Where will your marketing budgets be spent in the year ahead?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Grant Whiteside

According to the annual EConsultancy 2014 marketing budgets report, Content Marketing will be the most invested area of growth in the coming year. Over 74% of all the survey respondents (including both client side and agencies) agreed that Content Marketing will be a key area of increased marketing spend.

With 63% of marketers responding to the survey citing a planned increase in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in the coming year, we can see the correlation between less money being spent on dodgy link building practices and more of the budget spent toward getting the right customers to engage with a brand’s content.

So despite the lack of clarity of how organic search visibility relates towards final conversions there is still a growing demand for Content Marketing – even with Google encrypting the majority of organic search queries. Part of this planned increase in SEO spend must stem  from the knock on effect of penalties picked up by brands taking the cheapest and most irresponsible ways of gaining stronger search engine rankings in years past, but it is clear the demand for content is also on the rise.

Every brand has had the opportunity to cheat their way to a higher position for a search term, however it looks as if the lessons have been learned and a more considered approach to visibility and engagement are on the cards for most brands. As much as paid media is the fastest and most measurable way of gaining ground and hitting objectives, there is a driving need to plan a way forward to try and keep ROI as high as possible by investing in organic search.

The market is more buoyant than before and the propensity for brands to be more focussed toward client acquisition rather than retention is an interesting phenomenon, even more apparent than the year before. Acquisition as a focus has increased YOY from 31% to 34%, whilst content creation and SEO for client retention has dropped from 24% to 18%. It looks as if there is a good market share to play for.

Content can tell stories that adverts can’t; it can compel people to think about a change, from a product upgrade to a change in lifestyle or suppliers. With increasingly more funds being directed at content and more being created than ever before, the challenge for content creators will be to get their work found organically. Who said ‘SEO is dead’?