It Takes 12 Days for Most Brands to Create Content – Study

Large brands have the marketing dollars to outspend most local competitors, but the process of ad or content creation and distribution takes a long time for these brands. As businesses get bigger and bigger, the inevitable checks and balances that go into place become increasingly more time consuming. Despite the various business advantages brands have over small, local competitors, speed is not one of them.

According to a 2018 study from Adobe, 58% of brands said it takes them 11 hours or more to bring a single piece of short form content to market. When it comes to long-form content, 61% said it takes 21 hours or longer.  On average, the study found that it takes 12 days to bring a single piece of content to market for brands.

The study featured survey data of over 1,000 “creative, marketing, advertising and IT professionals” with the majority representing brands with over 500 employees.

While it isn’t clear what “short form” and “long form” content and ads mean in the study, one can assume something like a social media post or a search ad vs. a white paper or blog post. Additionally, adding to the time of getting these materials posted is the back and forth required when working with multiple vendors. At the brand level, content changes hands, is iterated on and edited often, thereby slowing down the process.

The study’s focus went beyond simple content creation challenges, looking to better understand the barriers to content personalization (below). Time was the biggest, most obvious challenge, followed by cost and “insufficient detail about the different needs of each version.” The insufficient detail roadblock is interesting, suggesting personalization requires an internal communication process that is currently missing for these brands.


While personalization is a key priority for brands, content quality was the biggest priority. This focus on quality is encouraging, and indicates brands aren’t looking to sacrifice quality for speed and volume. Still, quality is a subjective determination and what brands find as “high quality” might just be noise to the average consumer.

The broader implication of the study is that small businesses are uniquely positioned to challenge national-to-local competitors with content that is quicker to production, timelier and more responsive to local happenings. The problem is many local businesses can’t fully exploit this advantage because they are busy running a business, don’t fully recognize this opportunity or simply don’t have the time to effectively DIY.

In a 2018 Infusionsoft survey, 22% of SMBs said “finding time and resources for marketing” was the biggest challenge they face. Even more compelling, another 29% simply said they had no plans to use digital marketing. This is likely a function of negative past experiences, a feeling digital tactics don’t work, or simply limited resources/budget. Whatever the case, local marketers are in a unique position to help SMBs exploit what few advantages they have over big brands, with timely, localized and authentic content being one way to do that.

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