European spend on paid content placement is set to increase 186% by 2020, according to new forecasts.

The prediction is born out of a report released today (May 4) by Yahoo and Enders Analysis, which has total spend on paid editorial across the continent at €2.12 billion by the turn of the decade.

That projection amounts to more than double the €1 billion predicted for 2016 and almost three times the €740 million spent in 2014.

It derives from research based on 19 European markets, but drilling down on to three mature nations, the UK could see budgets grow to €451 million – enjoying a natural advantage thanks to transferable English-language content.

Fellow big earners in Germany and France could see figures of €413 and €179 million respectively.

It’s worth mentioning that the report defines the marketing method as “content which is intended to fulfil an advertising role”, focusing on ‘paid’ content where brands pay publishers to distribute what they produce.

This differs from ‘owned-media distribution’, where brands take the content to the consumer under their own steam.

Behind the growth

Content marketing’s growth has been put down to a combination of a maturity among brands realising the potential of the channel, next to “plummeting” distribution and production costs. As noted by the report, publishers are looking to the relationship between themselves and their audiences in efforts to squeeze out more lucrative revenue options.

The prominence of mobile is also cited as a key driver for the growth of content marketing and native advertising, which combined would constitute a potential 64% of all paid media via mobile devices by 2020.  

Supporting both of these trends is an evolution of content measurement standards – especially on mobile – with device IDs providing accurate attribution around a number of behaviours, resulting in better visibility for cross-device and social engagement.

Furthermore, the report points out that social media is serving as a powerful content distribution channel, referring specifically to Yahoo’s own social platform Tumblr as one method of distribution.

“The rise of content marketing reflects the increasing media appetite of today’s consumers, and reveals a growing opportunity for publishers, advertisers, and content creators alike,” commented Nick Hugh, vice president EMEA of Yahoo.