Today's average Internet user spends approximately 7 hours per day across all devices, which equates to more than 48 hours per week - a full two days of a seven-day week. As consumption grows across all platforms, including social media, online news, and streaming services, an increasing number of people are abandoning ad-supported linear offerings.

Expectations for engaging and entertaining content have skyrocketed, and mediocre blog posts are no longer acceptable. Traditional content marketing has faltered, prompting businesses to increase their investment in online advertising, particularly PPC.

Consumers, on the other hand, dislike advertisements and are willing to pay to avoid them, both online and while watching their favorite shows. Statista estimates that 38.8 percent of internet users now use ad blockers, and the average CTR (click-through rate) for ads on Google Search is 3.17 percent.

As more people become desensitized to traditional advertising, banner ads, and spammy newsletters, businesses must create original and engaging content in order to engage their target audience.

⏱ Times Are a-Changin' ⏱

On a technological level, things are moving rapidly toward data protection and privacy. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enforcement is growing, third-party cookies will be a thing of the past for Google Chrome by the end of 2023, and Apple has made its mobile identifier an opt-in feature.

With Chrome enjoying close to a 70% share of the browser market and handling more than half of global web traffic, it effectively sounds the death knell for third-party cookies. 

This means that if your business is currently relying on third-party data…

🚀 Houston… You have a Problem 🚀

Moving forward, first-party data will be the new gold standard for effectively understanding user behavior and retargeting by delivering ads to people who visited your website but did not convert.


Because you know where the data came from and how it was gathered. This is great news for consumers because these changes ensure better privacy for consumers while also increasing demand for higher-quality media online.

What is High-Quality Content?

With great content, every company, no matter how big or small, aims to increase brand affinity and establish thought leadership. Blog content is frequently created and shared with the goal of increasing organic traffic and decreasing PPC spend. Furthermore, businesses exchange content or services in exchange for an email address.

This strategy has the potential to be effective if enough content is created and it is relevant to the company's industry. However, blogging is no longer sufficient. While over 7 million blog posts are published every day, only 5% of all content created by businesses generates the majority of brand engagement. In other words, 19 out of 20 blog posts receive little to no interaction.

Peddling corporate news and writing painstakingly planned SEO "content" that reads like a drunken friend does not build brand authority and trust, nor does it position your company as a thought leader. In fact, because your content reflects your company, it diminishes your brand in the eyes of viewers.

People are engaged by great content, and in this new landscape, content must do more than traditional content marketing or advertising. It must both entertain and inform. With third-party tracking on its way out, businesses will need to find new ways to create engaging original content.

The general consensus is that content engagement on the web is best measured by three key factors:

1. Active Page Dwell Time

The amount of time a user spends with content in the foreground tab of a browser.

2. Scroll Rate

The percentage of views where users scrolled, thereby indicating that they're interested in the content on a page.

3. Scroll Depth

The percentage of the total page length that users scrolled. The more of the page the users scroll through, the more engaged they are.

Getting Creative

Content has always been at the heart of marketing, from a catchy tagline after a TV commercial to in-depth white papers downloaded by CIOs and CTOs. However, as the demand for content generation grows, it is difficult and costly for businesses to keep up and remain relevant.

When creativity is infused into media, it creates a positive attitude toward the brand and results in lower advertising spend, allowing businesses to avoid the cost of a high and use their marketing budget much more effectively.

For example, by advertising to 2000 people or businesses that share the same values, CTR is much more likely to increase. It's a more effective long-term strategy than creating "recycled" keyword-rich content and dull whitepapers in an attempt to obtain someone's email address, which is just a long spam campaign.

In general, every company wants its content marketing efforts to achieve three main objectives.

Strengthen brand affinity and thought leadership.

Increase organic traffic and decrease paid traffic spend.

Create evergreen content to increase brand equity and SEO juice.


🎭 Branded Content 🎭

In-house content studios are now all the rage, with businesses like Red Bull and GoPro leading the way.

Going in-house is proving to be the answer to most companies' long-term sustainability problems, and the industry's biggest names have restructured their teams to make it a critical part of their digital advertising revenue.

Whether it's a startup looking to disrupt an industry or a Fortune 500 company like IBM or JP Morgan Chase looking to engage a new generation of customers, businesses big and small are changing the way they connect with their audiences - and the best way to do so is through stories, not advertisements.

Take, for example, Bayer, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies. "When a company like Bayer does this, it's no longer a fad; it signals a fundamental shift in the marketplace," said Joshua Palau, VP of media strategy and platforms at Bayer, at the ANA In-House Agency Conference.

Many other companies, such as Clorox, Anheuser-Busch, and Verizon, have their own marketing departments. They say that if you want something done properly, you must do it yourself... So, what better way to ensure that your brand's content is exactly what you want it to be than to create it in your own studio?

Give them quality. That’s the best kind of advertising.

Milton Hershey

Why In-House?

According to a World Federation of Advertisers study, more than half of multinational marketers, 57 percent, have established an in-house creative agency and according to Gartner 32 percent of CMOs moved their creative production from agencies to in-house in 2021.

In addition to having more control, brands that have made the switch have discovered other advantages of not having to go through a separate production agency: faster production times and lower costs.

Lowering production costs allows a company to continue investing in the tools and infrastructure required to build a strong internal agency, increase advertising budgets to reach more potential customers, and use cutting-edge technology to host and distribute content appropriately.

Most importantly, companies are saving money. A lot of it. 

  • JP Morgan Chase: In-house production arm, Inner Circle, has reportedly saved the company $20 million in marketing costs.
  • Procter & Gamble: Now has its own agency that writes and produces advertising "for one-tenth the cost and in one month instead of five months."
  • Unilever: Reports that by switching to in-house, the company saved 17% on agency fees in the first year.

When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.

Ancient Chinese Proverb

Innovative Companies Leading the Way

Media companies like Bloomberg, the New York Times, and Washington Post were among the first to set up digital content studios as their print advertising began to dwindle and clients sought more creative ways to reach consumers and create brand affinity. 

With the growing popularity of ad-free platforms and the end of interruptive advertising, more companies are now following suit. 

Mailchimp Logo

Mailchimp is setting the standard with its multimedia-rich publication Courier as well as its new business entertainment platform Mailchimp Presents.

Salesforce Logo

Salesforce+, a new service for business professionals, is the company's most recent technology offering for video streaming, according to CMO Sarah Franklin. The service is part of Salesforce's larger effort to shift its marketing strategy away from paid media and toward owned and operated media.

Shopify Studios Logo

Shopify Studios, which debuted in 2019, is a full-service film and television production company with the mission of inspiring and redefining entrepreneurship through original, entertaining, and thought-provoking storytelling.

Red Bull Studios Logo

When it comes to the business of creating and distributing eye-catching content, few do it better than Red Bull Media.

REI Logo

REI established its own content division, Co-op Studios, to create and distribute stories in the form of films, podcasts, and editorial programs with the goal of changing people's perceptions of the outdoor experience.

Corona Logo

Corona is one of the most recent to jump on board, launching Corona Studios late last year to create content about travel, surfing, sustainability, and other interests of the beer brand's customers. Free Range Humans, an eight-part series about people who quit their jobs to live an outdoor life, was launched by the studio, which has 11 full-time employees. It is promoted via trailer ads on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, with an average view-through rate of more than 60% - roughly 50% higher than traditional ads.


Create better content. 🎨


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