Key SaaS content marketing statistics you must know:
- SaaS companies no longer perceive content as a good-to-have. In fact, a whopping 92% of marketers admit that their organizations view content as an important business asset.
- Similarly, SaaS companies that prioritize content marketing efforts see much higher growth rates than those that don’t. (source)
- Content creation remains the biggest challenge SaaS companies face when using content marketing to grow. This has been confirmed by numerous studies (I cite some of them further in the blog post.)
Can you imagine a full-blown SaaS marketing strategy without content?
Content has become one of the primary channels for SaaS brands to connect with customers, engage them, and convert them into users, after all.
But what if you haven’t started promoting your SaaS with content yet? What sort of results could you expect from content, actually? What are the challenges other companies face? And most importantly, what elements of content marketing help your competition grow so fast?
I decided to answer those and many similar questions startup founders have about SaaS content marketing, typically, with statistics and data.
And so, below, we’ll look at data on how SaaS companies use content, what kind of results they achieve, and what strategies work for those brands particularly well.
It’s going to be a lot.
The SaaS Market Potential
Let’s start by evaluating what’s possible.
Because you see, I don’t think there’s any point in looking at the results companies achieve with content without looking at the actual market potential for your SaaS.
The good news – That potential is huge. Plus, the market keeps on growing.
- A couple of years ago, for example, BetterCloud conducted research into SaaS adoption. The company discovered that the average number of SaaS applications being used by companies has doubled within two years between 2015-2017.
- Another research estimated that the overall SaaS market is growing at a staggering rate of 18% a year.
- What’s more, the same research estimates that by the end of 2021, 99% of companies will use at least one SaaS tool. And 78% of small businesses do so already.
There’s a strong reason why SaaS is dominating the software industry.
- The Subscription-pricing model makes it easier for smaller and larger companies to budget for and approve SaaS purchases, for one.
- SaaS products are much quicker to deploy. You can start using a SaaS app practically minutes after signing up, after all. In comparison, deployment of on-premises solutions may take weeks, if not longer.
- There are far more SaaS alternatives customers can evaluate and choose from. Not to mention that it’s far easier to find a SaaS product that targets your specific requirements or use case.
- SaaS companies can update, expand, and fix software practically on the fly. Just this one thing alone overcomes many of the sales objections customers have against buying new software.
- As a SaaS startup, you are in an amazing position to grow your business in a market that’s ready for more solution like yours.
The Value of Content Marketing for SaaS
Goes without saying, doesn’t it? The market is there, and growth opportunities for your SaaS abound.
But how well does content marketing work at helping SaaS brands attract more customers and growth?
- Let’s start with one of the biggest takeaways – According to ProfitWell, SaaS businesses that prioritize content marketing efforts see much higher growth rates than those that don’t.
- Here’s a specific example – One of Nectafy’s clients achieved a staggering 647% growth with just the content alone. This translated into $547000 in sales.
But achieving such results requires work, of course. And often, the ramp-up time can be slow.
In 2019 Emily Byford conducted research into the state of content marketing in the SaaS industry. She discovered that:
- 23% of SaaS blogs receive fewer than 500 visits per month
- An average SaaS blog receives 1800 organic visitors per month, and
- The best blog posts receive 321 organic visits per month.
Note the focus on organic traffic in Emily’s study.
It’s not a coincidence.
SEO is by far the no.1 source of traffic for SaaS brands.
- In his amazing analysis of SaaS traffic sources, Mike Sonders discovered that, apart from direct traffic, SEO beats all the other channels – email marketing, social media, etc. – by a mile.
(Image from Mike’s study)
A quick note on the direct traffic. As Mike points out in his study:
“Direct might look like it could be a big, important user acquisition channel, but don’t be misled.
In reality, there’s a relatively small number of new visitors who learn about a SaaS business (e.g., via an ad or word-of-mouth) and then type the business’s URL into a browser.”
Which leaves SEO as the primary driver of quality traffic.
- Similar research by SEMrush mirrors Mike’s findings. The company discovered that the majority of companies, including SaaS brands, focus primarily on SEO.
(Screenshot from the SEMrush study)
- Content can deliver incredible growth opportunities for your SaaS.
- Having said that, you need to invest significant amounts of time into achieving great results with content.
- For SaaS brands, content works particularly well when combined with SEO strategies.
TIP: Learn why SaaS SEO is a primarily content-led strategy from our guide to SaaS SEO
Content Marketing Adoption Among SaaS Brands
We covered whether it makes sense for you to invest in content, and what sort of market potential is there.
So, let’s now look at how many SaaS brands actually use content marketing for lead generation and growth.
- As it turns out, most established SaaS companies have at least some content strategy in place. According to Emily Byford’s study, only 15% of the world’s biggest SaaS brands don’t have a blog.
- What’s more, according to Content Marketing Institute, 92% of marketers view content as a very important business asset.
Of course, the data doesn’t immediately suggest that they use the blog for growth. So, what do those 85% of companies with blogs do with content?
- 36% of them, according to Emily’s study, use blogs to educate their audiences. In other words, those companies use content to connect with potential customers along the entire buyer’s journey.
- 20%, however, as we find in the same study, still use the blog to publish company-related content – company or product updates and so on. I’m sure it doesn’t need clarification that such an approach yields little business results.
The importance of having a documented content strategy.
You see, writing the strategy document may seem like a waste of time, particularly if you run a small SaaS startup. You know all this information anyway, right? You know your target audience, the market, and the topics to cover.
But here’s the thing – Knowing and having the strategy on paper are two different things. What’s more, conducting research to write the strategy means that you eliminate a lot of guesswork and working to assumptions.
Let me prove it to you with data. Year on year, the Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Benchmark report outlines the same situation:
- The majority of companies that are the most successful with content have a defined strategy.
- But only a handful of the least successful ones have it too.
Here’s the data from the latest report, for example.
- Content enjoys a huge adoption in the SaaS industry.
- The majority of established SaaS companies use content to some extent, although not all of them use it in a way that could boost their growth.
- This potentially leaves a huge gap in the market that your startup could fill in with quality SEO content.
What about making all this happen – producing content to drive the marketing strategy?
Well, as it turns out, that’s where the problem is.
Study after study confirms that content creation is the no.1 challenge for SaaS brands.
- Research by Zazzle Media, for example, discovered that 65% of marketers find it difficult to produce engaging content. 60% struggle with writing new content consistently.
We see similar findings in the SEMrush study I quoted earlier.
All top five content marketing challenges the study identified relate to creating content. See:
- 51% of marketers struggle to create content that generates the results they’re after
- 47% struggle with SEO content writing.
- 43% don’t know how to write content that resonates with their audience, and so on.
But wait, there’s more.
- The same study finds that content writing is the no.1 outsourced content marketing activity.
But it makes sense, actually.
Writing content is hard work.
For one, you need to put quite an effort into researching topics, keyword research, outlining, writing, getting the post ready for publication.
And the requirements for successful content are steep too.
- The average blog post published in 2019 was 1236 words, according to Orbit Media.
- However, it’s content beyond 2000 words that delivers the strongest results, as per the same source.
It’s no surprise that the amount of time we spend creating content is increasing every year.
Content Marketing Goals
Overall, companies turn to content to deliver a number of goals:
- Generate more leads
- Attract more traffic to the website
- Boost brand reputation, customer engagement, and loyalty, and more.
But how well are they doing?
Well, not too well, actually.
- 42% of SaaS blogs use a “subscribe to the newsletter” button to convert visitors.
- 25% link to relevant content on their sites as a means of converting readers. (Same source as above)
Needless to say, neither of those strategies delivers high conversion rates or is capable of delivering business results.
But that’s the blog. There are other ways to generate leads, of course, and SaaS companies seem to be availing of those quite well.
- 73% of SaaS companies use gated non-blog content to convert visitors into leads, according to a study by Jessica Mehring.
(Image from Jessica’s study)
This content might include webinars, white papers, eBooks, or case studies, all of which SaaS companies implement in their content marketing strategies.
- SaaS companies struggle to convert visitors from their blogs, mainly because of using low converting lead generation strategies.
- However, the same companies know how to convert bottom-of-the-funnel visitors with lead magnets and gated content.
TIP: Learn everything about converting blog traffic from our ultimate guide.
What Types of Content Work Best for SaaS Brands
There are so many different content types you could include in the content strategy. It’d be almost impossible to do them all, actually.
So which ones should you be focusing on, then?
The majority of companies focus on creating blog posts and long-form content, and for a reason. This content performs the best in terms of SEO and engagement, as the research from Orbit Media has proved (quoted above.)
But what about other content types?
Well, this is where things get interesting.
As it turns out, the most popular, non-blog related, content types are:
- Webinars, (in fact, GotoWebinar estimates that a quarter of all webinars are created by SaaS brands!)
- Case studies,
- E-books, and
- Video content.
(Image from Jessica’s study)
Other content types that work particularly well include infographics and original graphics.
In fact, this is mirrored by research conducted by Venngage. The company asked marketers to rate the effectiveness of various visual content types. Turns out that it was original graphics – infographics or illustrations – that helped those marketers reach their goals the best.
- Blog posts and long-form content are the primary content type to use when you’re aiming to drive organic traffic and leads.
- Other most common content types help SaaS companies generate BoFU leads, primarily.
Evaluating the Content Strategy’s Performance
Finally, let’s see how other SaaS brands analyze and evaluate their content’s performance.
So, as it turns out, only 32% of marketers report utilizing analytics for every article they publish (source)
But that’s when we’re looking at every article.
Overall, SaaS companies do a pretty good job at analyzing their content marketing. The most common metrics they use include:
- Organic traffic
- Sessions and Pageviews (another SEO-related metric)
- Overall conversion rate, and
- Engagement metrics like time on page or the bounce rate.
The data once again confirms that the primary focus for creating content is SEO.
So, now you have it – How to drive the content marketing strategy for your SaaS startup
Using all this information above, we can quickly identify what factors will increase your content strategy’s success:
- Publish often
- Focus on writing long-form educational content with the goal to increase rankings and organic traffic
- Develop a content strategy for your SaaS
- If possible, outsource content creation to professional SaaS content writers to ensure that your content engages the audience, and gets picked up by Google
- Use relevant conversion strategies on the blog, like calls to action to relevant feature pages and content upgrades
- Expand your content strategy with original graphics and video, if possible