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From In-House to Influencers: How Brands are Meeting Their Content Demands

In today's hyper-connected world, ecommerce marketers are facing an intimidating challenge: creating personalized and diverse content that can engage audiences across a multitude of channels. Traditional means of generating content often fall short of meeting these demands, leading brands to turn to alternative sources. 

At Cohley, we're committed to helping brands solve this problem, so we surveyed over 500 of them to find out how they're currently sourcing content. In this article, we'll explore the results of our survey and explain why having varied sources of content is crucial for brands to succeed in the modern digital landscape.

“Are you sourcing content today? If so, how are you doing it?”

Understanding how prospective clients are currently sourcing content is hugely helpful information heading into an initial conversation with them. Are they solely generating content in-house? Have they incorporated user-generated content (UGC) into their digital marketing strategy, and if so, how are you gathering and/or generating that UGC? 

One of the primary reasons that Cohley exists as a company today is that “traditional” means of generating content, via an agency or in-house resources, don’t come close to meeting the modern-day marketer’s content demands. Why? Well, there’s…

  • New channels (e.g. TikTok) that demand a totally different type of content
  • The one-to-many, “Mad Men” days of marketing are long gone – content personalization is critical, and personalization requires a ton of content
  • Success on paid social channels, led by Meta, requires A TON of ongoing content testing and optimization to achieve consistent, positive results 

Here’s a breakdown of the responses we gathered, courtesy of our friends at Perceptive Panda:

To do some simple bucketing of the responses, here are the top three most popular responses to the “How are you currently sourcing content?” question. 

  1. Influencer / UGC platforms (32%)
  2. In-house (29%)
  3. Users/contractors (23%) 

“Can you bring this to life with an example from a top brand?”

See below for a specific breakdown of content sources for one of the top ecom native brands on the planet for reference. 

And where is this marketing team actually putting their content, sourced from these three categories, to use? According to one member of their team,

“UGC, Influencer, and content from freelancers is 100% for paid and organic social. Our in-house team is split into 2 functions –  Social media and brand design. Social media is shooting 100% for organic and paid social. Our brand design team creates assets for everything else (website, emails, TV, packaging, etc.) but they do create some ad assets for our team to test."

To recap…

  • UGC, Influencer, and Freelancers – 100% put toward paid and organic social
  • In-house team – Responsible for ~50% of social media content used. 50% of content used for social is from the brand design team

So, in Summary…

Consumer brands’ marketing teams, including the top brand example that shall remain anonymous highlighted above, are turning to a variety of sources to meet their digital content demands. 

Looking forward, brands are going to continue to source large volumes of diverse, channel-specific content to feed the content monster. The brands that get creative and stay open-minded in terms of where and how their content is sourced will absolutely have a leg up on their competition. 

Third-party content, or content produced outside of in-house and/or agency, will continue to grow in popularity –  This is partly due to necessity and partly due to the content that’s actually performing on today’s most important digital channels.