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The Growth Of Branded Content

The growth of branded content has been precipitous, especially electronic branded content.  Branded Content advertising spend is at an all time highAccording to a study by the Custom Content Council (CCC) in partnership with ContentWise, based on a survey of 100 US corporate marketers, titled “A Look at How Corporate America Invests in Branded Content”:

  • 75% of US corporate marketers say they are aggressively (16%) or moderately (62%) shifting spending from traditional marketing to branded-content marketing.
  • Total spending is at its highest level ever: rebounding in 2011, to$1,913,609 per company on average, among those surveyed.

Below, additional findings from the report titled “Spending Study: ,” by the CCC and ContentWise.

Among other spending-related findings:

  • Branded content accounted for 26% of overall marketing, advertising and communications budgets in 2011 on average, down from 29% in 2010 (likely a result of large increases in overall 2011 marketing budgets, the study notes).
  • Publications budgets were up 68% year over year, the biggest driver of branded-content growth from 2010 to 2011.
  • 30% of corporate marketers expect their branded-content budgets to increase again in 2012.
  • Digital content spending in the category is expected to increase 39% over 2011 levels with the smallest growth expected in print (up 16% YOY).

Top Content Marketing Goals: Educate and Retain Customers

The top-ranked reason marketers use branded content is:

  • Educate their customers (49%)
  • Customer retention (26%)
  • Enhancing brand loyalty (14%).

Similar goals were cited in 2010, with customer education ranked first (52%), followed by customer retention (23%) and brand loyalty (12%). Up-selling to customers (5%) is ranked as a low priority, reinforcing the idea that marketers view branded-content initiatives as long-term investments rather than transactional ones.

Branded Content The Most Effective Engagement Tactic

Among corporate marketers, branded-content initiatives are considered more effective than other leading forms of advertising and marketing:

  • 69% say branded content is more effective than public relations, compared with 63% who said so a year earlier.
  • 69% say branded content is more effective than direct mail, and 72% say it’s more effective that magazine ads.

Outsourcing Is Common

One-half (50%) of corporate marketers say they outsource at least some aspect of branded-content initiatives to external agencies (such as custom publishers, PR/marketing firms, design firms, video production companies, and interactive agencies).  However, outsourcing was more prevalent among print forms (51%) of branded content, than among electronic (31%) or other forms (35%).

About the report: The research was conducted via online and mailed methods targeting a random sample of companies across all industries. More than five thousand invitations were distributed and roughly 100 surveys were completed in the fourth quarter of 2011. Among the responding companies were: Allstate Insurance, Booz Allen Hamilton, Cephalon, Graybar, ICF International, Sports Authority, State Farm Insurance, and the University of Maryland.

For the survey, branded content (AKA custom media, custom content, and custom publishing) is defined as the creation and distribution of educational and or/compelling content in multiple formats to attract, educate, up-sell, and/or retain customers.