This week’s IAB Podcast Ad Revenue Report showed industry revenue tied to branded podcasts was cut by two-thirds last year, with just 3% of revenue coming from those shows. But the drip could turn out to be a blip based on a survey from the Association of National Advertisers. The ANA found advertisers are embracing content marketing more than ever, despite having misgivings about the lack of accurate and insightful measurement of its effectiveness.
In a survey conducted with The Content Council, the ANA found spending on content marketing grew 73% on average between 2017 and 2019. The report also projected a 42% spending hike for the next two years, or 2020 and 2021.
A slight majority (52%) said they had a “strong commitment” to content marketing. That was double the figure from two years prior (26%). Content marketing also commands a substantial portion (18%) of overall marketing budgets, according to respondents’ current estimates of total spending. The report also showed that more than a third (37%) of the content marketing work is outsourced.
“It’s clear from this important study that content marketing has become, in a very short time, a major tool for marketers seeking to engage consumers in new and different ways,” said ANA CEO Bob Liodice. “It’s proof that a majority of advertisers are willing to experiment with and embrace longer forms of messaging to connect with their constituents.”
The biggest hurdle for companies pitching a branded podcast seems to be the continued uncertainty among marketers about whether there are any actionable insights derived from current tracking methods in determining the effectiveness of content marketing activity. “Since content marketing’s inception, it has been difficult to track, and often prove, its ROI,” the study said. “Effective measurement continues to be a pain point for marketers who must justify larger content investments.” For example, when asked which aspects of content marketing were the most frustrating for respondents, the top three responses touched on proving ROI, improving attribution, and overall measurement. “Larger budgets come with more scrutiny,” the report noted.
The survey was fielded prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which could dampen the growth projections included in the study. The report acknowledges that reality. “We have seen marketing budgets decrease as a result, so it’s possible, at least in the short term, that content marketing budgets have also been reduced,” it said.
Still, Jacqueline Loch, chair of The Content Council, thinks there is an opening for content publishers. “With 42 percent growth in content spending predicted over the next two years and the acceleration of consumer digital transformation, there is an exceptional opportunity for agency and publisher partners to help brands to deliver on content needs and to set the path for data interpretation,” she said.
Download the full Growth and Opportunities in Content Marketing report HERE.