Content Marketing Revenues Surge 14% in 2016 to $28B, Fueled by Branded Mobile, Video, Social Media & Games; Revenues Pacing for 14% Growth Again in 2017

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Global content marketing revenues jumped 14% in 2016 to $28 billion, fueled by double-digit growth in branded mobile content, digital videos, branded games and social media content, according to new research from PQ Media. Positive momentum continued in the first half of 2017, as content marketing revenues grew 14% through June 30.

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Content marketing has become a global phenomenon – second only to mobile marketing – with many brands targeting influencers to share sponsored content with their loyal communities, particularly among the younger Millennial and i-Gen demographics.

Global content marketing revenues grew at an accelerated 14.3% in 2016 to $28.1 billion, fueled by double-digit growth in branded mobile content, digital videos, branded games and social media content, according to new research published today by PQ Media. Content marketing revenues are headed for 14% growth again in 2017, based on first-half pacing data, driven by proactive content development, more defined marketing strategies, heavier investment in custom magazines, and increased use of branded social media content, according to PQ Media’s Global Content Marketing Forecast 2017.

This is the second edition of the PQ Media Forecast, which is the first-ever publication to deliver comprehensive, in-depth market research, analysis and data that defines, segments, sizes and projects the growth of the content marketing industry worldwide by two major end-user sectors, three broad media platforms and 13 different channels. B2B content marketing is the larger of the two major end-user sectors, generating revenues of $14.7 billion worldwide in 2016, compared with $13.4 billion for the B2C sector. However, the B2C segment grew at a faster 15.1% rate than B2B’s 13.6% gain for the year.

Among the three broad platform categories, hybrid print & digital content marketing, including branded print & digital magazines, branded research reports & whitepapers, print & e-mail newsletters, and print & digital book content, was the largest category at $14.8 billion, accounting for more than half of total content marketing revenues in 2016. Digital-only content marketing, which includes branded webinars & online presentations, social media & visual content, sponsored guest posts & articles, and mobile content & apps, was the fastest-growing platform, rising 24.6% to $8.8 billion last year. Non-textual content marketing, such as sponsored events & event publications, branded digital videos, and games & content tools, was the smallest platform at $4.5 billion, but it grew at a rapid 21.6% rate on a surge in branded live video feeds.

Of the 13 channels, branded print & digital magazines was the largest, generating $8.4 billion and accounting for 30% of global revenues in 2016, followed by branded research reports & white papers at $2.9 billion (10% share), and webinars & online presentations ($2.7 billion). Branded mobile content was the fastest growing content marketing channel, vaulting 48%, followed by sponsored games & tools (up 34%), social media content (31%), and branded videos (30%), according to the Global Content Marketing Forecast 2017.

Content marketing emerged from the depths of the Great Recession in 2009 to become a key media platform to target, reach and engage today’s on-the-go consumers, who use well over 50% of their media content outside the home, compared with only 10% in 1970. In addition to the substantial increase in consumer mobility over the past three decades, brand marketers have found it increasingly difficult to engage target end users due to the growing number of advertising and marketing channels available, which now exceeds 200.

Meanwhile, consumers and businesses are often overwhelmed when seeking credible information about products from thousands of new content distribution channels that have emerged during the past several decades. Consequently, marketing messages frequently get lost because intended users are often media multitasking and/or viewing content on devices with ad-skipping technology. These trends have fueled consistent acceleration in the momentum of content marketing, which posted double-digit growth every year from 2010 through 2016.

“Since we released the first edition of this Forecast in 2015, content marketing’s positive momentum has continued to build, as brand marketers have become more organized, the number of practicing professionals has soared, and there has been gradual improvement in ROI metrics,” said PQ Media President & CEO Patrick Quinn. “Content marketing has also become a global phenomenon – second only to mobile advertising & marketing – with many brands targeting influencers who share sponsored content with their loyal communities, particularly among the younger Millennial and i-Gen demographics.”

The US is the largest market for content marketing, commanding nearly 44% of all pure-play operator revenues in 2016, or $12.4 billion, far exceeding second-ranked Germany at $2.2 billion, Japan with $1.5 billion, the UK ($1.5 billion), and France ($1.0 billion). While these were the only five countries to generate over $1 billion in revenues last year, all of the Top 20 Global Markets grew at double-digit rates, though the US ranked only 16th in growth, trailing world leader South Korea’s 22% surge by 8 points. Brazil ranked second (up 20%), followed by Argentina (19%), Canada (19%), and China (18%).

PQ Media projects global content marketing revenues will expand at a compound annual rate of 14.4% in the 2016-21 period, with the US growing at 13% in the same period.

Through its Global Opinion Leader Panel of key industry stakeholders, PQ Media identified that certain media industries produce materials they consider content marketing like annual reports from public relations firms. To avoid double-counting with PQ Media's other reports, these data were extracted from pure-play content marketing revenues. If content marketing tracked in other media platforms were included in the aforementioned revenue data, the industry’s total size would have grown 15.4% to $36.2 billion in 2016. In addition, a sizeable share of content marketing is handled by brands internally which, if combined with operator revenues, would expand the overall value of the global industry to $212.1 billion.

About the Forecast:

PQ Media’s Global Content Marketing Forecast 2017 delivers exclusive data and analysis covering operator revenues, growth rates, key growth drivers and challenges, and global rankings, spanning all four global regions, the Top 20 countries and 13 key media channels. The new edition provides a core report & analysis in a 318-slide deck, enhanced with a deep-dive Excel workbook delivering 350 datagraphs and 60,000 datapoints, covering the 2011-21 period. Also included this year is a comprehensive database of more than 1,000 content marketing operators worldwide.

To download a free executive summary, sample datasets, and capitalize on a limited-time savings offer, please click this link:

About PQ Media:

PQ Media delivers intelligent data to high-level executives at the world’s leading media, entertainment and technology organizations through a wide range of syndicated research publications, custom market research and strategic consulting services. PQ Media uses a proprietary econometric methodology to define, segment, size and project outcomes across more than 100 digital, alternative and traditional media, spanning every global region, leading country, media platform and channel.

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