August 11, 2017 Last Updated 11:08 am

Global content marketing revenues grew 14.3 percent to $28.1 billion in 2016

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.

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