Tech Buyers’ Most Trusted Research Sources

Technology buyers in our 2024 Media Consumption Study have spoken and the results are in: Buyers are spending more time with independent sources of information than anywhere else when researching tech solutions. But what sources, beyond independent sites, top TechTarget and Enterprise Strategy Group’s list of highest engagement research sources for tech purchasing?

Below, we break down the top sources with which buyers are spending the most time. These five sources should top your distribution plan because each is a place where potential buyers are likely to congregate. We’ll also look at the types of content buyers rely on during their research process to help guide your content strategy.

Independent content sources are integral to your content strategy

Buyers are spending more time with independent sources of information than anywhere else
TechTarget & Enterprise Strategy Group Media Consumption Study | Worldwide

Over half (53%) of participants told us they spend a significant amount of research time with independent media publisher sites (such as TechTarget, ComputerWorld, TechRepublic and Data Science Central). To complement your independent and/or analyst content investments and attune your content further with buyers’ media consumption preferences, commissioning a third-party expert to perform an assessment or review of your solutions(s) is recommend, as readers trust third-party, independent content sources more than any other type and to provide deeper research resources for buyers looking to understand the ROI of your solutions through a third-party perspective.

Another noteworthy category is the analyst site: 48% of buyers told us they seek out analyst sites like Enterprise Strategy Group, Forrester Research, Gartner and the like in the research phase. Google, tech vendor websites, and webinar or video-hosting platforms, like BrightTALK and YouTube, round out the list of top five media sources where folks spend the majority of their time – confirming these media channels are buyers’ most trusted sources of information in the research phase.

How do these research destinations change based on region?

Buyers are spending more time with independent sources of information than anywhere else
TechTarget & Enterprise Strategy Group Media Consumption Study | Worldwide

In North America, buyers spend more time on peer review sites than APAC and EMEA and prioritize using search (via Google or other search engines). For APAC tech buyers, analyst sources are the #1 place they spend their time researching, and EMEA responses indicate that buyers in this region have more robust research needs than in NA and APAC. For teams looking to reach a global audience, it’s important to leverage a range of several independent sources to ensure they’re reaching all in-market buyers and not missing out on buyers in specific regions.

Translate trusted research source into shortlist-worthy content

In addition to the overall category mentioned at the top of this blog, we asked our Media Consumption Study participants, “Which media types that help you build vendor shortlists as an IT buyer?” They said the top four types of content are:

  1. Independent expert technical advice/tips, expert vendor reviews, and analyst reports: We discussed the impact of independent technical advice, analyst reports, and expert vendor reviews or assessments above. Buyers gravitate towards these sources in the tech purchase research process. It is therefore imperative that you invest in and promote this content to get buyers’ eyes on your brand.
  2. Case studies showcase real-world product use cases for prospective buyers and give you the opportunity to show off tangible results from previous customer success stories and expected ROI, thereby proving your mettle in users’ real environments.
  3. Webinars (tied): 40% of buyers spend time on webinar or video-hosting platforms to elicit tech buying information. Prioritize developing webinar and multimedia content for this reason, as well as to diversify your content footprint with both streaming and PDF-based content.
  4. White papers (tied): Educational white papers are among the most effective content to use in email and nurture outreach because of their near-universal appeal across the buying cycle – beneficial across the awareness, consideration, and decision buying stages. This appeal makes them the perfect secret weapon for any campaign.

In closing, meet your buyers at their research sources, and incorporate the aforementioned content types into your pipeline, to drive better buyer engagement with your brand.