The Most (And Least!) Effective Types of Marketing Content

What do you think is the most valuable type of content you can create?

Blog posts?


Hot, delicious waffles?


Okay, it probably isn’t waffles.

But now you can see what types of content OTHER marketers say are the most effective!

A recent study asked more than 500 content marketers to name the types of content that work best for them, and some of the results are pretty surprising.

You can read the entire study here, but in the meantime, let’s take a look at which types of content are making the biggest splash online!

(Note: The marketers surveyed got to choose their top four types of content, so don’t be surprised that the percentages don’t add up!)

Static images

Not a big shock here – images like photos, art, and infographics were named as one of the best-performing types of content by 47% of marketers, making them the most popular choice.

Why are images the top pick?

For one thing, they’re attention-grabbing and shareable – a tweet with an image can easily generate 3x as much engagement as one without. Adding a certain number of images to a blog post can make it get twice as many shares on social media.

For another, they’re cheap and easy to make, no matter your level of expertise! The web is bursting at the seams with free resources for finding and editing images, and with a little practice, you can whip ‘em up yourself in no time. That makes for a huge difference between time investment and payoff!

Speaking of things you can easily do yourself, though, here’s another popular choice for marketers:

Written content

Tied for second place are the two types of written content – long-form (like whitepapers) and short-form (like blog posts).

Part of the reason that written content is so popular is that technically, anyone can do it – putting words on a page (or screen) is as simple as tying your shoes!


More importantly, though, blogging is a popular marketing strategy because it works – in fact, in North America, content marketers say that blog posts are the single most effective type of content they create.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Marketers in North America say that blog posts are the most effective type of content they create.”]

Making your blog posts as effective as possible takes more than great writing, though.

It also takes great planning – and the better you plan, the more effective your posts will be!

That means understanding the types of posts people share the most, and why – and what YOUR specific audience wants to read.

It means optimizing your posts by writing strong meta previews and sharp headlines.

And it means promoting your posts on social media not just once, but again and again and again, so that people can actually see them! (That one’s so important that we built a tool specifically for that purpose!)

Here’s a look at how sites like The New York Times and BuzzFeed repeat their status updates to rack up big engagement numbers.

Content marketers love blog posts because they can be leveraged over and over, and can pay off in massive dividends over time – it just takes a little planning!

Audio and GIFs

Only 36% of content marketers said that audio like podcasts is one of their four most-effective types of content – same with GIFs.


This one makes sense, when you think about it.

Sure, GIFs perform really well on Twitter, but they aren’t nearly as versatile elsewhere – you can’t post them at all on Instagram, for example – and creating and editing them can be slightly more complicated than with static images.

Audio suffers from similar limitations – there’s a higher technical barrier of entry for the uninitiated, and planning, recording, and editing a podcast can take a lot of time and energy.

(Especially if you have a rigorous vocal warmup routine.)


Even so, audio content isn’t what marketers call the least effective type of content they can make.

What type of content gets THAT dubious honor?


It’s true – despite the efforts from networks like Facebook to make video the reigning champion of online content, marketers don’t think of it as being that effective.

In fact, video finished in last place in this study.

But why don’t content marketers think that video is very effective?

For starters, the technical barrier for entry is even higher than it is for audio. Planning, shooting, and editing professional-grade video takes time and a very specific kind of expertise.

Then, there’s also the difficulty of using video in a meaningful and effective way – and figuring out how best to track whether or not it’s actually making a difference.

For as much time, effort, and money as it takes to consistently create video marketing content, the odds that it’ll generate a worthwhile return on your investment are just too unpredictable for many marketers to consider it that effective.

So what ARE marketers investing in?

You know the types of content that marketers say are the most effective – so what are they investing in the most in 2017?

About 69% of marketers say that in 2017, they’re going to increase their budget for content creation software – the type of software they need for editing audio and video, for example.

In 2017, 84% of marketers will spend as much or more than they did in 2016 on content delivery software – things like social media scheduling tools.

Creating content is important, but so is investing in ways to effectively leverage that content – and in 2017, that’s going to be bigger than ever!

So, what do you think of these survey results?

Do you agree with the majority of content marketers? Are there types of content you think aren’t getting a fair shake? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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  • Jamie Carmichael

    This is a really interesting piece. I’m also intrigued by the way in which format interacts with share-ability as far as promotion is concerned, given that promotion is the key to a successful content campaign. Is it easier to promote a video to influencers than it is an article? Does the additional performance of video outweigh the opportunity cost of producing faster, more agile content?

  • I plan to increase my attention on videos in 2017. I get the impression that video only showed up in last place because of “the technical barrier” they mentioned.

    That’s why they also wrote that:

    “About 69% of marketers say that in 2017, they’re going to increase their budget for content creation software – the type of software they need for editing audio and video, for example.”

    I think video will get a higher rating by the end of 2017 or when more people get comfortable producing video.

  • Thanks for the impactful article. I’m a bit surprised to see that video is lst on the list though. In our marketing efforts I wanted to focus on video since our product is residential interior design, and I feel that the photos of past projects is as important as who you hire. Do you all feel that I would be wasting time/energy/money on that? Would a design tip blog post (e.g. How to select the right size rug for your living room) with a few photos be more impactful than the same post with a video?

    I have the technical expertise to create decent looking video relatively inexpensively, but posts with images would be much easier to produce/edit/manage.

    Would love to hear your thoughts.

    • Tom VanBuren

      That’s a really interesting, thoughtful question! Frankly, if you’ve had success with video in the past, and/or it’s not prohibitively difficult for you to produce video, I think you can take stats like these with a grain of salt – because your mileage can always vary. The study we looked at for this blog post kept track of the different industries to which their respondents belong, and not every industry agreed on what was most effective for them. Healthcare professionals, for example, responded in higher-than-average numbers that video is a particularly effective tool for their marketing – it all depends on what your audience responds to the best. If nothing else, it’s worth giving it a shot and seeing how it goes – I certainly wouldn’t rule it out based on statistics alone!

  • Great article and I believe that content management and search engine optimization will definitely be incredibly important. In a universe where content is becoming king, management is just as important if not more so .

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