Big Businesses Benefit from Content Marketing

Brand content is getting a bigger slice of the marketing pie—a 13% increase, or $1,640,107 in spending for the last two years, according to a new survey, “The Spending Study: A Look at How Corporate America Invests in Branded Content for 2012,” by the Custom Content Council and ContentWise.

A thriving sign for the content marketing industry, 79% of marketers are now reporting that their companies are shifting into branded content either at a moderate or aggressive pace. Fifty-two percent of companies are reporting that they outsourced some portion of at least one type of branded content creation in 2012.

Lori Rosen, Executive Director, Custom Content Council, said:

The stability of brand content spend in the face of overall marketing budget decline proves the staying power and efficacy of content marketing. This notable growth outcome is motivating brands to outsource at record levels.

Record high outsourcing dollars are being spent on external agencies such as custom publishers, PR/social media firms, design firms, ad agencies, and interactive agencies which are handling aspects of branded content. Some 56% of brands now outsource and of those, the average annual spend is $987,417—an increase of 46.6%.

About three-quarters of brands build content for print and repurpose that content for social media and the brand’s parent website. This underscores the integrated nature of content marketing today, where content ideation requires a multi-channel consideration. The multi-channel nature of content marketing is driving an average brand investment of $1,725,736, representing a 5.1% increase.

These results are backed by recent research by Forbes, which reports that brand owners like American Express, Virgin Mobile and L’Oréal are making greater use of content marketing, which is seen as an increasingly important way to engage internet users. American Express  has pursued many such schemes, including “Unstaged”, which allows famous directors to film concerts by major bands.

For its part, Virgin Mobile, the telecoms group, has launched a social “newsroom” to distribute music, apps and “memes” on sites like Facebook, Buzzfeed and Instagram. It now attracts 1m users a month. Some 50,000 “super sharers” also help spread material on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Ron Faris, Virgin Mobile’s head of brand marketing, said expanding its ‘social reach’ was not the only goal:

It’s also about deepening the level of engagement we have with our fans in the social communities they hang out in. The next step is to evolve our social platform to allow fans to reward one another with special moments.

Highlights from The Spending Study include:

  • How the Money is Spent: Personnel continued to be the primary use of budget funds; print form spent 44% on personnel , 37% production and 19% distribution, and electronic form spent 57% on personnel, 26% on production and 17% on distribution. Between 66% -74% of content created for print, electronic and other marketing ends up being used in social media efforts.
  • Reasons for Using Branded Content: Respondents’ primary reasons for using branded content were educating customers, brand loyalty, up-selling and customer retention.
  • Projected Change in Budget:Thirty-eight percent of respondents felt their branded content budgets would increase in the coming year—the number of respondents expecting a budget decrease was at the lowest level of the decade.
The full study is available here.


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