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Companies Are Content with Content Marketing
Revenue growth is being driven by efforts to engage with increasingly hard-to-reach audiences
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This year, global content marketing revenue is expected to rise 14.2 percent to reach $32.1 billion, and through 2021, it is expected to reach $55 billion, growing at a compound annual rate of 14 percent, according to a report from market research organization PQ Media. 

In the United States, revenue is expected to rise 12.8 percent this year to reach $13.9 billion, and increase at a 13 percent CAGR to reach $22 billion by 2021.

PQ Media defines content marketing as “an alternative marketing platform that targets specific audiences with content related to the target’s interests, beliefs, and needs.” According to the report, content marketing differs from product placement “in that content marketing messages are exclusively sponsored by brands in a stand-alone product, whereas product placement is embedded into existing content, such as TV programs, that would be produced regardless of any paid placements.”

The report makes a distinction between B2B and B2C content marketing and indicates that B2C content marketing will grow faster than B2B content marketing both globally and in the United States. Global B2C content marketing will grow at a 15 percent CAGR through 2021, compared to a 13 percent CAGR for global B2B content marketing over the same time period. In the United States, B2C content marketing will grow at a 13 percent CAGR while B2B content marketing will grow at a 12 percent CAGR over the same time period.

The report also identifies three types of content marketing: digital-only, hybrid print and digital, and nontextual. 

Digital-only content marketing is text-based and specific to internet and mobile media only; it cannot be found on any traditional media platform. This type of content marketing is “funded by at least one brand as a stand-alone product for a specific audience and is separate from the e-commerce sites of the sponsored brands,” according to PQ Media.

Hybrid print and digital content marketing includes text-based materials that are available in both print and digital formats, although they might be accessed exclusively through digital distribution, such as an email containing a sponsored research report. This type of content marketing is considered a hybrid publication because it includes digital materials that are printed and then left behind for clients after a sales call, for instance.

Nontextual content marketing includes sponsored audio/visual or live components to highlight a company’s uniqueness on topics of interest to its specific target audience. These are “stand-alone products that were produced specifically by the brand to entertain or inform the target audience,” the report points out.

Both globally and in the United States, digital-only content marketing will become the largest and fastest-growing of the three categories, according to the report. Globally, digital-only content marketing will reach $24 billion by 2021, rising at a 22 percent CAGR; in the United States, it will reach $9 billion by 2021, rising at a 19 percent CAGR.

“People are using media more outside of the home; they’re media multitasking more often; they’re more on the go; they’re harder to reach; they’re harder to engage; [and they’re] more fickle,” says Patrick Quinn, president and CEO of PQ Media. 

Particularly among younger audiences, a growing use of ad blocking technology has impacted traditional advertising, making it that much harder to reach them in both B2B and B2C environments. 

“Content marketing is right there, if it’s done well…[it enables businesses] to talk to a narrow audience specifically about their needs in a way that’s creative and creates emotional connection,” Quinn says.

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