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Content advertising slated to grow into a multi-billion dollar industry by 2020


By Laurie Fullerton, Freelance Writer

February 14, 2017 | 2 min read

With a predicted growth rate of 32% year-over-year, and more than 2x the growth rate of digital advertising as a whole, the amount companies will spend on content advertising is slated to grow into a $50bn market by 2021 -- up from $12.8bn in 2016. According to a recent report, it will comprise 14% of all digital ad spend in 2017.

Content advertising forecast

Content advertising is described as the amount of digital ad dollars spent by brands on content programs and at this rate, the global ad market will grow from $590bn this year to $775bn in 2021, at a rate of 7% year-over-year growth. Digital advertising is expected to be 48% of the market, while mobile represents 78% of that total.

The report suggests how marketers might best allocate their digital dollars to implement content advertising programs. Social and video platforms like Facebook, YouTube, SnapChat, and other platforms are seen as a key distribution channel for content-led advertising programs. Advertisers can also access massive scale with deep targeting capabilities on most platforms. The report estimates that social and video platforms will grow at a 30% rate, from $7.3bn in 2016 to $27.2bn in 2021 (this is the portion of their revenue estimated to be used for content programs).

Teads, Outbrain, Google, and hundreds of other advertising networks are aggregating ad inventory (supply) across the web and offering it at “wholesale rates” to advertisers to promote content. The report notes that when more attention is paid to price versus quality, there is often a lack of transparency in terms of where an advertiser’s content will actually run. This segment will grow from $1.4bn in 2016 to $3.6bn over the next 5 years, with each sub-segment growing at different rates.

BuzzFeed, AOL, Conde Nast, Hearst, News Corp., and Gannett are a few of the publishers that the report cited as providing advertisers with a variety of content solutions, with quality content and trusted audiences. These types of publishers can add credibility to content and consumers’ experience of that content, which in turn allows advertisers attract audiences they may not be able to attract on their own. This segment will grow the most rapidly from $4.1bn in 2016 to $20bn by 2021.

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