Advertising Guest Columns
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Five things you need to know about content-led marketing in 2022

5 things to consider when working with advertising partners on content-led marketing campaigns

Every year, the World Media Group releases its Global Content Marketing Futures survey, a report into how international, content-led marketing strategies are adapting to new challenges and opportunities. This year’s survey, which invited responses from advertisers, agencies, consultancies and media brands, focused on budgets and implementation strategies as we all emerge from the impact of the pandemic.

With content marketing budgets expected to rise, publishers have an important role to play in ensuring campaigns reach the right audiences. Here are five things to consider when working with advertising partners on content-led marketing campaigns.

1. Trusted digital media & paid social and are the top platforms for amplifying content

According to the survey, the most popular platforms for amplifying content campaigns last year were trusted digital media and paid social channels, each earning votes from 82% of our respondents. Future spending, particularly across these platforms looks positive. Content-led marketing budgets are expected to rise over the next 12 months with the majority of advertisers expecting to increase their investment in paid social (47%), followed by trusted digital media channels (38%). The open programmatic marketplace is currently the least popular platform for amplifying content with just 24% of respondents using it, although 26% of advertisers plan to increase investment in the year ahead.

2. The customer is ‘always on’ but context is still key

The majority of advertisers (62%) believe it’s important to be ‘always on’ for their customers. The favored strategy is to use brand storytelling to build long-term engagement with audiences so that when the time comes for decision-making, their brand is front of mind. Fifty-six percent of advertisers said they’d implemented this approach.

There’s still a clear belief, however, that context it is important for providing the right engagement and impact for brand storytelling, with advertisers rating this at 8.8 out of 10 on a sliding scale of importance, and agencies, media owners and consultants rating it at 8.9.

3. Why should you use a content-led campaign?

The answer to that question differed amongst respondents. Whilst the majority of advertisers (41%) believe that the content-led approach is best for building brand engagement, most of our agency leaders (37%) believe that it can be best for changing brand perceptions of the brand.

A small majority of media owners (33%) believe that advertisers can use the content-led approach to demonstrate thought leadership, but 31% also believe it is best for brand engagement. 

Belinda Barker, Chief Executive, The World Media Group

4. What are the best KPIs for measuring content?

Given that advertisers believe that the content-led approach is best for brand engagement, it’s not surprising that time spent with the content was a main KPI for the most number (23) of advertisers. It’s interesting to see that a shift in brand perceptions is considered a main KPI by the same number of advertisers, even though they didn’t rate that as an advantage of the content-led approach. The shift in brand perceptions was the main KPI cited by the most agencies (43%) and media owners (34%).

5. Creative’s next big thing

When asked to predict the most engaging creative approaches moving forward, there was consensus that success was less about specific formats, and more about concept and context, or leveraging existing formats in a new and distinctive way. That said, audio and podcasts featured strongly – notably more than AR and VR which, compared to our previous surveys, suggests a reversal of opinion. Respondents also expressed concerns about an over-cluttered branded content environment, with many respondents referencing the need for closer integration with editorial content.

The key takeout? While the future of content-marketing looks bright, publishers have an important role to play. Success relies on the holy trinity: producing strong creative concepts, placing them in the right context, and ensuring they are seen by a fully qualified audience. For more information, you can download the full survey here.

Belinda Barker
Chief Executive, The World Media Group

About the Survey

We invited people to complete the survey between 5 January and 9 February 2022. Responses were encouraged through emails and social media outreach to our global contacts. We received a total of 262 responses: 21% of responses were from brand advertisers, 38% were from agencies, 27% from media brands, and 14% were from other types of organizations, such as consultancies working with clients on international content marketing. Our respondents represented a breadth of business sectors and were responsible for making decisions for marketing campaigns all around the world. 

About The World Media Group

The World Media Group is an alliance of leading international media organizations that connect brands with highly influential audiences in the context of trusted and renowned journalism. Our members share the same values and principles, and we promote their many synergies whilst championing the role of trusted international media. 

About The World Media Awards

Organized by the World Media Group, the World Media Awards celebrate the creativity and effectiveness of cross-platform, cross-border content-driven advertising. With an independent jury of international brand and agency leaders and content publishers, the Awards are recognized by the WARC Media 100.  Our co-Chairs for the 2022 Awards are Hamish Goulding, head of global brand strategy for HSBC, and Ritu Lakhanpal, managing partner for IPG Media Brands.