14 Stats That Show It’s Past Time for Brands to Ditch the PDF

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Written by Matt Berringer

January 11, 2022

We hear it all the time, “We care about customer experience but…” What follows is usually a justification for why, “PDFs are fine,” for now. The problem is, those justifications are usually based on an internal reluctance to change rather than what’s best for generations of digital-first customers.

These days, if you’re not doing what’s best for your customers, someone else will.

We took a deep dive into the data to show why delivering a top notch digital content experience is not only beneficial but critical to the success of modern businesses.

In an increasingly, digital-first world. competition for your audience’s attention is increasingly fierce. On top of rising competition, audiences are expecting elevated and refined customer experiences wherever they go online.

In fact, according to AWS, 96 percent of customers will leave your brand if they don’t get the seamless, effortless experiences they’ve come to expect.

Why is customer experience important?

It’s getting harder to organically connect with audiences.

It is getting harder and harder to break through the noise and establish a connection with your audience. Only about 1 in 20 of your Facebook fans will see your posts if you’re not paying to boost them.

Content is a big deal right now

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what Lisa Toner, Director of Content for HubSpot thinks:

“Media consumption is at an all-time high and brands are spending massive budgets to advertise on the most successful media publications, whether that’s on podcasts, newsletters, YouTube, or websites,” says Toner.

“But buying ad inventory is a short term play and smart companies are thinking about building their own media empires for long term success.”

Consumers really like brands that help

According to HubSpot, 88 percent of consumers favor brands that provide helpful information from research through purchase. The catch? Only 47 percent of brands customize and serve information across the entire customer journey. Did your “opportunity sensor” just go off? It should have!

Brands with an effective digital strategy grow faster

Consider this short list of opportunities and issues highlighted in this report (in PDF form… the irony) from the National Center for the Middle Market:

By contrast, companies with a digital approach that is merely defensive or “not there” lag far behind.In addition, brands who work to improve customer experience reported an 84 percent increase in revenue.

Modern buyers expect it

 It’s no secret that buyers are more empowered than ever and they are waiting longer and longer to reach out to sales teams. According to MckInsey & Company, 75 percent of B2B customers prefer remote sales interactions over traditional face-to-face ones.

According to Hubspot, at least 47% of buyers view three to five pieces of content prior to engaging with a sales rep, and the majority of them expect brands to create content to gain their interest. That’s why brands all around the world have only grown their investments in content marketing.

Mobile-friendly content is also important. 52 percent of customers are less likely to engage with companies if they have a bad mobile experience.

Your digital content experience is most likely responsible for influencing consumers’ first impression of your brand.

That experience can determine whether they engage with you and become lifelong fans or simply hop to a competitor offering a better experience.  In a world where it’s getting harder and harder to grab the attention of the audience, can you afford to rely on un-trackable, static PDFs?

Doing all that work to get a prospect to your site and then showing them a PDF is the digital equivalent of showing up to the prom in torn sweatpants. Don’t show up in digital sweatpants!

So what does a seamless experience look like?

The benchmark for seamless customer experiences is most likely Amazon. The company was a first-mover in personalized recommendations and near, frictionless shopping. When we think about those experiences, what really stands out?

To many, it’s how smooth everything feels. There are no downloads required, it doesn’t matter if you’re on a mobile device or a desktop, the content is personalized based on your interests and that drives engagement. Now, how does your brand score on these seamless experience attributes?

Is it effortless?

Does your content experience work without any effort from the audience or does it require them to download something or even use an app to access it?

PDFs require a download and a ton of pinching and zooming if your prospect is on a mobile device.

View a PDF on Mobile Device

App-based solutions require that the audience either stop what they are doing to download an app, or already have the app installed.

Both of these asks insert considerable friction and frustration to the process. Remember when we said, 96 percent of consumers will leave your brand if they don’t get the seamless experience they expect? Yeah, might want to work on that if you’re relying on apps or PDFs.

What about websites? Aren’t they effortless?

When it comes to removing friction like required downloads or resizing to fit the consumer’s device. Most modern websites do meet the basic needs of many brands. We’re not arguing that you should ditch your website.

However, if you really want to capitalize on audience engagement, building a curated digital experience that guides the consumer through your content provides more than 2x the engagement of a plain-old website and 73 percent more engagement than a PDF.

In a world where marketers are scratching and clawing to improve engagement, a 70 plus percent increase seems like a good place to start.

Delivering a seamless, on-brand digital experience

So we’ve established that

  1. Consumers are demanding seamless customer experiences
  2. PDFs and Apps have considerable limitations
  3. While responsive websites cover the basics, they lag behind other options with regard to engagement.

How can you deliver a seamless, on-brand, digital experience?

“To win the content marketing game, brands need to focus more on optimized, personalized, and influencer-activated content marketing experiences” – Lee Odden, CEO, Top Rank Marketing

Ditch the PDF and apps and build curated digital experiences

Effortless – Platforms like Nxtbook’s don’t require downloads and will seamlessly adapt the content to display properly on your audience’s device. All they have to do is click. No downloads. No pinching and zooming.

Personalized – Unlike static PDFs which really can’t be personalized. Our platforms and platforms like ours, allow more flexibility when it comes to customizing and personalizing the audience experience. Depending on the platform, you can personalize the content experience based on region, demographics, or other factors.

Engaging – According to our internal research. Our platforms keep audiences engaged more than 2x longer than a web page. Other research shows similar results. According to Lumen research, audiences spent 73 percent more time engaging with digital content experiences when compared to a static PDF.

Wrapping up

More than 70 percent of marketers are pursuing content marketing in some form or another. It’s no longer good enough to just produce content. Brands who want to stand out from the crowd need to produce exceptional content AND present it in the form of an effortless, personalized, and engaging content experience.

Go beyond the PDF and ditch the digital sweatpants, your audience and your team will thank you! Contact us today to get started!

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