Digiday Research: Content marketing could be bucking the in-housing trend

This research is based on unique data collected from our proprietary audience of publisher, agency, brand and tech insiders. It’s available to Digiday+ members. More from the series →

A common theme in 2018 has been companies taking more of their marketing functions in-house. But that trend could be headed in the opposite direction when it comes to content marketing, based on a survey of marketer’s from Digiday Content Marketing Summit.

Of the brand marketers responding to the survey, 63 percent said the majority of their content marketing is currently produced in-house, compared with 70 percent the previous year. Meanwhile the number of marketers who said less than a quarter of their content was produced internally jumped from 11 percent to 23 percent.

Companies moving marketing in-house is bad news for agencies, but these findings don’t necessarily mean marketers are returning their work to agencies. Instead, many are increasing the money they spend with publishers’ branded content studios, particularly when it comes to video, according to a report by Trusted Media Brands.

While publishers’ content studios face limitations, many like Hearst UK, Vice and Bloomberg are working to improve the measurement capabilities and metrics they offer clients. That’s a bad sign for agencies given that many companies are starting to question campaign reports they get from clients.

Publishers also hold favorable views when it comes to their future producing branded content so news that companies are doing less content marketing internally will be welcome. Most C-level publisher executives say branded content is the most important source of revenue for a publisher and just as many say branded content offers them the biggest growth opportunity in 2018.

If agencies want to win back more of clients’ business for content marketing, they might need to rethink how consumers are coming across branded content. One attendee at the Content Marketing Summit told Digiday, “Agencies are good at branded content but not content intended for consumers to find organically.”


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