New Report: Key Trends in B2B Content Consumption


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The lead generation experts at NetLine just released their “2024 State of B2B Content Consumption & Demand Report,” a meaty 38-page guide based on data from more than 6 million content registrations.  Here are the findings that stand out as potentially having the most significance for demand marketers:

According to the report, user demand for gated B2B content rose 14.3% YOY, up 77% since 2019, a contradiction for those who would have us believe that forms are a thing of the past.  Even in the throes of an uncertain economic climate, B2B buyers’ appetite for quality gated content shows no sign of abating. As ever, a mix of gated and ungated content is always the best strategy.

Ebooks remain the most popular format for B2B content, representing 39.5% of all demand.  Here again, this runs contrary to the pundits lobbying for more video and interactive content.  Instead, NetLine’s data suggests that buyers prefer the convenience of a format that is easy to download and consume at their leisure.  This is especially true for C-level contacts, who overwhelmingly opt for short-form, easily digestible content like cheat sheets and executive guides.

One exception to this: on-demand Webinars.  They were only the eighth most popular content format according to NetLine’s report, but demand grew 56.7% YOY.  This is a healthy reminder that no one format works for every buyer or persona or audience, and a mix of formats, even if it’s leveraging the same source content, is the best approach – for example, a Webinar that exists in live and recorded format, short-form video, infographic, and blog post.

NetLine reports that the “consumption gap” – the time between when content is requested and when that same content is opened – increased YOY from 28.7 hours to 31.2.  It’s long been a truism in B2B marketing leads should receive follow-up communication immediately, and that speed of response is a critical factor for conversion rates.  That may still hold true for demo requests or “contact us” forms, but NetLine’s data suggests that, for early-stage content: ebooks, Webinars, white papers – marketers may be better off waiting as much as two days before triggering a follow-up email or sales call. 

One possible reason for this apparent delay in consumption – as NetLine points out – is the growing prevalence of buying committees, particularly in the enterprise space, and thus the need for more people, and more time, to review content assets and product research.  This trend also highlights the need for marketers to tailor content to both buyers and influencers: IT, Finance, Operations, and so on.

Interestingly, three formats were deemed most likely to be associated with a buying decision within 12 months: playbooks, case studies, and trend reports.  Case studies have long been viewed as mid-stage or late-stage offers, but playbooks and trend reports are more often regarded as thought leadership, and not necessarily high-intent.  If NetLine’s data holds true, this suggests more marketers should be adding playbooks and trend reports to their content development plans.

The “2024 State of B2B Content Consumption & Demand Report” can be downloaded from the NetLine Website (registration required). 

Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Howard Sewell
Howard has worked in marketing for 25+ years, and is president of Spear Marketing Group, a full-service B2B marketing agency. Howard is a frequent speaker and contributor to marketing publications on topics that include demand generation, digital marketing, ABM, and marketing technology.


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