MailOnline reported that a new survey of over 600 online advertising and marketing execs reveals that about two thirds of brands (66%) and agencies (65%) say that branded content marketing has become very important or most important to their marketing mix. When asked “Have you employed branded content marketing for advertising purposes in the last year?”, an overwhelming percentage of both brands (70%) and agencies (77%) replied “yes” clearly indicating that this tactic is enjoying great popularity.
“There are many ‘flavors’ of branded content marketing from native advertising to content hubs, from advertorials to branded entertainment and even custom video, but given the on-set of social media, there has been an evolution of this marketing approach and a new emphasis placed on it by both clients and their agencies,” says Sean O’Neal, Global Chief Marketing Officer for MailOnline. “It is now a top tactic for driving brand lift and sales lift online.”
Asked “What is your preferred method of measuring the effectiveness of your content marketing programs?” the top response for agencies (30%) was “Brand Lift,” and the top response for brands (32%) was “Sales Lift.” When asked “Rate the following tactics for their ability to achieve your branding objectives,” brands cited branded content as amongst the most effective, virtually tied with video as a leading tactic.
The survey was in-field for three weeks in April and combined both qualitative and quantitative research. Of the 610 respondents, the majority were media buyers – 17% on the brand side and 47% on the agency side – and the remaining 36% were publishers.
“Content marketing is intended to take advantage of the one key difference between marketing and content which is that consumers are more guarded against marketing messages,” adds Mr. O’Neal. “For this reason, many brands are becoming adept ‘publishers’ of information and content, and tapping into the more trusted nature of valuable content vs. advertising.”
Asked “Where do you acquire your branded content?” 71% of agencies said they partner with the publishers that they are buying the media from. This tactic leads all others.
When we asked brands about their content marketing activities, 83% have used it for their website or email – but more interestingly is over two-thirds have partnered with content providers to create and distribute branded content beyond their own websites.
The MailOnline survey also reveals that brands are increasing their investments in content marketing with 72% saying their spending on branded content increased in the past year and 69% predicting a budget increase ON TOP of that in the COMING year.
Data from agencies validates how the brands responded with 71% of agencies saying their clients spent more in the last 12 months on branded content marketing and 73% say their clients’ spending on branded content marketing will increase over the coming 12 months.
Of the buyers who haven’t yet tested branded content marketing, 57% of those brands said they plan to test in the next year and 84% of those agencies said they plan to test in the next year.
Finally, when asked “What prevents you or your clients from investing more in branded content marketing?” a whopping 24% of brands and 17% of agencies replied, “Nothing, we are fully committed!”