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The Content Council


New Custom Content Council Study Measures all Branded Content Expenditures in 2010

New York, NY (November 29, 2010) – Branded content initiatives are considered by marketers to be more effective than any other leading form of advertising and marketing, according to the 2010 study conducted by the Custom Content Council in partnership with ContentWise, a leading branded content newsletter. The number one reason for using branded content is customer education and retention, and marketers see their investment fueling longer-term returns.

This year's study shows that content spending is the second highest ever, at $1,366,605 per company. Print represented 43% of the total spending, while electronic and other accounted for 35% and 12%, respectively.

"This is good news for us all. Although we are coming out of the recession, our industry has held its own," said Keith Sedlak, Chair of the Custom Content Council and Chief Marketing Officer with Meredith Integrated Marketing. "The 2010 numbers illustrate a spending level that is nearly 100% above 2008. Add to that the fact that 68% of companies surveyed continue to shift their ad dollars to branded content. And lastly, there was a 20% increase in companies surveyed this year versus last year that plan to grow their branded content budgets."

The Custom Content Council Spending Study concludes that the recession is easing, noting that 31% of those surveyed expect content spending to increase next year.


Reason for Using Branded Content and Its Effectiveness:

  • 66% of marketers think branded content is superior to direct mail and 63% think it is superior to public relations.
  • The primary reason to deploy branded content initiatives is to educate customers, according to 54% of the companies surveyed, followed by customer retention (23%)
  • The leading secondary reasons were customer retention (35%) and educating customers (27%), though brand loyalty factored in at 26%.

Spending as Part of the Media Mix:

  • 29% of the average overall marketing, advertising and communications budget funds were dedicated to branded content. This is the second greatest ever (first was 32% in 2009).

How Budget Funds are Spent: Electronic and other forms of branded content are impacting cost factors, showing an emphasis on acquiring personnel skilled in this area.

  • The average spending for print forms is $256,655 on personnel, $214,874 on production, and $125,343 on distribution.
  • The average spending for electronic forms is $267,632 on personnel, $81,246 on production, $62,129 on distribution, and $66,908 on programming.
  • The average spending for other forms is $169,255 on personnel, $81,709 on production and $40,855 on distribution.

Outsourcing Branded Content and Spending:

  • The use of services of external agencies (such as custom publishers, PR/Marketing firms, design firms, video production companies or interactive agencies) to handle some aspect of branded content initiatives remains consistent at around 50%.
  • Outsourcing was more prevalent among print forms (45%) of branded content, than it was among electronic (19%) or other (23%) forms. Of all the branded content initiatives, some portion of these initiatives was outsourced 31% of the time.
  • The average spent among those companies that did outsource (thus excluding those who did not outsource) was $583,500 versus a previous high of $885,646 in 2009.

Shift in Spending: For the first time this year, responders reported to what degree their organization is shifting from traditional forms of advertising and marketing to new forms (i.e. branded content, content marketing, custom publishing, or custom media).

  • A total of 68% of companies indicate that they are shifting to branded content.
  • The majority of companies (61%) have experience a moderate shift in their spending while 7% report an aggressive shift.

About the Custom Content Council:
The Custom Content Council (CCC) is the leading association for the custom publishing industry in the United States, and is focused on promoting the growth and vitality of this dynamic marketing discipline. Marketers across the country, the media and other interested constituencies rely on the Custom Content Council as the authoritative source of industry news, data and trends, information on the effectiveness of custom publishing, and referrals to the top custom publishers in North America.

ContentWise Methodology:
The research was conducted via online and mailed methods targeting a random sample of companies across all industries. More than five thousand invitations were distributed and approximately 200 surveys were completed and returned, producing a +/- 6% degree of accuracy at a 90% confidence level.

Among the responding companies were: Allstate Insurance, ASPCA, Hoosier Energy, Honda Financial Services, Lockheed Martin, MS Department of Transportation, Proskauer Rose LLP, SiriusXM Radio, State Farm Insurance, World Vision, YMCA and Zale Corporation.

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