A new report from the Custom Content Council and ContentWise reveals that businesses are shifting their content marketing budgets online.

Businesses spent more than $40 billion on content marketing in 2011, with investment in digital content and “other” content (including events and videos, though the latter is often characterized as digital content) hitting a record-breaking $16 billion. The Custom Content Council and ContentWise’s Characteristics Study: A Look at the Volume and Type of Content Marketing in America for 2012 shows that print media dominates for now, but the data highlights the growing trend toward marketing with audience-targeted online content.

The study compared marketers’ use of print content, video marketing, white papers, email marketing, website content and more from 2009 through last year. As Brafton previously reported, the data reveals that digital white papers are a rising star in the content marketing world, growing from 23 percent adoption in 2009 to 38 percent in 2011. Email marketing also rose from 66 percent to 71 percent, but the largest growth came in video marketing adoption, jumping from 37 percent to 52 percent.

Even as overall content budgets seem to rise, much of the growth in digital comes at the expensive of print. “Funds that were previously earmarked for print are being shifted to video and web content,” said Lori Rosen, executive director of the Custom Content Council.

 “Funds that were previously earmarked for print are being shifted to video and web content.”

The use of print content dropped from 91 percent to 83 percent over the three year study. This puts website content closely behind print as the most common form of content marketing, used by 82 percent of businesses.

Fresh website content is also becoming a priority for brands, with companies investing in more frequent updates. The study found the average marketer made 145 site updates through articles, posts and more, representing a steady increase over 2011. Of course, this reported industry average still has a long way to go in terms of maintaining active sites to boost conversions: Brafton has previously reported that 92 percent of marketers who acquire customers via their blogs update with fresh content multiple times per day.

Site updates can be a challenge for some, as finding the time to create original content has traditionally been cited a major roadblock in content marketing campaigns. A separate report from the Content Marketing Institute reveals that 70 percent of marketers will outsource content creation this year, while 87 percent are investing in content marketing.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.