2015 was a great year for content marketing, but we think 2016 is going to be even better. It will be bigger, bolder, more exciting and, hopefully, more strategic. Our team recently had a chat about where content marketing is headed in 2016. Here are our predictions.
“Now that the vast majority of brands are producing digital content in some capacity, here’s my hopeful prediction for 2016: this will be the year that brands refocus on their values and creativity. As content marketers, we’ve gotten a lot better at using data to steer our strategies, measure content success and prove ROI. Somewhere along the way, we seem to have forgotten that good content needs to be creative. It needs to inspire, to help, to engage. Good content starts with the WHY – what customer need does this content fulfil and what brand value does it reflect? Only when we understand the WHY, can we fully utilise the data available to us. Otherwise, we’ll end up with lots of well-analysed, well-measured boring content.”
Michael O’Shea, Digital Content Executive:
“Gamification is something we’ve already seen in the wild, however, it will continue to grow in 2016. Gamification is not just limited to the quick and dirty Facebook quizzes, but includes the fresh novelty of 360 degree video formats on YouTube and virtual reality platforms. Broadcaster David Attenborough, at 89 years old, has embraced virtual reality in his short film ‘First Life’, using Samsung VR to publicise the Natural History Museum in London. Budweiser have also dipped their toes into the tepid waters of 360 video formats in 2015. While we do not know quite how deep this VR rabbit warren will stretch, keeping people engaged in 2016 will require something physical to magnetise attention and raise brand awareness.”
“Brands already think about creating content around their audience’s mutual values and wider interests. The smartest brands will take this to the next level in 2016: how do we improve from here? Too many brands produce content that they think their audiences like, when the logical approach would be to just ask. 2016 will be the year where brands focus more on a collaborative approach, utilising social media channels and platforms such as Reddit to ask customers for direct feedback. Customer relationships will become more important, as brands start to see customers as a content creation resource, rather than just a passive audience. You can brainstorm all day, but without audience feedback, you may be missing the mark.”
“The rise of the ad blocker has been well documented in the second half of 2015 – from iOS 9 moving to support ad blocking software, to record numbers of users adopting ad blockers. Content marketers have not escaped this change, as branded content is often also blocked. We’ve seen sites respond by withholding content from users with ad blockers enabled or by appealing to users to donate directly to the site instead. Most consumers know that online publishers rely on ads to run, however, they simply don’t care enough to be bombarded with paid content. 2016 will be the year online publishers grapple with how to balance the needs of advertisers and brands with the needs of their audiences.”
“The increasingly blurred lines between advertising and content will continue to merge in 2016. In 2015, Facebook announced a decrease in brands’ organic content reach. Instagram advertisements are now available to all, and Snapchat is one of the hottest properties in digital advertising right now. Gone are the days where brands could just create great content and expect it to reach their audience organically. In 2016, brands will need to allocate more budget for paid content distribution through social media or platforms like Outbrain, Taboola and Buzzfeed. 2016 will be the year of paid amplification.”
The whole 4Ps Content Team:
We believe that the best teams should reflect the phrase ‘no man is an island.’ We’re already seeing a shift with our clients towards better integration of digital marketing, PR and e-commerce teams. However, we still regularly encounter teams seated separately with infrequent contact. To create effective content, we need input from across the organisation. The Content Marketing Institute reported that 61% of the most effective teams will meet at least once a week. To maximise content strategies, we must first solve these internal organisation issues.
4Ps isn’t just another London SEO agency. To discuss how SEO and content are evolving together in order to keep pace with new developments in user interaction and search algorithms, give us a call on +44 (0)207 607 5650 for a no-obligation coffee and chat about data, marketing and user behaviour across all inbound channels.