News

Brands are creating content inhouse but are concerned about ROI and skills shortage finds ACMA study

Budget going on content marketing

Marketing budget going on content marketing; source: ACMA

The bulk of content marketing in Asia Pacific is currently being planned and produced by brands in-house, but companies are spending small and are concerned about how to prove that it drives sales, a study by industry body ACMA has found.

In the Asian Content Marketing Association’s report, The State of Content Marketing, forty per cent of respondents to a regional survey of mostly brand marketers, but also creative, media, PR and content agency executives, said that 20 per cent or less of their overall marketing budget goes on content marketing, and almost thirty per cent said they were unsure how much was being spent on content, highlighting a reoccurring definition issue for a young industry.

More than 40 per cent of respondents said they do not have a documented content marketing strategy. Six per cent said they were unsure. Of those who are, only a quarter said they outsourced research and planning for content marketing; most produce the work inhouse.

Forty per cent of those surveyed about said that 20 per cent or less of their content budget goes on ways to boost its reach by buying media.

Creating a variety of content was seen as the biggest challenge for content marketers. A skills shortage in the market and a lack of budget were the next biggest concerns.

Which are the greatest challenges you are facing in developing a content marketing strategy within your or your client’s organisation? Source: ACMA

Which are the greatest challenges you are facing in developing a content marketing strategy within your or your client’s organisation? Source: ACMA

Fourteen per cent of respondents rated their company’s performance at measuring the link between content marketing and sales as not at all effective, suggesting that the ROI piece is an area of weakness for the discipline. Just five per cent rated their content marketing activity as very effective at measuring the sales it generates.

The study found that a relatively small part of a content marketing budget goes on paid distribution. More than 40 per cent of respondents said they spend no more than 20 per cent of their budget on paid content amplification. Not a single respondent said they spend more than 80 per cent on paid media.

Anderson

Anderson

ACMA’s co-founder and chair Don Anderson said the results did not come as a surprise, and reflected a market in its infancy.

Brands are still experimenting with content marketing and were not entirely sure what it means, nor what they were trying to achieve with content, he said.

Educating the market was a big part of ACMA’s ambitions, Anderson noted.

The “listening piece” of content marketing was critical, he said, to get a better understanding of what consumers want from content.

Content marketing in Asia “is still very tactical,” he said. “The stuff we’re producing has to be of value. We need to be creating value, and that’s not necessarily always the case with what we’re seeing in the market.”

“The challenge is no different to what we face in social media,” said Anderson, who is regional head of social marketing agency We Are Social.

While 70 per cent of respondents to the survey said they use metrics, 17 per cent said they weren’t sure if they were; 14 per cent said they weren’t using any sort of measurement of their content marketing activity.

The most important metric for measuring content marketing is the engagement rate, with unique and returning visitors also highly rated indicators.

How important are the following metrics to your content marketing?

How important are the following metrics to your content marketing?

Print is the most popular paid channel for distributing content, the study of mostly Singapore-based respondents showed, with out of home the next favoured, ahead of television.

Which paid traditional media distribution tactics are typically employed as part of your content marketing strategy?

Which paid traditional media distribution tactics are typically employed as part of your content marketing strategy?

SEO was the most commonly used way to boost content through paid means online, followed by paid social media such as LinkedIn ads and promoted tweets.

Which paid digital media distribution tactics do you typically employ as part of your content marketing strategy?

Which paid digital media distribution tactics do you typically employ as part of your content marketing strategy? Source: ACMA

A brand’s website is still the most popular piece of marketers’ owned content plans. Facebook and YouTube are also highly rated.

Rank which of the following you typically employ (through owned company pages or accounts) as part of your content marketing strategy

Rank which of the following you typically employ (through owned company pages or accounts) as part of your content marketing strategy. Source: ACMA

Still images were fractionally preferred to video in terms of relevance to content strategy, the study found. Audio was seen as the least relevant channel for content marketers, which goes against a trend of brands launching podcasts seen in other markets.

Rank the following content types in terms of their relevance to your content strategy.

Rank the following content types in terms of their relevance to your content strategy. Source: ACMA

A big majority of the respondents are based in Singapore, where ACMA was founded, with contributions from Hong Kong, Australia, India, Malaysia, Korea, China, the Philippines and Thailand.

Nick Fawbert, board director at ACMA and Asia MD of Brand New Media, commented: “Finding the right balance of suppliers for content marketing within the existing value chain is a big challenge for brands.”

Fawbert

Fawbert

“Creative structures within existing agencies are not typically geared to an ‘always on’ creative approach. Media agencies are under pressure from procurement teams to deliver metrics that focus on media buying rather than creative solutions, and other specialist agencies are playing catch up.”

“It’s easy to see why brands would look in house for the answers – their employees are huge assets, with resources of product knowledge and consumer insight that are second to none. The challenge is that product insight is only one part of the discipline. Expertise lies within specialist content marketing agencies in consumer discovery, commercial ideation, transmedia content sourcing, generation and distribution that can be difficult to develop in house,” he said.
ADVERTISEMENT

Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella Asia newsletter now.

 

SUBSCRIBE

Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing