Video and Social Marketing Drive Content Marketing

According to the Outbrain State of Content Marketing 2012 report, content marketing continues to be one of the rising stars of the online marketing world as brands from American Express and Proctor & Gamble to GE and General Mills use it alongside more traditional strategies to reach their target audiences.

Key findings from surveyed senior-level brand marketers and agency executives in conjunction with a program that recognizes the most effective and impactful marketing and advertising communications, includes these marketing responses:

  • 100% of brand and agency marketers surveyed utilize content marketing in their overall marketing strategies. For 87% of respondents, video is the most common form of content created
  • Social media is the most popular channel marketers use for driving traffic to content with 96% of respondents currently utilizing. Usage is up from 88% in 2011
  • Marketers employ content marketing efforts to drive brand awareness and target top of purchase funnel consumers rather than for generating direct leads or sales. Social media engagement is the most popular indicator marketers consider when measuring the success of content marketing, followed by views or content downloads
  • Social media, video advertising and content marketing are viewed as the most effective tactics used for brand awareness, consideration and affinity.
  • 82% of brand and agency marketers expect to increase content marketing efforts in 2012.

One hundred percent of the marketers surveyed utilize content marketing as a part of their overall marketing strategy and are currently creating digital content specifically for informational and/or entertainment value to consumers. 87% of marketers create video content, making it the most popular medium. Written content, such as blog posts and articles, also has a place in content marketing strategies. Other visual mediums such as slideshows and photo galleries are used by 44% of respondents.

Popularity of Content Types Created by Brand & Agency Marketers (% Rounded)

Content Type

% of Marketers Using



Blog posts




Slideshows/photo galleries




Source: Outbrain, State of Content Marketing, March 2012

Social media continues to grow in importance as a tactic for content marketing. 96% of marketers utilize social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to distribute their brand’s digital content, up from 88% in 2011.

Other popular traffic acquisition tactics include paid search marketing, display advertising, and organic search optimization. Paid search saw the biggest increase in adoption over our 2011 survey with an increase of 9%.

Content Distribution Tactics Used by Brand and Agency Marketers (% Rounded)


% of Marketers Using

Social Media


Paid search


Display advertising




Email newsletters


Syndication partnerships


Content recommendation platforms


Source: Outbrain, State of Content Marketing, March 2012

Social media engagement ranked as the most popular factor that marketers use to measure the success of their content marketing efforts, which is unsurprising given that they rely heavily on social media platforms for content distribution. In fact, consideration of social media engagement as a success metric increased drastically from the survey results last year (66%).

The 2012 survey results found increased emphasis on success metrics that focus on brand awareness and target consumers in the top of the purchase funnel such as social media engagement and organic search referrals. There was also a concurrent drop in direct response metrics such as lead generation, which fell from 69% to 53%.

How Marketers Measure Success of Content Marketing


% of Marketers

Social media engagement/referrals


View/downloads of content


Leads generated


Referrals from search


Direct sales


Source: Outbrain, State of Content Marketing, March 2012

Respondents ranked the effectiveness of popular marketing tactics in creating brand awareness, consideration and affinity online.  Social media, video advertising (pre-roll) and content marketing were the highest ranking tactics. Email marketing was collectively viewed as the least effective tactic for creating brand awareness.
From this year’s survey results, it’s clear that marketers are beginning to rely on content marketing as a trusted tool to reach consumers, concludes the report. And, the industry shows no signs of slowing down, with 82% of respondents planning to increase or greatly increase their efforts in the coming year.

Marketer Expectations For Content Marketing in 2012


% of Marketers

Greatly increase content marketing efforts


Increase content marketing efforts


Keep same efforts


Don’t know


Source: Outbrain, State of Content Marketing, March 2012

Content marketing is an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation and sharing of content in order to engage current and potential consumer bases, retaining reader attention, and improving brand loyalty. Sharing content as a means of persuading decision-making has driven content marketers to make their once-proprietary informational assets available to selected audiences, and to create new information to share via any and all media. Wickipedia

For more information from Outbrain and access to a high resolution PDF file of the report including charts and graphs, please visit here.



2 comments about "Video and Social Marketing Drive Content Marketing".
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  1. Douglas Simon from D S Simon Productions, April 5, 2012 at 2:53 p.m.

    Great study. One "Content Distribution Tactic" overlooked is earning media. We've been finding it to be an important piece of the content marketing campaigns we are doing for clients. Not sure if the authors didn't ask about it or not. It adds a significant amount of credibility and value to the effort.

  2. Art Zeidman from Pixability, April 6, 2012 at 1:26 p.m.

    This study clearly points to the growth of Social Video. Distribution platforms that leverage good technology to make sharing of and conversation about video a frictionless user experience can help marketers realize the power of recommendation in driving intent to purchase.

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