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  • Writer's pictureThe Branded Content Project

Local businesses expect to make content marketing a bigger priority this year

Meta Branded Content Project/Borrell Associates poll found content marketing even more appealing to businesses following Covid pandemic

New York, May 11, 2022 -- The amount spent on the creation and distribution of content marketing increased by nearly $20 billion in the last two years, and 42% of local businesses said they expect to make content marketing even more of a priority this year. Those are the findings of a new study by the Meta Branded Content Project in collaboration with Borrell Associates, Inc.

The Meta Branded Content Project 2022 Content Marketing Study used information from 2,811 respondents in Borrell's Local Advertiser Survey and interviewed 194 advertisers specifically on content marketing through Borrell’s SMB Panel to gauge their interest and thoughts. The study found that content marketing among local advertisers has gained ground since the pandemic. In 2020, a significant number of local businesses put priority on getting their story out -- which often included how they were handling the crisis of the pandemic -- through content marketing. Now, as businesses begin to return to pre-pandemic “normalcy,” content marketing has become a more consistent way of communicating with their client base and drawing in new customers.

“We expected local businesses to decrease their use of content marketing following the COVID crisis, when it was widely used, so we were pleasantly surprised to find that their interest actually increased since 2020,” said Julia Campbell, general manager of the Meta Branded Content Project, an initiative by the Local Media Consortium, Local Media Association and Meta Journalism Project. “This tells us that businesses really believe in the power and promise of content marketing, even though many of them had not even heard of it a few years ago.”

According to the survey, the No. 1 reason businesses are prioritizing content marketing this year is because of its ability to help them connect with their customers through meaningful content. Last year, businesses’ top reason for prioritizing content marketing was that COVID-19 demanded a new approach. Other reasons businesses gave for prioritizing content marketing this year include: to stay competitive and grow business, and to focus more on digital and driving website traffic. The survey also found that informative videos, sponsored content/segments and seminars/workshops are expected to see the biggest increase in marketing spend this year.

"Content marketing, or storytelling, has evolved at the local level in the past two years,” said Corey Elliott, executive vice president of local market intelligence, Borrell Associates. “It went from something a local business felt compelled to do during the pandemic to a necessary part of their marketing strategy, which they now admit not only helps them connect with their customers, but helps them stay competitive and grow their business.”

Content marketing material can be found in digital and non-digital formats and is used to engage and connect with a user (reader, viewer, listener) which will ultimately lead to interest in a company. As one local business who participated in the study commented, “[Content marketing] is an effective way to stay in front of people and give them information that is helpful and positions us as an expert.”

When asked how local media companies can help local businesses achieve their content marketing goals, responses included by better understanding that business and its customers and by helping businesses understand how to create effective content, design and distribution.

You can read the full findings of the 2022 Content Marketing Study here.

About the Meta Branded Content Project

The Meta Branded Content Project is designed through a strategic partnership between the Local Media Association, the Local Media Consortium, and the Meta Journalism Project to help facilitate additional growth, engagement and success for more publishers of all shapes and sizes. Branded content uses the strength of storytelling to provide a valuable benefit to advertisers while increasing audience engagement and revenue for local media publishers. This powerful revenue stream has shown to be a success for many media organizations.

About Borrell Associates, Inc.

Borrell is the premiere provider of local advertising data and insights. The company’s client base includes thousands of investors, ad agencies, and media companies looking for detailed ad-spending data, fact-based consultation, and unique insights. Borrell runs the largest survey of local advertisers in the nation and tracks and forecasts local ad spending across any U.S. market. Its principal product is Compass, which can be seen at

Media contacts:

Christina Gillham

Kristin Brocoff

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