The State of Content Marketing, 2012


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Outbrain surveyed top brand and agency marketers about their content marketing efforts to learn about the types of content they're creating, how they get traffic to it and how they measure success of their strategy.

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The State of Content Marketing, 2012

  1. 1. The State of Content Marketing, 2012Content marketing continues to be one of the rising stars of the online marketing world as brands from American Expressand Proctor & Gamble to GE and General Mills use it alongside more traditional strategies to reach their target audiences.Why? Unlike traditional marketing, branded content is engaging, provides value and adds to the online experience insteadof interrupting it.At Outbrain, we’re all about great content, which is why we wanted to get the scoop from some of the folks in thetrenches. Earlier this year, we surveyed senior-level brand marketers and agency executives as they gathered to judgeentries for the 2012 Effie Awards -- a program that recognizes the most effective and impactful marketing and advertisingcommunications. What follows is an insider’s look at the state of content marketing.Key Findings 100% of brand and agency marketers surveyed utilize content marketing in their overall marketing strategies. At 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 efforts (89%), followed by views or content downloads (76%). 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.Video is tops among content marketersOne hundred percent of the marketers surveyed utilize content marketing as a part of their overall marketing strategy andare currently creating digital content specifically for informational and/or entertainment value to consumers. Eighty-sevenpercent of marketers create video content, making it the most popular medium. Written content, such as blog posts (67%)and articles (44%), also has a place in content marketing strategies. Other visual mediums such as slideshows and photogalleries are used by 44% of respondents. Popularity of Content Types Created by Brand & Agency Marketers SLIDESHOWS/ VIDEO BLOG POSTS ARTICLES OTHER PHOTO GALLERIES The State of Content Marketing, 2012, Outbrain The State of Content Marketing, 2012 Page 1 of 4 To download, visit
  2. 2. Social media leads content marketing distribution efforts, paid search marketing on the riseAll of the surveyed marketers are creating content, but how do they get it in front of consumers? Social media continuesto grow in importance as a tactic for content marketing. Ninety-six percent of marketers utilize social media platforms suchas 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 (78%), display advertising (76%), and organic searchoptimization (69%). Paid search saw the biggest increase in adoption over our 2011 survey with an increase of 9%. Content Distribution Tactics Utilized by Brand and Agency Marketers 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% CONTENT PAID SEARCH DISPLAY EMAIL SYNDICATION SOCIAL MEDIA SEO RECOMMENDATION MARKETING ADVERTISING NEWSLETTERS PARTNERSHIPS PLATFORMS The State of Content Marketing, 2012, OutbrainBrand awareness and top of purchase funnel consumers are target for content marketing effortsSocial media engagement ranked as the most popular factor that marketers use to measure the success of their contentmarketing efforts (89%), which is unsurprising given that they rely heavily on social media platforms for contentdistribution. In fact, consideration of social media engagement as a success metric increased drastically from our surveyresults last year (66%).The 2012 survey results found increased emphasis on success metrics that focus on brand awareness and targetconsumers in the top of the purchase funnel such as social media engagement and organic search referrals. We also sawa concurrent drop in direct response metrics such as lead generation, which fell from 69% to 53%. How Brand and Agency Marketers Measure Success of Content Marketing Efforts 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% SOCIAL MEDIA VIEW/DOWNLOADS LEADS REFERRALS DIRECT SALES ENGAGEMENT OF CONTENT GENERATED FROM SEARCH AND/OR REFERRALS The State of Content Marketing, 2012, Outbrain The State of Content Marketing, 2012 Page 2 of 4 For more, visit
  3. 3. Social media, video advertising and content marketing are the most effective tactics for developing brandawarenessWe asked respondents to rank the effectiveness of popular marketing tactics in creating brand awareness, considerationand affinity online. Social media, video advertising (pre-roll) and content marketing were the highest ranking tactics. Emailmarketing was collectively viewed as the least effective tactic for creating brand awareness. Marketing Tactic Effectiveness on Brand Awareness and Consideration SOCIAL MEDIA VIDEO ADVERTISING CONTENT MARKETING SEO DISPLAY ADVERTISING MOBILE CAMPAIGNS EMAIL MARKETING The State of Content Marketing, 2012, Outbrain82% of marketers intend to increase content marketing efforts in 2012From this year’s survey results, it’s clear that marketers are beginning to rely on content marketing as a trusted tool toreach consumers. It’s also clear that the industry shows no signs of slowing down, with 82% of respondents planning toincrease or greatly increase their efforts in the coming year. In 2012, I Expect To... 9% I DON’T KNOW 71% INCREASE CONTENT MARKETING EFFORTS 9% KEEP THE SAME CONTENT MARKTING EFFORTS 11% GREATLY INCREASE CONTENT MARKETING EFFORTS The State of Content Marketing, 2012 Page 3 of 4 For more, visit
  4. 4. About OutbrainOutbrain ( is the leading content discovery platform, helping publishers, brands and agencies reach ahighly engaged audience through distribution on leading media sites. Outbrain works with publishers like CNN, FoxNews, Hearst, Rolling Stone and MSNBC as well as brands and agencies including American Express, P&G, GeneralElectric, Media Contacts and Starcom to increase site traffic and generate new revenue through customized links torecommended content. Founded in 2006, the company is headquartered in New York with offices in London, SanFrancisco, Chicago, Washington, DC, Paris, Hamburg and Netanya, Israel, and is backed by Index Ventures, CarmelVentures, Gemini Israel Funds, GlenRock Israel, Rhodium and Lightspeed Venture Partners.Contact UsOutbrain: Press Contact:Kelly Reeves LaunchSquad for Outbrain116 East 16th Street, 12th Floor Gavin Skillman or Lindsey ScottNew York, NY 10003 212-564-3665212-353-5897 The State of Content Marketing, 2012 Page 4 of 4 To download, visit