NewsCred’s CEO says its new funding shows how content marketing ‘is becoming marketing’
NewsCred, a content marketing software platform that allows brands to plan and measure their content campaigns and license relevant articles from the likes of The Guardian, The Financial Times, and the BBC, has just raised another multi-million dollar funding round, which it says demonstrates that “content marketing” is swiftly moving up the agenda in terms of marketers’ priorities.
The $42 million Series D growth equity funding brings the total funding in NewsCred to date up to $88.8 million. This round is being led by FTV Capital. Liron Gitig, FTV Capital partner, will also join NewsCred’s board of directors.
NewsCred — an eight-year-old company that has offices in New York, London, and Dhaka — says in a press release that it will use the investment to grow its UK and European operations.
Shafqat Islam, NewCred CEO and cofounder, told Business Insider the size of this round — which is almost bigger than its total funding to date — shows how content marketing has grown beyond a small marketing channel. “Content marketing is becoming marketing,” he said.
Content marketing is hard to define. It’s everything from blog posts, to videos, to licensed articles from news outlets. Some people in the marketing industry argue “content marketing” is simply everything a brand does to communicate with its customers. But others define content marketing as a channel in its own right. Market research company PQ Media predicts content marketing will become a $313 billion industry by 2019.
Islam said: “As the market has matured, we used to sell into people who ran content marketing divisions, or were the content editor, or were social media marketers. The last 18 months it has become CMOs who have realized content is a much more strategic and foundational part of what they do. You ask CMOs unaided ‘what are your top three priorities?’ everyone will put content in the top three.”
That puts martech (marketing tech) companies like NewsCred in a strong position when it comes to attracting the attention of VCs. And that comes at a time when ad tech companies have been taking a beating on the public markets.
Islam said: “VCs will not touch the ad tech market with a 10-foot pole, and a lot of ad tech companies are repositioning themselves right now — some as martech or some as SaaS [software as a service] — to try to get funding.”
Back in June, Menlo Partners managing director Venky Ganesan concurred with this view, telling The Wall Street Journal: “[Investment has] almost evaporated. These companies are struggling to even get meetings.”
Content is “immune” from ad blocking
Ad sellers are also battling right now with the rise of ad blocking. Almost 200 million people worldwide use ad blocking software on a monthly basis, up 41% year-over-year, according to a report from Adobe and PageFair.
Islam thinks the rise of ad blocking is directly correlated with the rise of content marketing.
“Logistically, from a purely tech point of view, [because content marketing is loaded in the same payload as the actual organic content on a page] it makes us immune and bullet-proof to ad blockers,” Islam said. “But there’s something bigger going on. All marketing is suffering. Advertising has become an enemy of the people. People say it’s terrible, disruptive, interruptive, and hasn’t seen any innovation in the last 20 to 30-years.”
Content, on the other hand, is relevant, interesting and can be measured for performance than display ads because humans share content with their friends online, whereas non-human bots can “click” on ads, according to Islam.
Litron Gitig, FTV Capital partner, said in a statement: “The marketing landscape is converging and content is at the core. Quality content is crucial for building brands and driving sales. Today, customers engage with about a dozen items of content before making a purchase, NewsCred provides the best solution and has already taken great strides at redefining how the modern marketer can successfully navigate the complexities in this rapidly evolving space. In NewsCred, we see not only a passionate and sophisticated management team, but also an enterprise solution that the market absolutely needs.”
Other participants in this Series D round include existing investors FirstMark Capital, InterWest Partners, IA Ventures, Mayfield, and Greycroft.
Courtesy of BusinessInsider.com