By Joe Pulizzi published December 10, 2014

Content Marketing in the United Kingdom: Engagement and Leads Take Center Stage [Research]


UK marketers have become much more goal-focused over the last year. They also rate themselves as slightly more effective at content marketing when compared with the North American and Australian marketers we reported on earlier this year. Those are just a couple of the key findings we present in CMI’s third annual Trends report, produced in partnership with the UK Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and sponsored by Axonn Media. The report shows how UK for-profit marketers (both B2B and B2C) approach content marketing as compared to last year.

Goals have evolved

Not only has the percentage of UK marketers citing each of the goals shown on the following chart risen over the last year, but marketers’ priorities have also shifted. Engagement has moved up to replace brand awareness as the most often-cited goal at 91%. The number of marketers who cited lead nurturing has nearly tripled. Lead generation and sales have seen big increases as well.


Even though their effectiveness rating is higher than those we’ve seen in North America and Australia, UK marketers rated themselves less effective at content marketing versus last year (48% vs. this year’s 42%). Though the difference is small, it could explain the revived focus on goal-setting as more and more marketers are looking to drive efficiency by setting concrete objectives.

UK marketers 3x more focused on lead nurturing as a #contentmarketing goal this year than in previous years. Click To Tweet

Tracking ROI is a challenge; having a documented strategy helps

As is the case with their North American and Australian peers, UK marketers struggle to track the ROI of their content marketing programs. Only 28% say they are successful at this; however having a documented strategy helps: 46% of UK marketers who have a documented content marketing strategy say they are successful at tracking ROI.

RELATED: You can learn how to create a documented content marketing strategy with this 36-question guide.


Click to tweet:  28% of UK marketers say they’re successful at tracking ROI of #contentmarketing; having a documented strategy helps.

Twitter ‘wins’ as the top-rated social media platform for content marketing

Eighty-nine percent of UK marketers use Twitter to distribute content; 75% say it is an effective platform for their content marketing efforts – the highest rating for a social media platform that we’ve ever seen. While Twitter also has high usage rates among for-profit marketers in North America (87%) and Australia (79%), UK marketers appear to be getting better results with it (only 54% of North American marketers and 53% of Australian marketers say it’s effective).


Click to tweet: Twitter “wins” as the most effective social media platform for UK marketers. #contentmarketing

Many are focused on creating visual content and more engaging content

In an addition to our annual content marketing survey, marketers were asked what initiatives they’re working on now, and which ones they plan to begin working on within 12 months. UK marketers said they’re working on an average of 14 initiatives now, and plan to begin work on eight more over the next year. The highest-ranking initiative for now was creating visual content (70%), followed closely by creating more engaging content (69%). The highest rated for the next 12 months was developing a better mobile strategy (39%).


Click to tweet: 70% of UK marketers say creating visual content is a priority #contentmarketing

The most effective have lessons to share

In addition to gleaning the earlier insights, we also looked at how UK marketers who rated their organizations highly in terms of content marketing effectiveness set themselves apart. Here are some interesting stats about these “best-in-class” marketers:


Read the entire report to learn more, including:

  • How many audiences do UK marketers target?
  • What content marketing tactics, social media platforms, and paid methods of content promotion do they use?
  • How do they measure success?
  • What are their most pressing challenges?

What do you think of this year’s findings? Were you surprised with any of the changes we observed with UK marketers over the last year? What was your biggest takeaway?

See all of our annual research thus far and subscribe to our email to be notified of new research and understand the “whys” and the “what’s next” from the research.

Image courtesy of Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s the author of five books, including his latest, Killing Marketing. His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

Other posts by Joe Pulizzi

  • Nick Beaumont

    Great article Joe. I live in London and its great to see companies trying to more effectively set goals and measure the effectiveness of their content. Also great to see engagement is so highly rated – in my experience it is so hard to convince execs of the importance of this metric.


    • Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks for the comment Nick. We are making progress.

  • Natalie Eagling

    Great research, finally, marketers are realising that content must have a focus! It’s not about throwing us much content out there as possible and seeing what sticks. It’s about building relationships, the old school way, with new technology and for those relationships to have an effect on the bottom line.

    Our job as marketers is to prove why we should be sat at the table, in everything we do. To ignore the lead generation and nurturing aspect of content marketing makes us look silly and in my opinion is a massive step backwards for marketeers.

  • Manni

    Hi Jeo, it will be great to get the insight of the content writing in the UK.

  • Michael Brenner

    Hey Joe, this is really great. I really could have used it a week ago before I left for a trip to London!. We are seeing a huge increase in content marketing interest and activity in the UK market. How about a CMWorld- London in 2015?

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks Michael…actually, we are working on some master class concepts for UK and EU in 2015. Let me know if you want in.

      • Michael Brenner

        Let’s make sure we discuss. I have some ideas!

      • Jane Hobson

        If you would like input from a UK-based photographer who was previously a Strategy Partner within advertising and marcomms (international scope), with forthright thoughts about ‘content’, do feel free to include me.

  • Dominic Zammit

    Hi Joe, this is a fantastic piece- very useful for guiding our efforts. As an in-house Content Manager based in the UK, I have recently produced a documented content strategy to lead my firm’s activity throughout 2015/16. I look forward to hearing more of your insights in your next report. Feel free to get in touch should you wish to trade horror stories from across the pond!



    • Joe Pulizzi

      Love it Dominic. Please keep me posted on your progress.

  • Jane Hobson

    There should have been a question about creating higher quality VISUAL content – the two should NOT be separated. Using low cost stock imagery is a false measure – it does not accurately communicate YOUR brand and runs the risk of being so generic it is used by your competitors. Commissioning your own photographer or designer (in response to/tandem with your OWN brand strategy, naturally) is the only way forward for forward-thing brands.

  • Jane Hobson

    Nobody is talking about the content of ‘content’! Unbelievable! Brand strategy seems to be off the menu today!

    • Michele Linn

      Interesting comment, Jane. Can you please elaborate on what you mean about the content of content?

  • Fatmir

    Great to see that businesses are understanding the potential of content marketing in the UK. What about the rest of Europe? do you have any data at all?