A Close Look at How CIOs Are Engaging with Cybersecurity Content on LinkedIn

October 7, 2020

Woman standing in office looking down at smartphone

Before jumping into the data, I’d like to give a special thank you to Elysia Shaw, Olga Milkovska, and Sandra Valminord for pulling Insights and contributing to this post! 

This past year has accelerated a global transformation of the world of work, bringing with it an increased focus on cybersecurity. Driven by shifts to a remote and digitized infrastructure, a wide spectrum of industries are now dependent on cloud-enabled technologies; small businesses are making their services and products more accessible through online solutions; large enterprise organizations are enabling remote work with effective IT solutions for their employees and customers. The professional world at every level is adapting to this new paradigm.

As larger portions of the ecosystem shift to online, cybersecurity is more top-of-mind than ever before. The importance of data privacy is undeniable for individual professionals, IT leaders, and business owners – but the COVID-driven changes make it fundamental for businesses to forward. 

Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are among the most vested in cybersecurity, its trends, and its future. They’re tasked with ensuring business information, data, and assets are protected from increasingly sophisticated outside forces. This focal point affects their jobs on a day-to-day basis, and often drives key decisions. As such, it’s a critical content pillar for many B2B marketers in the technology space, seeking to engage and influence IT leaders.

As October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in the U.S., we recently conducted research to better understand cybersecurity trends, and how CIOs are interacting with content surrounding the topic. Below, we share some of our learnings.

The Increasing Importance of Cybersecurity in 2020

For several decades, solutions and efforts to combat cybercrime, cyberattacks, online fraud, and data breaches have become critical for businesses and consumers to stay safe and secure online. 

Now commonplace in the technology vernacular, security-related topics are trending upward in conversations among CIOs and IT professionals — especially on LinkedIn. With the 2020 global pandemic accelerating the significance of cybersecurity in our decade ahead, more companies now depend on a greater number of technology touchpoints. In turn, this increases risks and security vulnerabilities, which are exposing themselves at an alarming rate  — elevating the urgency and importance of cybersecurity amongst companies today.

On LinkedIn, we’ve seen this rising awareness reflected in content sharing and engagement metrics. Since the start of 2020, articles mentioning cybersecurity have increased by 60%.

The opportunity to take part and demonstrate expertise in discussions about cybersecurity remains a massive opportunity for security solution providers and their marketers. According to Global Web Index, LinkedIn is cited by business decision makers as a top source for IT news and information, with members consuming helpful and impactful insight on security within their LinkedIn feed. 

What specifically are these individuals seeking out? Let’s take a look.

LinkedIn Content Engagement Trends: CIOs and Cybersecurity

CIOs are a coveted cohort for B2B technology marketers, the obvious reason being that they tend to play a pivotal role in decision-making when it comes to software and solutions. The other may not be so obvious: CIOs are LinkedIn power users, and avid networkers. Compared to the average user, our data shows that that CIOs: 

  • Are 1.2x more likely to follow companies
  • Share 3.3x more content
  • Have 3.7x more connections

Taking into account LinkedIn Learning activity, we also find that the largest increases in educational activity among CIOs were across the following five categories:

  1. Web Application Security
  2. IT Security
  3. Vulnerability Management
  4. Authentication and Authorization
  5. Security Management and Policy

Meanwhile, topics driving the most engagements from CIOs on LinkedIn include:

  • Computer Malware
  • Digital Forensics
  • Information Security
  • Cyber Defense
  • Security Awareness
  • Hacking
  • Cybersecurity
  • Antivirus and Malware
  • Computer Security

Finding the Whitespace for Cybersecurity Content

While cybersecurity is a hot topic amongst Enterprise decision makers, research from eMarketer last year found that only 29% of internet users consider themselves well informed about the topic. This reveals that plenty of demand still exists to learn and familiarize oneself on the subject. There is also considerable supply of potential engagement on LinkedIn. Below we’ve identified several opportunities to locate whitespace where your content may be able to gain traction.

The chart below shows engagement on the Y axis and total number of indexed articles on the X axis:

As you can see, terms like “antivirus and malware” and “information security” are driving strong engagement, but they are also highly saturated, so it may be more difficult to break through in those conversations. Even the term “CIOs” has extensive volume, suggesting that the best way to connect with this audience may be less about addressing them directly, and more about addressing the things they care about (and others aren’t talking about as much). 

To this end, the upper-left quadrant of the chart is your sweet spot: highly engaging topics with relatively less saturation. Terms like cyberwarfare, Fortinet, and endpoint security stand out as opportunities.

Deliver for Your Audience on LinkedIn

An effective content strategy centers at the intersection of your organization’s expertise and your audience’s unmet needs. We’ll continue to provide research and insight to help you connect the former with the latter on LinkedIn. 

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