Companies have long emphasized the role of content for providing customers and prospects with useful information and meaningful insight, and the rise of digital distribution and production channels over past years has certainly propelled content marketing to new heights and investments.
According to a March 2012 report from ContentWise and the Custom Content Council, North American marketers spent $40.2 billion to produce and distribute content marketing last year, up slightly from $40.1 billion in 2010.
Keeping with tradition, print garnered the majority of budgets (58.7%) in 2011. Investment in electronic content formats, such as websites and email, were down slightly, yet spending on other forms of content marketing—which includes events and video—rose 44.4%.
Companies’ interest in content marketing is a growing trend. Not surprisingly, Custom Content Council and ContentWise found 52% of North American companies used video for content marketing in 2011, a number that has increased sharply since 2009, when it accounted for only 37% of North American marketers’ content investment. Websites and emails remained the most common digital content marketing formats, used by 82% and 71% of companies, respectively, in 2011.
Since 2009, web and email have quickly closed in on print usage. That year, 91% of North American companies used print, compared to 77% that used websites and 66% that used email. The cost-efficiency of producing and distributing digital content—coupled with the ever-increasing amount of time the US population spends consuming digital media—are two factors driving greater adoption of electronic content marketing formats.
A good portion (35%) of North American companies planned to invest more in website content this year, with an even larger percentage (54%) expecting to do so with video. Email appears to remain a tried-and-true content marketing tactic, and most marketers are already comfortable with their level of investment: just 15% plan to do more with email. The vast majority plan to keep email investment as is.
One area of opportunity for website updates and growth is mobile. As US consumers continue to adopt smartphones and tablets at a rapid rate, mobile website traffic is bound to increase. For example, the portion of paid search clicks coming from mobile devices in the US rose from 5.3% in January 2011 to 12.3% by December of the same year, according to Marin Software. As customers and prospects search for information on mobile devices, content marketers will inevitably have to adapt their content assets to meet the needs and viewing requirements of this growing audience.