The Top Content Marketing Trends Dominating 2016
It seems like every year since 2010 has been heralded as the year of content marketing. It isn’t far from the truth, considering marketing teams across the globe have increased their focus on content with every passing year.
At the start of the year, we published a post about the top marketing trends for 2016. With a little over half the year already underway, it seemed like the right time to do a round-up of the top trends that are making waves in the content marketing world.
Short, visual stories a.k.a Snapchat
In the five years since its inception, Snapchat has grown to become one of the fastest growing social apps and networks worldwide. With 100 million active daily users and a projected growth rate of 27%, it has emerged as a promising frontrunner in the battle of the social networks. Snapchat’s success lies in the way it combines the quick yet immersive nature of modern conversations.
Snapchat’s many features- stories, geo-filters and more recently Discover show how the platform is trying to become more usable for brands as well. Their recent acquisition of Bitstrips, the company behind the Bitmoji app, is yet another step in the same direction. Bitmoji which had under 1000 iOS downloads in the US when it was launched in early 2014, gained popularity over the past year and is currently is the sixth most popular download on App store. Brands like Steve Madden and Michael Kors have incorporated Bitmojis into their marketing campaigns in the past. However, it will be interesting to see how brands utilise the Snapchat Bitmoji collaboration to reach their audience.
If you’re looking for interesting ways to incorporate Snapchat into your own marketing strategy, check out these brands.
Long form is back
We live in interesting (marketing) times. The popularity of quickly consumable media and dwindling attention spans might make you wonder if long form content has bid the world goodbye. But, research indicates otherwise. Even short-form’s biggest supporter Twitter, is rumoured to have recently considered increasing the character limit to 10,000.
What makes long-form still relevant? The reason lies in the basic premise for content marketing- the need to be useful. While social media posts and product announcements need to be brief and entertaining to capture the audience’s attention, how-to’s and guides need to still be useful. People interested in such content are looking for better ways to work and improve efficiency. Long form also has the obvious benefit of doing wonders for SEO. There is more relevant information, scope for including keywords without it looking spammy and it adds to the credibility of your website. More power to long-form!
A lot of our EpicBeat data reaffirms the case for long-form content. Our recent report on content marketing for the financial services industry showed that engagement levels were substantially higher for content pieces that had over 2000 words.
More interactive, user generated content
Brands like GoPro or Red Bull have been at the forefront of user generated content campaigns that encourage users to add themselves to the brand’s story. Platforms like Instagram and Snapchat have made it easier for brands to engage with their audience. While it’s common to see contests that encourage user submissions, one of the campaigns that really stands out for its creativity was the Belkin and Lego partnership. Electronics manufacturer Belkin, collaborated with Lego to float a contest that encouraged users to build cool phone cases using Lego studs at the back. The best ones were featured on the Belkin website. A clear indication of the campaign’s success is the fact that the Lego Builder cases are still sold on the Belkin website over a year later!
Webinars and Podcasts are on menu
Companies are constantly innovating the ways they can engage with their audience. While B2C players have a lot of easier options in the form of UGC campaigns or social media contests, the challenge gets tougher for B2B players. B2B content has to toe the line between being interesting and being useful. Enter newer forms of expression like webinars and podcasts.
Especially in the SaaS world, webinars have gained prominence and have become a favored format for marketers. Research indicates that 60% of marketers use webinars as a part of their content marketing strategy.
Podcasts are another brilliant method of reaching huge audiences that are no longer deterred by physical boundaries. What is even more interesting is the versatility of the format. There are serious podcasts offering marketing advice, as well as entertaining comedy podcasts. In fact, some of the most popular genres for podcasts globally are music and comedy. Here’s a great infographic made by Copyblogger that traces the history of podcasts:
Bonus: I recently found a great new Podcast on Product Hunt. It features some top class marketing advice by Neil Patel and Eric Siu and features their favorite marketing tools. Love it!
Tying it all together with predictive analytics
Digital transformation of companies lead to the content revolution and eventually lead to the integration of marketing, sales and social into one cohesive unit. The expansion of big data technologies and predictive analytics has taken it a step further by adding definitive ROI measurement to the mix. However, the benefit of predictive analytics isn’t limited to content alone. CMO’s can use predictive analytics to understand their existing customer base and mirror those learnings to similar groups outside. By creating content that works with that potential audience group, they can attract newer leads that have a bigger chance of converting into customers.
The biggest benefit of predictive analytics is the way it closes the loop between marketing and sales. It facilitates a better understanding of what works where. It enables a more pragmatic dialogue between sales and marketing about what content needs to be created and why.
So there’s a round-up of the top content marketing trends that are shaping 2016. If there’s anything else that has caught your eye, tweet us and let’s get talking!