Social media the most popular distribution channel

With nearly 55% growth expected this year, online video will be the fastest-growing ad format in 2012, eMarketer estimates. One factor behind video’s high growth rate is its relatively low base of spending; data from media buying solutions provider STRATA showed just under 28% of US ad agencies used digital video as a part of their online advertising efforts in Q4 2011.

Though the general population of marketers may just be beginning to ramp up investment in online video advertising, January 2012 research from Outbrain showed the vast majority of US brands and agencies are already investing heavily in digital video production for their content marketing efforts.

Nearly 87% of US brands and agencies leveraged videos for their content marketing programs, according to Outbrain’s research, emphasizing the importance of this dynamic, visual content format. Blog posts were the next-most-common form of content, generated by two-thirds of marketers. Articles and slideshows or photo galleries were also important to 44% of respondents.

To distribute and share content such as videos, articles and blog posts, nearly 96% of US brand and agency marketers turned to social media. Paid search and display advertising were also used by approximately 78% and 76% of respondents, respectively.

Online Content Distribution Tactics Used by US Brand and Agency Marketers, Jan 2012 (% of respondents)

Relying on social media for content distribution is only natural considering five of the top 10 methods internet users worldwide used to share content in January 2012 were social networks, according to data from social sharing solutions provider AddThis’ network.

Top 10 Sites Used to Share* Content by Internet Users Worldwide, Jan 9, 2012 (% of shares)

When measuring the success of their content marketing campaigns, almost all of Outbrain’s respondents (89%) gauged success by the number of social media engagements and referrals. Other common metrics used to measure content marketing success were content views and downloads (75%), number of leads (53%) and search referrals (51%).

Only a third of respondents used direct sales to quantify success, pointing to either a top-level content marketing objective of branding and generating awareness or an inability to properly tie content marketing efforts back to sales. A combination of both is most likely.

SOURCE eMarketer

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