Study: What Kind of Content Gets People to Buy?

A study by Blue Nile Research has taken on the enormous task of answering the following questions:

  • What content really compels people to buy?
  • What channels do consumers use to make a buying decision?
  • How does that differ when making a B2C purchase versus B2B?

Over 500 US sources were surveyed. The study sought to “better close the gap between published research on what marketers do and what actually works.”

Creating engaging content is a major part of SEO. But creating the right kind of content is even more important. Let’s take a look and see what kind of content leads to the buying process.

What B2B and B2C Buyers Want to See

These days, buyers do a lot of research before making a purchase. Try it—just type a product or brand into Google. You’ll get page upon page of websites trying to connect you with what you’re looking for. But if you click on them, these sites show many different kinds of results. Different kinds of content are targeted toward B2B and B2C buyers. But did these hold up in the research?

The test paired up different headlines to different content types. The survey takers then decided which headline they were most likely to click on. Here are the results:

B2B and B2C want data and stats. B2B buyers chose the headline containing hard facts and statistics 46% of the time, while B2C buyers chose it 45%. Buyers cited being able to “compare specifications” and price as a factor.

This could be because the info that buyers are looking for is immediately apparent in the headline. In the interest of time, data and stats are suited for our fast-moving Internet culture. With so much content demanding our attention, it’s understandable that buyers would want to get the info and get on with their lives. In this regard, the best kind of content is that which serves their needs right away.

B2C buyers like blog posts way more than B2B buyers. B2C clients say the “personal experiences” and “recommendations” they get from blogs help influence their buying decision. If you think about it, this makes pretty good sense. Consumer buyers could be more willing to buy a recommendation from a source they trust. Showing off products in an interesting way is a blogger’s bread and butter. It wouldn’t take much to influence a buying decision if it was coming from a blogger you trust.

B2B buyers prefer videos compared to B2C buyers. This one may be a bit hard to wrap your head around, but stay with us. B2B buyers like videos because they’re “to the point.” That’s true for B2C buyers too. But videos are more significant for B2B buyers because of “explainer videos.” These are used to break down complex business products into more understandable terms. Kind of like how whitepapers are inherently useful documents, but you wouldn’t give them to clients. For businesses, though, they’re a no-brainer.

Infographics aren’t as compelling as you think. What’s not to like about info-graphics? They’re  self-contained nuggets of information, all packed into one convenient image. If they go viral, they can expose your brand to thousands of eyes. But only 10% of respondents chose this headline. This suggests that virility isn’t a reliable conversion factor. This is one example of content that has all the right pieces in place but is best kept at the top of the marketing funnel.

The most compelling content by Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Client (B2C). Data/stats: 45% (B2C)/46% (B2B); Blog Posts: 30% (B2C)/18% (B2B); Video: 11% (B2C)/18% (B2B); Infographic: 9% (B2C)/10% (B2B); Images: 6% (B2C)/8% (B2B).

(Image source: Blue Nile Research)

How Should You Use This Data for Content Creation?

The takeaway from all this is that you need to diversify your content. Content creation companies should be smart about putting out content to meet every need. There’s no sense in going all-in on data-heavy whitepapers when you can attract more creative minds by writing a blog post. By that same point, a video can work for all audiences, but then again, so can a really good info-graphic. Remember, although data and stats was the most compelling content type, it was not an overwhelming majority.

Of course, the study only shows what people would choose when asked. The type of content buyers choose when they’re on the hunt may differ quite a bit. But this study does get us closer to understanding how to give what buyers want. And that’s what we’re all about.

Creating tailor-made content for your website is a vital part of a search engine optimization strategy. So let’s work together and give your customers what they want.

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