In the constantly changing media marketplace we’re currently faced with, the resources, tools, techniques and platforms that are effective today may not be able to drive the results you’re looking for tomorrow. Consequently, marketers and others in the marketing industry are forced to evolve their tactics or risk being left behind as content consumption patterns develop and social media platforms shift.
At MAPR, we strive to stay on top of the latest trends in digital marketing in order to get a handle on where the content marketing industry is headed and to discover what’s next. A recent article published on PR Daily discusses an infographic from MDG Advertising forecasting the supremacy of six digital marketing trends in the near future and we’d like to offer our thoughts.
The infographic, titled Six Digital Marketing Trends to Budget for Now, highlights key findings from major consumer surveys and analyst research reports covering digital developments. According to the infographic, video, data analysis, automation systems and chat engagement (through messaging apps) call for significant investment, but without great content, your investment is nearly worthless.
The Importance of Solid Content
Too often, companies heavily invest in services offering data collection and automation systems and they neglect the impact of their content and the role it plays in digital marketing. The third trend discussed on the infographic, “Content Analysis and Audits,” highlights the importance of running analyses and audits to determine both the effectiveness of your content and the impact of your marketing investment. Fewer than half of the surveyed B2B marketers and even fewer B2C marketers have clarity about the success of their content marketing efforts. Content analyses and audits will help you discover what it and isn’t working when it comes to your content and regularly checking in on your content’s performance is a great way to determine which pieces of content are stale and which are driving your desired results.
As the infographic notes in its fourth trend, “In-Depth Content Pieces,” for a long time, marketers have believed that content needs to be short and sweet in order to be effective. While short and sweet content has its place, it turns out this long-held assumption isn’t always true and longer, more complex pieces of content are engaging audiences as well. The infographic notes that the most-shared corporate blog posts on social media are between 1,200 and 1,400 words long and in 2016 alone, the length of the average post increased by 19 percent. Just because the trend is moving towards longer, more in-depth pieces of content, does not mean your piece should be verbose or riddled with extremely difficult or hard-to-understand language. As the graphic notes, “in-depth doesn’t mean inscrutable” and blog posts with difficult-to-comprehend language are the least shared. Make sure your complex, in-depth content is both intelligent and easy-to-understand and you’ll begin to capitalize on this marketing trend and drive desired results.
Other Trends to Keep an Eye On
With the world moving increasingly into the digital age, mobile messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Snapchat have become vital methods of communication for many consumers, especially the younger demographic. Today, consumers increasingly expect to be able to communicate with their favorite brands when they want to and on their preferred platform. Engaging with prospects and consumers on these platforms now can give your organization an advantage down the road as messaging apps already have more than 4 billion active users worldwide. This rise in messaging apps has coincided with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots, typically used for information acquisition or customer service. As messaging companies continue to build out their services and provide more avenues for connecting brands, publishers and advertisers with users (such as chatbots), media companies and marketers need to invest more time and resources into providing better user experiences and improved customer service on these platforms. Exciting possibilities to provide better experiences and improved customer service are emerging for organizations that are paying attention to trends in digital marketing.
Finally, the last digital marketing trend to budget for is one of the most effective — video. Video is increasingly popular and effective as more than one-third of marketers surveyed in 2016 said visual marketing was the single most important form of content for their business and sixty percent of marketers surveyed said they use video in their social media marketing strategy. As we discussed in a previous blog post, you should be building more video into your social media strategy because Facebook (the world’s most popular social media platform) appears to favor video content over image and text posts, video has become (relatively) cheap and because it works!
According to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook users are now watching 100 million hours of video per day and the company is creating incentives for media companies such as BuzzFeed and the New York Times as well as for celebrities to stream live video by paying them hefty amounts to do so. Video used to be expensive to produce as a company would have to hire a videographer or video agency, pay for time spent filming and editing and then spend again for post-production advertising. A short video could end up costing thousands of dollars and small businesses and agencies without the deep pockets to compete were finding it difficult to crack the video market. Today, for as little as $10, you can promote a video on social media and reach thousands of people. Additionally, you can target your video to highly specific audience segments so that the people seeing it might actually care enough to watch it and engage with it. In fact, when you share a video post on social media, your audience is 10 times more likely to engage with it than if you shared an image or text post.
In the end, it is crucial to stay on top of developments in the digital marketing space and we’re proud that our agency has the expertise to handle the majority of these trends with our in-house team. While producing great content is one thing, if you don’t create a strategy that makes sense for a user experience or leverages technology in the right way, that content won’t matter. In order to market your organization successfully, you must budget not only for data collection and automation systems that increase the impact and scale of your marketing efforts, but for engagement and great content production, including the use of video. It’s about taking advantage of both sides of the same coin. Look at it this way, a crappy commercial that airs during the Super Bowl is no better than an incredibly well-done, amazing commercial that no one ever sees. If your organization isn’t prepared to invest in the most important digital marketing trends today, you’ll be left behind by tomorrow.