The content consumption gap: An emerging content marketing challenge

B2B content consumption trends suggest a need for improved content formats

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Congratulations – you just deployed a big report that your team had been working on for what seemed like ages. But we hope it doesn’t dampen your spirits to know that, in many cases, your target buyers aren’t necessarily chomping at the bit to read it.

A new report from NetLine, “2022 State of B2B Content Consumption and Demand Report for Marketers,” sheds light on what it calls the “Consumption Gap” – the time it takes between when an executive requests or downloads a report or asset, and when they actually read or watch it.

The data, in brief:

Per NetLine’s report, “The average time it took for professionals to consume content grew from 29.7 hours to 33.3 hours—a 3.6-hour increase.” It was the third year in a row that this metric increased. NetLine’s data spans several job titles and seniority levels: Owners and C-Suite executives saw their average time increase just as much as that of managers and more junior employees.

Meanwhile, there is a continuing increase in the amount of content targeted to B2B audiences: Overall B2B content consumption increased by more than 9%. There’s a good chance that key buyers in target accounts have business needs that could be served by content, but due to the increasing pool of information available to them, their attention span is likely reduced.

What can you do about it?

NetLine’s report also details the most common content formats and their relative performance in terms of registrations per asset. Content formats such as white papers, eBooks and guides are widely used, while cheat sheets and tips are less frequently produced. 

The relative success (or lack thereof) of these formats suggests opportunities to help bridge the consumption gap with your target buyers. Based on NetLine’s format data, we have four takeaways for your content strategy:

  1. Aim for brevity: The longer and weightier your assets, the more time it will take buyers to consume your content.
  2. Follow up for impact: Plan for check ins with buyers on the other side of the Consumption Gap to make sure they have the information they need.
  3. Experiment with new formats: The numbers suggest that some fresh, lesser-utilized formats (such as cheat sheets and tips) – which have outsized impact in terms of conversion – could stand out to key buyers.
  4. Remix existing content and insights: White papers and webinars that didn’t get critical audience attention on their first run can be repackaged for a second attempt at buyer resonance.

Unsure whether your old (or new) content is having an impact? Reach out to us for more info.


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