Content Marketing 2016 Data: How Companies Are Achieving Success

The primary goal of any content marketing strategy is engagement, which ultimately leads to sales. In any format, creating content that is compelling to prospects is the backbone of inbound marketing success. Ascend2 has released the results of their survey of international content marketers, providing strategic benchmarks and ideas for Canadian businesses. This data reveals the most effective types of content marketing and the challenges faced by content marketers.

The Most Important Goals of a Content Marketing Strategy

Many of the reported top goals of content creation are interrelated. One can impact the other, either directly or indirectly. For example, better search engine ranking leads to more visitors, which increases brand awareness, leads and sales.

  1. Lead generation 58%
  2. Increase engagement 55%
  3. Brand awareness 46%
  4. Improve lead nurturing 41%
  5. Increase sales 39%
  6. More website visitors 24%
  7. SEO / better search engine rank 20%

Content Marketing 2016: Most Important Goals

The Most Effective Content

89% of businesses said their content marketing effectiveness is on the rise and 35% said it has increased significantly.

  1. Research Reports 46%
  2. Blog posts 45%
  3. Videos and Podcasts 40%
  4. News and articles 35%
  5. Infographics 31%
  6. Webinars 30%
  7. Newsletters 29%

The Most Challenging Content to Create

It’s important to understand that using a wide variety of content types is beneficial, but utilizing every single format isn’t necessary. In fact, some content formats may not be suitable at all for your industry or niche.  That said, we should consider the unique preferences of Canadians.  Canada leads the world in online video consumption, for example, so it may be worth your while to invest in its production.

“There is something about the Canadian audience that makes them uniquely passionate about video,” Twitter’s Chief Operating Officer, Adam Bain, told the Financial Post.

You should also be aware that content marketing need not be expensive to produce results. Research reports, for example, can cost a lot of money if you hire a research company. However, some of the most popular research content utilizes several sources of information that is already available. Data can be gathered into a research report that is tailored for your specific target market. A Canadian example of this method is  Canadian Holiday Shopping Data: Who, What, Where, Why and How.

  1. Videos and podcasts 64%
  2. Research reports 62%
  3. Webinars 45%
  4. Infographics 35%
  5. Newsletters 12%
  6. News and articles 12%
  7. Blog posts 8%

Content Marketing 2016: Most Effective VS Most Difficult

Content Marketing Success Barriers

Based on the findings of this report, marketers are still struggling with the strategic use of content. Insufficient resources and budget may indicate that upper management isn’t totally sold on the importance of content in today’s world. That problem is amplified by the inability to quantify success.

All of the following barriers could be addressed by hiring an inbound marketing expert to work remotely, which reduces the cost of in-house hiring while still providing the same benefits. The best candidates can do it all, including content creation, social marketing and strategic planning. It’s important to remember that these experts don’t cost you money, they make you money, even if it is difficult to put a number on their success. Look around the Internet to find these rock stars and see them in action before approaching them.

  1. Lack of an effective strategy 48%
  2. Lack of content creation resources 48%
  3. Budget constraints 47%
  4. Inability to measure effectiveness 36%
  5. Lack of cross-channel integration 31%
  6. Lack of compelling content ideas 25%
  7. Lack of content variety 18%

Helpful Resources to Improve Your Content Marketing Success

B2B Content Marketing Coursesicon

Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses, by Joe Pulizzi

Content Machine: Use Content Marketing to Build a 7-figure Business With Zero Advertising, by Dan Norris

The Content Code: Six Essential Strategies to Ignite Your Content, Your Marketing, and Your Business, by Mark W. Schaefer

Comment on Canadians Internet Business Has your content marketing effectiveness in Canada been improving? Please share your experience or questions in the comments below.

✔ You may also be interested in reading:
B2B Blogging Guide: Best Practices
2016 Canadian Social Media Use and Online Brand Interaction (Statistics)
How to Use Content Marketing to Skyrocket Holiday Sales
Top 3D Cover Design Tools for eBooks, InfoProducts, Etc.
How to Develop Your Own Online Coaching Info-Products


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Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website | + posts

Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In over 20 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and eCommerce websites.

Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on, and, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.

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Chris Mlelchior

Great post. Yes, content is still king !! But only if it’s done right. As someone else commented, if it’s not done well, it can be a waste of time.

Interesting to see what types of content people find difficult. and which ones they find easy, I guess it also varies by industry . . . some topics might be easy to create video or infographics about, but others can be challenging.


I didn’t even know where to start with a strategy but you know what? It kind of writes itself as you go along. Maybe that’s not ideal though LOL

Bryan Clarke

I frantically created every kind of content out there for a couple of years at my old company because that’s what they wanted. I told them repeatedly it wouldn’t work and then they got rid of my position because it didn’t work LOL. You need a strategy and data data DATA! Very good advice.

gary v

Very handy benchmark data. Interesting that the top 7 types of content are really close in effectiveness eh?