By Jonathan Chaupin, originally published in Entrepreneur on 11/2/2017.
From creation to distribution, new technology is enabling marketers to forge new paths to engage consumers. And smart brands are looking to better understand how those audiences consume content.
Adopting new techniques will keep marketers and their businesses ahead of the curve. Here are five content-marketing trends the experts agree companies should consider when putting together strategies for the upcoming year.
1. Immersing consumers in virtual reality.
Virtual reality (VR) already is prominent in real estate, entertainment and sports. It only makes sense that businesses would take advantage of this additional channel to incorporate immersive content into marketing strategies. Tech and media companies such as Sony, Facebook and Apple have made recent innovations and investments not only in VR but also in augmented reality (AR). It’s estimated that AR and VR spending will reach $3 billion in 2017.
These figures indicate that the two “realities” will create even more opportunities for marketers to optimize content moving forward. MANDT VR’s partnership with PodcastOne is a good example of how immersive content offerings have transformed a previously untapped market.
“Now, consumers can not only listen to PodcastOne talent including Adam Corolla, Dr. Drew and Shaq, but they also have unprecedented 360-degree access to their favorite stars,” said MANDT VR Founder and CEO Neil Mandt. “Additionally, through PodcastOne’s app analytics, brands and content creators have unparalleled visibility into how users are engaging with ads, which is a huge help when trying to drive conversions and planning marketing strategies.”
2. Using artificial intelligence to curate content.
In an era of content overload, AI makes content production more predictive, personalized and productive. Open Influence is just one company that’s leveraging AI to tag photo content and identify which influencers are generating the most engagement across various product categories.
“For our influencer marketing campaigns, we’re now able to index and analyze millions of pieces of content, making it visually searchable in real-time using Amazon Rekognition along with other AI tools,” Chief Technology Officer Micky Dionisio said. “AI makes it possible to find relevant influencers based on their campaign objectives while effectively predicting and monitoring campaign performance. This allows marketers to find them based on performance and ROI rather than who’s available.”
3. Creating quality content through native advertising.
Native advertising will play a crucial role in the next generation of content strategy. Megan James, content strategist at MGID, believes consumers will see a narrower divide between content marketing and native advertising as the latter matures and becomes less intrusive.
“Stricter advertising policies from tech giants like Facebook, combined with increasingly savvy consumers who won’t respond to noticeable, poor-quality ads will force native advertising to completely disassociate itself from terms like clickbait and wormhole,” James said. “Intelligent native advertising will be one of the largest distribution methods for high-end content that drives conversions.”
4. Creating authentic interactions via livestreaming.
A report from social-media analytics company Social Bakers found that the average video post generates 135 percent greater organic reach than still-photo posts. Here’s another significant differentiator: Viewers spend eight times longer on live video than on-demand. No wonder, then, that live video is becoming the core of all online content. By 2019, video content will account for 80 percent of all global internet consumption. ProSense Founder and CEO Stanislav Glukhoedov regards live video as invaluable content.
“Livestreaming fosters the closest interaction possible to a real-life conversation where consumers can ask questions and receive responses from brand ambassadors directly in real-time,” Glukhoedov said. “Its interactive nature gives consumers an increased sense of engagement that is unedited and authentic — an experience traditional social content like blog and photo posts cannot create.”
5. Developing and telling stories with influencer marketing campaigns.
People are naturally more inclined to purchase a product on the recommendations of friends, family or even strangers. Information from “experts” or directly from brands pales in comparison. Online influencers are a trusted voice and act as a bridge between brands and consumers. Influencers have created communities of loyal followers who respond well to social-media posts. As a result, the industry is seeing new types of engagement. The abundance of content has led to a continued trend toward richer and more relevant content types, such as “stories.”
“It’s no surprise we are seeing a rise in ‘stories’ on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, as this format consists of linkable images and videos with the flexibility to vary content in several ways,” said Eric Dahan, Open Influence CEO and co-founder. “Additionally, because it is ephemeral and has a short shelf-life, it is highly relevant and enticing for users to engage with — similar to a limited-time offer at your favorite store. It is no wonder why ‘story’ content is being commoditized by social platforms.”