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  • Writer's pictureThe Branded Content Project

SMBs increase content marketing ad spending to $80B

Updated: Nov 7, 2022

Content marketing among local advertisers has gained ground since the pandemic according to new research from Borrell Associates and the Meta Branded Content Project. In 2020, an extraordinary number of local businesses put priority on getting their story out – which often included how they were handling the crisis. The response to these stories must have worked because the amount being spent on content marketing has risen 26% since then, to $80 billion.

Almost two out of three local advertisers polled by Borrell Associates engaged in content marketing in 2021. These businesses tended to be larger and have seasoned marketers at the helm (42% are master marketers). These storytelling local businesses also used more media channels and more social media than those who did not engage in content marketing. The most striking attribute may not be in how they differ from their peers, but rather how much they believe in content marketing two years after many of them had just discovered it.

For many local advertisers, business is back to normal, without the same need to inform that was necessary in 2020. However, the need to carry on with content marketing did not go the way of mask mandates. In fact, 42% of content marketers declared that this style of promotion would become more of a priority in 2022. That is building on the 38% of them who said it was going to be more of a priority back in 2021.

It seems that they are starting to understand that content marketing can help them connect with consumers. Thirty-four percent of content marketers chose “better tell story/connect consumers with meaningful content” as the chief reason they are putting more priority on content marketing. Furthermore, 24% claimed that prioritizing content marketing simply helps them “stay competitive/grow business.”

Finally, we explored the who, what, where, and when of content marketing creation. Content marketing is created in-house and distributed through mostly digital channels. Local businesses told us they needed help with creation and distribution, but they are mainly focused on getting their stories in front of the right people – and that it is working. However, seeing as the amount spent on creation and

distribution has increased by nearly $20 billion in two years, one would need to assume it is working just fine.


The Meta Branded Content Project is designed through a strategic partnership between the Meta Journalism Project, Local Media Association and the Local Media Consortium to help facilitate additional growth, engagement, and revenue success for more publishers of all shapes and sizes.

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