1) The Mobile-first Audience is Growing
The numbers are stunning. 54 percent of all content in the UK is consumed on a mobile device. n the US, the number is 44 percent. Some Asian nations (Singapore at 52%, Japan at 54%) are even higher. The global average is 42%.
So what does this mean for marketers?
Content must be bite sized, easily digestible. It needs to convey the relevant message to the target audience in a very quick snippet, experience, view.
Implementing a mobile first strategy is about more than just creating responsive content; it means designing a mobile experience, one that uses all of the features on smart phones as they evolve along with technology. It will be the first point of consuming and managing content.
2) Apps are Now Mainstream
For many consumers these days, a smartphone is the first thing they engage with in the morning, and the last one they see before lights out. Increasingly, marketers must provide consumers with apps that inspire their loyalty and trust.
In the years to come, brands’ mobile apps will replace social communities as the tag of choice on advertising, including TV. For many brands, the app will become the go-to channel for rewarding and building loyalty, driving engagement, purchasing products or services via eCommerce on mobile (also known as mCommerce), and managing billing and payments.
Enhanced functionality, such as indoor maps, real-time recommendations based on location, keyless room entry, rewards management and redemption, and payments, will become seamlessly integrated into apps, increasing engagement and value for the average consumer.
3) Podcasts Are Powerful
Just as blogs have developed into full fledged (and well funded) news websites, the podcast is growing from under-the-radar entertainment to a legitimate information channel. Podcast subscriptions now number more than one billion, according to Apple. ‘Serial’, the most popular podcast ever, has been downloaded more than 40 million times. And the number of unique podcast listeners has tripled, from 25 million to 75 million listeners, over the last five years.
These numbers, while impressive, are hardly surprising given the rise in content consumed via mobile. Podcasts are perfectly suited to be consumed via mobile — you download them once to be listened to wherever, whenever you choose, as often as you like —and they’re easy to produce. While creating written or visual creative content takes time, making podcasts is quick. And once transcribed and edited, they can be easily repurposed into online content.
Another advantage: The level of engagement by consumers is deeper for podcasts than it is for banner ads or ‘likes.’ Listeners tend to spend quality time with podcast content, which drives advocacy and creates loyalty.
4) Independent Brand Content Sites Rule
As part of their content marketing strategy, many brands — General Mills, Red Bull, Saab, and Marriot among them — are creating promotion-free content hubs to use as launching points for a deeper relationship with their customers. These independent, vendor-free content sites are rich with free articles and resources.
Brands that build a substantial content site and community gain credibility in the marketplace around their area of expertise. By voicing opinions on their category and / or industry without being linked to a specific brand, they attract followers who might not otherwise follow their brand.
Visitors to vendor-neutral sites are likely to both consume and share more content than visitors to vendor-specific ones. Vendor neutral blog posts can be turned into Podcasts, eBooks, Webinars, and more, resulting in extra links back to a brand’s commercial site. And there are content reuse and ROI advantages. Contextually relevant content from commercial websites can be used to increase click-through rates.
5) Content Marketing Automation is Key
Within a decade, content management systems — or CMSs — will become content production and distribution platforms. As content management systems improve and marketing automation technology becomes more sophisticated, competition for content will increase.
Improved analytics software, used to track consumer behavior, will use complex algorithms to determine a dollar value for every piece of content, such as how much one article contributed to a buying decision, or how much impact a YouTube had on sales.
To stay in the game, brands must prepare their marketing operating systems and C -Suite for technology investment. Content based on insights from big data will matter more and more, as will ultra-personalized sites.