Content Is Key for Brand Strategies, 71% of Brands Keep Budget In-House

|Kelly Reeves

In late February, senior brand and agency executives gathered in New York City to participate in the final judging round of the 2011 Effie Awards — highlighting the best marketing and advertising programs of the year. Outbrain had the opportunity to sponsor the event and hosted a survey of the esteemed judges to learn about the current trends surrounding content development and content marketing among brand and agency marketers.


As expected, content is a critical component of any marketer’s strategy. Over 99% of respondents are already engaged in online content creation and content marketing today and believe that content is important to the overall brand marketing strategy. Surprisingly, only half of the respondents actually have a dedicated budget associated with content creation and/or content distribution. Most respondents drive traffic to their content via social media, SEO, email, paid search and display. 16% already take advantage of a content recommendation network, specifically designed to recommend a marketer’s content to readers on publisher sites. In addition, over half of respondents are currently spending up to 25% of their overall budgets on their content strategy. 23% of the total respondents self-identified as brand representatives and 66% as agency representatives.

Survey Highlights:

Survey Highlights:

Content is key for brands online, output expected to increase in 2011

Over 99% of the surveyed brand and agency marketers are currently creating online content with 88% producing content frequently. The importance of content to overall brand marketing strategies was near unanimous with 99% of marketers claiming that content is important and 94% expecting to increase content output in 2011.

Content is key for brands online

Content Output Expectation in 2011

Brands with dedicated content marketing budgets keep it in-house

48% of all respondents have a dedicated budget for their online content strategy. In terms of breakdown, 52% of brand respondents claim to have a dedicated budget for content strategy vs. only 43% of agency respondents.

On average, marketers spend up to 25% of their overall budgets to online content development (58%). 26% spend 50% of their overall budget on content.

Content Development Budget Allocation

Of the respondents who have a dedicated budget for their content strategy, 93% of brand respondents use an in-house marketing team for content marketing. 71% of those use this team exclusively, rather than a digital agency. For those marketers who do not use the in-house team exclusively, many use a media/digital agency for content marketing efforts.

Who Owns Content Marketing Budget

Social leads content distribution strategy

Social media is a key channel for marketers that are trying to promote their content online. 88% of all respondents use social media strategies (76% for brands and 92% for agencies), followed by SEO (74% of all respondents) and traditional paid media (search 69% and display 70%) for content marketing. Email is still a key strategy for many marketers and surprisingly offline tactics are heavily used as well (55%).

Interestingly, even though social media leads the pack in terms of content distribution strategy, social media engagement is only 3rd in importance to marketers when measuring success for their content marketing efforts, after views/downloads and leads generated.
Another interesting notion is that content recommendation platforms (such as Outbrain), which are relatively new to marketers, are already used by 20% of respondents from agencies and 16% of overall respondents.

Traffic Driving Tactics

Success Measures of Content

For more information on Outbrain or the Content Marketing Survey, contact us at or 212-253-3491.

Hitting "Publish" is only The Beginning!

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Kelly Reeves

Kelly is Senior Marketing Manager at Outbrain. Previously, she was the founding editor of Urlesque, an AOL-owned website covering internet... Read more

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  • clips4sale| March 26, 2011 at 1:01AM

    I LOL'd at the “keep same output” at 6%. That's an awfully high number of people saying that.


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