Branded content is becoming increasingly important to search marketers in driving awareness for search engine queries and social media pages on sites like Google+ and Facebook. Optimization is key.This year, budgets rose to $1,725,736 -- up from $1,640,107 in the past two years, according to a report released Tuesday.
The report, The Spending Study: A Look at How Corporate America Invests in Branded Content for 2012, released Tuesday by the Custom Content Council and ContentWise, analyzes the growth in content marketing and the budgets supporting the strategies.
In fact, 79% of marketers said their companies continue to shift "at a moderate or aggressive pace" toward branded content. About 56% of companies report that they are outsourcing some portion or some type of branded content creation in 2012. Of those that do, the average annual spend rose 46.6% to $987,417 compared with the year-ago period. Even those that don’t outsource said the average annual spend across all brands rose 35.9% to $371,364.
Compare this to the three-quarters of brands that build content in-house for print and repurpose content for social media and Web sites. The multichannel movement to support content marketing continues to drive an average brand investment of $1,725,736, up 5.1%.
Marketers can expect to see an increase of branded content budgets. Some 38% of survey respondents said branded content budgets would increase in the coming year -- the highest in years. The number of respondents expecting a budget decrease was at the lowest level of the decade, according to the report.
While driving traffic to Web sites and ranking higher in search engine results are some of the top reasons to invest in content for search marketers, educating customers, brand loyalty, up-selling and customer retention were the top reasons for using branded content from survey participants.
Some 43% of respondents listed educating customers as the top motivation this year -- down from 49% in 2011, which means marketers are finding more reasons to use branded content.
The online and email research was conducted targeting a random sample of companies across all industries. More than five thousand invitations were distributed and approximately 177 surveys were completed and returned. Graybar, Manpower, State Farm Insurance, Towers Watson, Good Will Industries, Sunkist, ValueOptions were among the responding companies.