“The United States content marketing revenues grew 13.2% to $17.94 billion in 2019, capping off a decade-long streak of double-digit growth fueled by several high-octane B2C digital content marketing channels, including branded mobile, social and online video, apps, and games, according to PQ Media, the world’s leading provider of media econometrics. While the coronavirus pandemic will snap a decade-long growth streak in the US and global content marketing growth this year, second-half pacing indicates a strong rebound in revenue growth in 2021, according to PQ Media’s just-released Global Content Marketing Forecast 2020.
The overall US print content marketing sector remained more significant than the entire digital content marketing sector, commanding 52% of US revenues in 2019. Still, the digital segment grew faster (19.5%) and gobbled up 18 percentage points of revenue share since 2014. Among the 13 print and digital content marketing channels, the print-based branded magazines & advertorials channel was the largest at $3.79 billion. Still, all four of the fastest-growing channels were digital, including branded mobile content & apps (up 30.3%), branded games & content tools (up 27.7%), social media & visual content (24.1%), and branded digital videos (up 24%), according to PQ Media.
A similar trend has shaped up in the US end-user sectors. While the B2B content marketing sector remains more significant than the B2C segment, B2C revenues grow faster and capture market share. The B2C industry accounted for just under 50% of total US revenues in 2019, but because it is increasing at twice the rate of B2B, it will become the larger of the two end-user sectors by 2024.
Meanwhile, global content marketing increased 14.4% in 2019 to $42.15 billion, with platform and channel trending similar to the US, the world’s largest market accounting for 43% of all content marketing revenues. Global branded magazines were the most significant overall channel at $9.66 billion, and branded mobile apps were the fastest-growing, up 34.6%.
Of course, this year has been a different story. The far-reaching impact of the pandemic upended advertising and marketing media worldwide – with the US being among the most brutal hit – although the damage to content marketing was relatively moderate compared to most other media segments. According to PQ Media’s Global Content Marketing Forecast, US content marketing revenues are expected to decline 6.8% in 2020, as the world’s largest market also drags down global growth, albeit at a slower rate (-1.9%) 2020.
The two significant factors in this year’s declines are the COVID-19’s devastating effect on several vertical industries worldwide that command large shares of content marketing revenues, particularly airlines, hotels, and tourism. Amplifying the negative impact on these industries is that they all rely predominantly on print content marketing channels, such as in-flight magazines and in-room city guides. Consequently, markets with larger branded print content sectors, like the US, were hurt worse than those in which digital media has become the dominant platform, mainly in Asia-Pacific countries.
On the flip side, the cancellation of consumer experiential events, such as fashion shows, led brands to develop content marketing materials for teaching influencer blogs. At the same time, the heavily hit business conference sector drove sponsors of tradeshow materials to partner with event marketers on virtual events, webinars, and social media initiatives. Marketers also accelerated the development of branded mobile apps to reach more consumers shopping via smartphones.
While the pandemic scuttled 10-year growth surges in all three major branded media sectors this year – content marketing, product placement, and experiential marketing – PQ Media’s research indicate that long-term media trends driving shifts in consumer behaviors and marketer spending favor all three branded media going forward, particularly content marketing.
“Content marketing emerged from the Great Recession as a vital component of omnichannel media campaigns aimed at engaging and activating younger, elusive, fickle, and distracted target consumers, especially Millennials and iGens. Brands utilizing digital content marketing are capitalizing on the increased time these demographics are spending on mobile, social, online, and streaming media by using influencers, videos, podcasts, and interactive game experiences,” said PQ Media CEO Patrick Quinn. “With marketing messages frequently getting lost because key audiences are media multitasking and consuming more content on wireless devices with ad-blocking software, brands are increasingly shifting investments to media platforms like content marketing that can demonstrate breakthrough engagement and activation.”
PQ Media’s data shows that the content marketing recovery has already begun in the third quarter of 2020 and that momentum is likely to gain steam throughout 2021. One of the key growth drivers is that PQ Media has tracked an incredible five-fold increase in the number of content marketers operating worldwide in just three years, reaching 7,000 operators in 2020. As a result, the US and global content marketing growth are expected to bounce back at double-digit rates in 2021.”
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