The business of content marketing

For many firms, the use of shared online content has become an increasingly important component of the marketing strategy. So who are these content marketers and how are they helping businesses grow their brand?

Marketing through shared online content has become a big business. The market for influencer advertising is projected to exceed $21bn in 2023, and a third of companies in some of the most active markets spend more than $5,000 per month on content marketing. 

But not all content marketers are the same. The data below defines a content creator as someone who participates in creative activities and posts, shares or promotes their work or activities online, and are dedicated to creating social content at least monthly with the goal of growing their social presence. These folks are also important for brands looking to advertise on social platforms, but they don’t have the following or impressive salaries of ‘influencers’, defined here as content creators who have more than 5,000 followers on their main social channel and currently earn money through posting social content.

So who are these content marketers? What are their aspirations? And how can they help brands grow and reach new consumers?

Let’s start with the last question first. According to marketers, the primary benefit of influencer advertising is increased brand engagement, followed by an increase in social media traffic. Ten percent of marketers reported a positive impact on conversions and another 5% saw a lift in sales. And while influencer marketing campaigns may feel more organic, and some companies may save some ad spend, only 3% reported more efficient spending and another 3% cited lower production costs.

So who are the content marketers? It’s first important to understand where content marketing has the biggest following. Brazil has a particularly large content marketing population - about 50% of its population of 213 million are content creators. There are around around 86 million content creators in the US, but that only accounts for 26% of its population. By contrast, more than a third of the populations of South Korea and Spain are content creators, which accounts for 17.5 million and 17 million creators, respectively.

There are slightly more male content creators in most countries surveyed, but only by a small margin. The largest gender gaps were found in Japan and Germany, while France, Spain and Australia were split roughly equally along gender lines.

From a generational perspective, millennials were the most active content creators in every country surveyed, followed by gen X. Surprisingly, gen Z and boomers compare quite differently depending on the jurisdiction. In Brazil, 19% of content creators are members of gen Z while only 10% are boomers; however, the situation is flipped in Japan, where 18% are boomers and only 12% are gen Z.

So how many content creators can be called ‘influencers’? Brazil and Australia have the highest share of influencers among their content creator populations (19% each), followed by the UK (17%) and the US (16%). The US, the UK and Australia also have high rates of business ownership among content creators (26%, 24% and 21%, respectively).

And while many content creators aspire to make money from their online efforts, a smaller share dream of becoming influencers. In the US and Brazil, more than a third of content marketers are working toward becoming an influencer - those who wish to become and influencer and own their own business are 15% and 20%, respectively. But those influencer aspirations drop to 16% in Germany and just 14% in Japan, with markedly fewer wanting both to become and influencer and own their own business. In the UK, 30% of content marketers dream of becoming an influencer, but only 12% want both to become an influencer and own a business.