagement due to its timely relevance.

It is more surprising how well CSR-related content fared – an area often neglected as it doesn’t serve a “hard selling” purpose for specific products or services. For digital marketers these findings present an opportunity to better communicate brand values through a company’s CSR activities.

In terms of the most-shared content formats, the audit underlined the importance, and possibly revival (if it has ever gone away), of written editorial with 37% of shares. But audio-visual formats are catching up fast, with images (e.g. image rolls, memes) and video already accounting for 33% and 25% of shares respectively. As outlined in the CMA report, this is particularly relevant in the context of changing content consumption and engagement patterns on mobile devices.