B2B buyers consume an average of 13 content pieces before deciding on a vendor

A mix of first and third party content is required to seal the deal.

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The average B2B buyer’s journey involves consumption of 13 pieces of content. That’s the principal finding of a new survey from market research firm FocusVision. The company polled marketing executives at companies with at least 500 employees and $50 million in annual revenue who had purchased a martech solution in the past year.

A mix of 1st and 3rd party content. The 13 content pieces breaks down into an average of eight vendor-created pieces and five from third parties. This content ranges from video to blog posts, white papers and customer testimonials to software reviews and analyst reports.

According to the report, the B2B buying process takes on average two to six weeks and involves 3 – 4 internal decision makers. The top source of content was the vendor’s website, followed by search and social media. Asked “how did you find content,” these survey respondents said:

  • Directly through vendor website — 70%
  • Internet search — 67%
  • Social media  — 53%
  • Sent to me via email — 41%
  • Word of mouth — 33%

FocusVision identified four buying stages (and the content reviewed at each stage in the process): 1) understanding the problem, 2) looking for vendors, 3) short-listing and 4) final decision.

Content reviewed at each stage of the B2B buyer’s journey

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Source: FocusVision (2020)

Websites and peer reviews. The consumption of content is not entirely liner. Vendor websites, for example, are visited throughout the buyer’s journey. Peer reviews were consulted at the top and bottom of the funnel as well.

The most useful types of content to aid purchase decision-making were those that addressed: product specifications and functionality (67%), product comparisons (65%), product success stories (60%), content to specifically show value to internal stakeholders (54%), product tutorials (49%) and guidance on my problem/how to solve it (48%).

Larger companies, with revenues above $250 and $500 million, displayed some differences from the average according to FocusVision. Larger companies tended to rely more heavily on third party sources — third party websites, analyst reports and third party articles — probably because of their perceived independence.

Why we care. We know that content is incredibly important for ranking in search. It’s also critical for sales support. But this report makes clear there are a broad range of first and third party content types that are highly influential to B2B buyers. It also shows how critical the vendor website is in the buying process. Indeed, the report basically outlines a content strategy for the entire B2B buyer’s journey.

Contributing authors are invited to create content for MarTech and are chosen for their expertise and contribution to the martech community. Our contributors work under the oversight of the editorial staff and contributions are checked for quality and relevance to our readers. The opinions they express are their own.

About the author

Greg Sterling
Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land, a member of the programming team for SMX events and the VP, Market Insights at Uberall.

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