A major shift is underway, as distribution challenges for content marketing reshape the advertising landscape to support the content model.

Data Point #1: Content is a pillar of modern marketing.

On average, B2B marketers are spending 30% of their marketing budgets on content marketing (source). For B2C content marketers, 24% of their budgets on content marketing (source). These dedications of a third or fourth of budgets show that content isn’t a fad, but rather a core element of modern marketing.

Data Point #2: Budgets for content marketing are growing rapidly.

The majority of both B2B and B2C companies expect to increase content marketing spend next year. (source / source). Ever-swelling budgets everywhere are causing content marketers to compete in an environment already saturated with both user-generated and professional content. According to AOL and Nielsen, 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared every day (source).

Data Point #3: Those not paying for content distribution will be soon.

The inbound marketing process of building links, SEO and developing a social media or blog following lacks the immediacy needed to make the short-term differences necessary to rise out of pack.

To boost views and engagement with content, and to act as a catalyst for organic sharing, the majority of marketers are turning to paid methods of content distribution.

Agencies are leading the charge. 84% of agencies who have not yet paid for branded content distribution plan to do so in the next 12 months. For brands, that number is 57% (source).

The disproportionate rate at which brands and especially agencies plan to use paid media to increase the reach of content confirms that as content marketing matures, issues with not getting enough reach block its potential success.

Conclusion: Paid media is the bridge between content and audience.

Current trends show that ad spend will shift from traditional brand and product ads toward “content ads” that entertain and inform audiences with branded content. Paid media is the key to the successful distribution of most content marketing.

Many paid channels exist for scaling content marketing already: promoted social posts, native ads, paid discovery, rich media ads, video ads, and so forth. As marketers seek greater audiences for content marketing, paid media is the lever that will be pulled to achieve immediate distribution.

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