The top 10 tech stories that engaged SMB buyers in 2018

We recently took a look at the content that drew the most engagement from end-buyers in 2018. We analyzed how SMB IT buyers interacted with more than 20,000 marketing campaigns. Our goal is to understand what subjects buyers are interested in and what types of content –– from eBooks to infographics –– buyers are most likely to engage with.

Here are the big trends that emerge from the top ten list.

Top 10 engaged technology content from 2018

Chart by Visualizer

Source: OneAffiniti analyzed more than 20,000 marketing campaigns sent in 2018

Security, privacy issues are the top interest

The top ten list confirms what one of our surveys of end-buyers earlier this year indicated: buyers want insights into major security or regulatory headaches.

The rollout earlier this year of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union prompted intense interest in compliance with the new law’s strict privacy rules. In fact, in the United States, Google searches around GDPR reached an all-time high in May, when the regulation went into effect. Therefore, it’s not too surprising that our infographic on the topic, “Time to hit the GDPR panic button?”  was the number one piece of content this past year.

“GDPR” keyword searches in Google in 2018

Source: Google Trends (Country: USA), Jan 18-Dec-18

A lot of other popular content related to the persistent concerns about cybersecurity. A major spike in interest occurred in response to a spate of high-profile ransomware attacks in the middle of the year. So it was no surprise that an eBook on ransomware (Ransomware: What You Need to Know) was the number two piece of content in 2018. The fourth most popular item was an infographic: “Top 10 cyber crime facts you need to know in 2018.” In sixth place was an article that addressed concerns about both cybersecurity and regulation: “Picking the right cloud for your government data.” Right behind it at number seven was an eBook, “How to protect your business this year.”

Productivity powers engagement

IT buyers are always looking for a way to gain a productivity edge. Evidence-based analysis into strategies or technologies that enhance productivity for an IT workforce consistently elicit significant interest from end-buyers. At the end of the day, there’s nothing more important to a business than productivity, so it will always be top-of-mind for corporate decision-makers.

Two of the top 10 pieces of content in 2018 focused on ways of improving productivity. The third most popular piece of the year was an eBook, “Ultimate 8-step productivity guide.” Just a couple spots behind it, in fifth place, was an infographic, “6 Ways to boost employee productivity with technology.”

The value of visual

If there’s one big takeaway from the top ten list, it’s that visual content carries significant weight with buyers. Three of the top ten pieces of content were infographics and four were eBooks. All of them included a strong visual component.

The powerful impact of visual content is backed by a body of psychological research. Our brains processes visual information much faster than it processes text. Readers are far more likely to understand and appreciate data if it’s presented as an infographic. Forrester Research found that 72 percent of buyers say they are likely to engage with infographics.

Mix it Up

There are definitely subjects and types of content that will generate more engagement than others. Content focused on high-profile issues will typically perform better. However, the top ten list shows that there is appetite among end-buyers for a wide range of content. End-buyers have a variety of interests, personality types, attention spans, and schedules. All of these factors shape what content they are likely to engage with. Your goal in each campaign is to include something for everybody.

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