The custom content industry is showing no signs of slowing down. Though print still represents the majority of money put towards custom media (a total of $23.6 billion, down slightly from $24 billion), electronic, video and other forms of custom content spend reached an all-time high to $16.6 billion in 2011. According to the 12th annual industry study “Characteristics Study: A Look at the Volume and Type of Content Marketing in America for 2012” from the Custom Content Council and ContentWise, video is used by 52 percent of surveyed marketers.
Print is used by 87 percent of companies as a content platform, with websites utilized by 82 percent of surveyed brands. Survey findings, which tracked behaviors from 2009 to 2011, report that those companies using print are relying less on the medium, with use down from 91 to 83 percent. Companies using video depended more heavily on the platform through the past three years, with usage up from 37 percent to 52 percent. Use of email for custom content purposes is also up, from 66 to 71 percent.
The external audience is still the largest target for custom media, with 73 percent of content aiming for this demographic. Only 27 percent of custom media is intended for internal audience use.
Despite a tough 2011, USPS is still the preferred distribution method of custom media, according to 75 percent of survey respondents.
While use of four color printing is on the rise (89 percent of respondents use all or some four color in custom content), the number of unique titles declined from 1.7 to 1.4 titles per company. Average circulation also declined from 52,000 to 47,500.
The number of unique printed custom titles drastically dropped, down from 110,000 to 88,500.
Advertising still does not appear to be a vital portion of custom media. Only 37 percent of custom publications included advertising. 20 percent carry paid ads, while 17 percent include in-house ads (this number represents a 6 percent increase in house ad usage from 2010 to 2011).
Though down from 2010’s 29 percent, custom content still represented 26 percent of marketing, advertising and communications budgets in 2011.