Content Marketing (& Publishing) M&A on the rise in 2016


It’s that time of the year. Marketing predictions are flowing through the Internet and Content Marketing is not an exception. Not surprisingly Content Marketing Institute includes “Content Marketing M&A” as one of the major trends for next year.

Robert (Rose) and I (Joe Pulizzi) expect the momentum of mergers and acquisitions to continue to increase in 2016 and beyond. This is the obvious part of the trend. What interests us more is the growth of brands acquiring blogs and publishing companies – to accelerate their content initiatives and transform their approach to marketing. We discuss how even small companies can benefit from this approach.

Which again is a natural consequence of 2 major trends:

  1. General M&A activity is on the rise. I wrote about this trend and the consequences for marketing in a previous post on Pulse.
  2. The attention to Marketing and specifically Content Marketing/Publishing is dramatically increasing. It doesn’t take an expert to tell that the Content Marketing software industry is exploding. Venture capital in this space is growing at an unprecedented rate. One example? The recent announcement from NewsCred.

And so Content moves to the middle: Content Marketing has clearly taken center stage for brands, entrepreneurs and investors. The Economist published recently a study on content and marketing investment. See a short summary, via CMO. From the summary:

Our own study at the Economist Intelligence Unit found that 93% of companies planned to maintain or increase their investments in content this year. The technology and the glut of talent has made that part easy. What’s harder for companies to embrace is an approach that puts their readers’ needs ahead of their own, to engage with each reader not as a consumer but as somebody who is grappling with a complex problem.

A well-researched post from NewsCred, supported by data collected from Forrester Research, reports figures and considerations:

  • There are 1876 marketing technology companies according to chiefmartec. Of these, over 80 are listed in Content Marketing;
  • 2012 to 2014 really built industry momentum. Oracle, IBM, NewsCred, Optimizely, Outbrain, Skyword, and Taboola all acquired smaller companies
  • The Content Marketing software and services industry pulled in an estimated $26.47B in revenue in 2014, with an overall growth of 13.3% according to analysts at PQ Media. This growth is estimated to continue in the double digits this year, with content marketing global spend estimated at $145B for 2015, with revenue slightly over $30B.
  • Industry budget growth overall is estimated by PQ Media‘s Global Content Marketing Forecast 2015-19 at $313B by 2019;
  • In 2013, the Custom Content Council listed content marketing as a $44B industry, meaning brands were spending that much globally on content marketing strategy and services.
  • As of September 2015, a total of $1,097,847,416 (according to recent, publicly available data from CrunchBase) has been invested from 2006 to present in the 89 companies chiefmartec defines as “Content Marketing” technology platforms.

Content Marketing budget is on the rise, too, based on a recent post from NewsCred.

“Increasingly, we are seeing some pretty sizable increases in budgets,” said Ryan Skinner, senior analyst at Forrester and author of the report mentioned by NewsCred. He said this is being driven by several factors, including the shift from traditional media to online, particularly among millennials; customers’ self-directed research during the purchasing journey; and ad blocking, which makes the need for valuable, relevant content even more important to marketers.

Summarizing, the Content Marketing software and services industry is growing mind-blowingly fast, but things will soon start to merge. There will be more acquisitions; there will be a race to raise more across the board.

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