Marketers in new study point to increasing importance of content marketing, yet most lack strategy

Outbrain, in partnership with Econsultancy, today released an in-depth study on content marketing that looks at the strategies, objectives, and challenges involved in the fast-growing field. With more than 90% of respondents predicting that content marketing will increase in importance over the next 12 months, the findings overwhelmingly point to the discipline's mounting importance.  Despite this, the majority of companies do not have a content strategy, dedicated budget or dedicated individual in place.

The study, conducted in July and August of 2012, is based on a global survey of more than 1,300 digital marketing professionals working for brands, publishers and agencies. Key findings from the report include:

While content marketing is growing in importance and is increasingly seen as its own discipline, the majority of companies do not have a defined content strategy.

  • More than 90% of respondents believe that content marketing will become more important over the next 12 months.
  • Two-thirds of in-house marketers (64%) agree that content marketing is becoming its own discipline
  • Less than half of companies have dedicated budgets (34%) or dedicated individuals (46%) for content marketing, though 55% of in-house and 58% of agency respondents are planning content marketing strategies in the future
  • Less than half of all companies spend more than 20% of their marketing budget on content, despite the fact that only 12% disagree with the statement that "content marketing is more effective than advertising in driving sales"

Content marketing and social media are inextricably linked

  • 83% of in-house marketers use social posts and updates for marketing, more than any other type of content
  • Social network engagement is the most popular tactic used to drive traffic, with 78% of in-house respondents stating that their company used this
  • Social posts and updates are the second most effective type of content for in-house marketers after email, with 46% stating that this is one of their three most effective types of content

Resources, budget and politics are major barriers to effective content marketing

The barriers preventing effective content marketing which were listed most frequently by in-house marketers were:

  • Lack of human resources (42%)
  • Lack of budget (35%)
  • Company politics (30%)

Agency respondents were more likely to cite:

  • Lack of understanding / training as a main barrier (46%)
  • Content marketing skills (39%)
  • Lack of ROI / no business case (35%)

"Outbrain's business is all about connecting people with quality content and it's great to see content marketing gaining recognition as an important field within the digital marketing community," said Outbrain CEO Yaron Galai.

"Our hope in releasing this study is that we can educate the market on the importance of this discipline, and help them identify the tools and strategies that will ensure that they are using content to engage their audience in the most effective way."

"A variety of trends have coalesced in recent years to underscore the importance of content marketing. People are spending more and more time online searching for information, and Google has made significant changes to its algorithms to emphasise quality content in its search results," said Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director at Econsultancy. "As such, it's essential that companies start to put dedicated strategies and budgets in place to ensure that they are ahead of the curve."

For more information or a complimentary copy of the report please email Outbrain.

3rdOct 2012

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