Engaging your audience with interesting, value-oriented content is one of the major challenges that most marketers are faced with as 2016 arrives. With the technology and attitudes of people changing so fast, it has become crucial for marketers to look beyond the obvious to stay ahead.
People now look for and essentially demand content that is fresh, out of the box and is powerful enough to get them involved, creating personalized, memorable experiences. So, if you too are a content marketers hunting down the trends of tomorrow, it’s time you think out of the box rather than simply jumping on the bandwagon. And create something that’s unique and compelling.
As 2016 is around the corner, let’s have a look at the trends that will change the face of the market (yet again). We anticipate that the following 9 content marketing trends will help you shake up the game in 2016.
1. Interactive Storytelling Will Take Center Stage
We’re sure that in 2016, creating good content will not be enough anymore. The time is to show! Your content should be in the form of an interactive story that actively engages your audience and makes them stay a little longer on your site. No, you don't have to narrate a story literally but explain your products (deliver the message you want to) through quizzes, polls, videos, images, audio clips or immerse websites.
Author, entrepreneur, speaker and online business strategist Doyle Buehler reveals in an article published at SEMrush that the use of images, videos, infographics, presentation and other visuals on all online digital channels help you create a graphical story around your brand and products. This also helps you involve more and more people making your site a hit. Let’s take a look at a classic example of interactive storytelling – MoMA Century of the Child – that compels audience to continue scrolling down their pages!
2. Episodic Content Will Explode
Marketing experts predict in 2016 there will be more episodic content published in storytelling method because of its umpteen advantages. Obviously, stories that leverage suspense and anticipation are more memorable. Consumers would obviously like to come back to know more about the product and services conveyed by episodic content.
Last year too, episodic content was a big hit amongst businesses and marketers. However, we recommend you to take care of the timings of the episodes with a long enough gap to ensure that your target audience actively seeks the next installment. The “Crossroads” series of Coca Cola is a brilliant example of episodic content that never fails to impress and inspire. The brand stepped out of its comfort zone to tell their story in stages so that it builds suspense, develops characters for audiences and increases its web traffic manifolds. Have a look at the episodic content below to experience the magic first-hand:
3. New Entrants in Social Media
We all know what power social media has these days. According to stats provided by Mashable, there are 300 million users on LinkedIn and 320 million active users on Twitter. Designhill.com reveals that Facebook has over 1.44 billion monthly active users. Given these stats, it’s not too difficult to understand that these social networking sites have been over-used and marketers now need to explore lesser known as channels such as Periscope and Meerkat.
Both Periscope and Meerkat help in live social video streaming. An article published at dailydot.com reveals that Periscope generated a buzz of about 51,000 tweets on the day of its launch. On the other hand, Meerkat has been steadily climbing since its launch and has accumulated over 200,000 tweets, though it’s yet to peak past 23,000 in a single day.
Here’s how Periscope and Meerkat look (Periscope left, Meerkat right).
While the major focus has been on Periscope and Meerakat, we‘re sure that Instagram and Snapchat will also invite some attention in 2016. This is because marketers have not yet fully explored the potential of these two prominent social networking sites to connect with target customers.
4. Influencer Marketing Will Be The Next Big Thing
Influencer marketing is a relatively new phenomenon. But it is a trend that is likely to turn out to be the most useful one in drawing traffic in the year ahead. There are certain blogs or entities that consumers already follow and admire. According to Forbes, 92% consumers turn to people they know for referrals above any other source. Publishing your content on such influencer blogs or social media accounts will help you reach more and more people.
In 2016, marketers are likely to launch influencer marketing campaigns to explore the umpteen advantages associated with this relatively new stream of content marketing. Here are some stats that show how significant is content marketing for businesses.
By the numbers:
- Influencers sharing your content can lead to a 3 to 10 times increase in conversion rates.
- 20% of women will consider purchasing products supported by influencers.
- Influencers can also turn into brand evangelists: 77% consumers are more likely to buy from their endorsers.
In fact, Adweek.com reveals in one of its articles that influencer marketing has been gaining solid ground and Google also considers influencer marketing as a good marketing practice. The graph below explains how Google Trends illustrates the growth of influencer marketing.
Image source: Mediakix.com
5. Visual Content Continues to Grow Exponentially
The 'visual trend' is here to stay. After spreading its magic in 2015, this trend will be seen more in the year ahead. Its prominence and importance has only increased especially on social media. A post published at semrush.com says that social media posts with images produce 180% more engagement. Another article posted on HubSpot notes that the amount of video from people and brands in Facebook's News feed increased 3.6x year-over-year. Also, Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets. In addition,
For instance, Grammarly, an online proofreading and correction tool, is particularly excellent at creating memes that provide value and humor for their followers. Here’s a classic example of viral meme from Grammarly.
Yet another example is Starbucks’ visually appealing banner image on Instagram. This image never fails to appeal to the emotion of target audiences.
Marketers who leverage visual content are effectively able to drive traffic and boost visitor-to-lead conversion rates. In a blog published at Forbes, writer Daniel Newman reveals that static, text content is already a passé and has been replaced by visual content.
We predict that more and more marketers will incorporate images in their blogs besides creating interesting and engaging visual content in the year to come. But it important to understand that organization is crucial for visual content. The right visual content should be laid out in a way that vital elements in the page pop up.
For instance, in the grand scheme of things, your company’s logo design should be visible. For another, your contact details must be easy to spot. And all these elements must be presented in visually appealing way. Remember, there’s just one chance for a first impression and often there are no chances for a do-over. So, do well to create visual content that appeals to the emotion of your audiences and meet with the approval of publishing channel that you’re using.
6. User-Generated Content Will Gain Prominence
Here’s another 2015 trend on the list and it’s expected to make a wave in 2016 too. There is no better idea than to tap into the immense power of the consumers and use their authentic and original content to power your marketing campaigns. From reviews to social posts and testimonials, UGC is set to become an integral part of content marketing in 2016.
Also, 64% customers search proactively for reviews before making any purchase decision, according to resources.communify.com. So, pull your socks to take the plunge. But when you plan to use UGC, think of unique ways as 86% businesses now use user generated content and of those, 70% are creating more content than they did a year ago.
Let’s check out one of the best user generated content campaigns. Chobani, a Greek yogurt company, asked its loyal customers to show a little love by submitting videos and images praising its yogurt. And the fans obliged. The content was shared on the company website, billboards, and across other social media channels. Chobani attributes the campaign to a 225.9% increase in revenue between 2009 and 2010.
7. Content Distribution Will Be the Main Vehicle
Content distribution remains one of the most significant parts of content marketing. Distributing content on a number of platforms will set your businesses apart from your competitors. It can be the social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. or your blog and website. It is important that the content reaches your target audience.
An article in Forbes cites that only 26% marketers are investing in content distribution, even though more than half believe they need to. Try and optimize your content for search engines. So, don’t forget to plan a content distribution strategy for next year. After all what’s the point of creating a good content if no one sees it!
8. Mobile Compatibility
Unarguably, this is the generation of smart phones. People use mobile devices to browse the Internet, whether they're at their homes, in their offices, or on the go. With 3.65 billion mobile users across the globe, you need to incorporate content that’s mobile-friendly in your marketing strategies. Responsive website design, embedded videos, and other mobile elements will become staples of content marketing in the coming times.
An article published on Huffington Post explains that 57% mobile users abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load and 30% abandon a purchase transaction if the shopping cart isn't optimized for mobile devices.
Here are some mind-boggling stats that will urge you to opt for mobile optimization if you haven't as yet!
- Over 2 billion people access the web from their mobile devices. (Source: Mobify.com)
- 61% people have a better opinion of brands when they offer a good mobile experience. (Source: mmaglobal.com)
- Tablet users spend 50% more than PC users. (Source: Fastcompany.com)
- 95% smartphone users have searched for local info. (Source: Forbes.com)
- 61% buyers form better opinion about brands that offer great mobile experience. (Source: Econsultancy.com)
- 4 out of 5 consumers use smartphones to shop. (Source: Convinceandconvert.com)
Shell Out More For Content Marketing
Earlier, marketers thought content marketing to be a cost-effective thing. But as it helped in drawing concept, 58% business to business marketers said that they will increase their budget for content marketing significantly by 10%. We suggest you to invest enough to make a real difference and succeed in your content marketing endeavors.
Uploading videos, making strategies, blogging – everything comes at a cost. Also, since many marketers have already planned to increase investment in content marketing, don't lag behind in creating a buzz around your product. Here are a few stats that will convince you to invest in content marketing in 2016:
- 76% marketers are increasing investment in content marketing.
- An average of 28% of the total marketing budget is spent B2B marketing by businesses.
- 64% companies with a documented content strategy have a dedicated content marketing budget as against 14% companies without a documented content strategy with a dedicated content marketing budget.
- 18% companies allocate 10% of their budget to content marketing (majority of responses from 0 to 30%).
So there you have it, our 2016 content marketing trend predictions that are likely to impact the world of content marketing in a big way. While some of them have already made inroads, we will find the newer ones dominating the marketing field and their visibility across all channels will be much more evident than it is today. Embrace yourself for next year as there is a lot that will change in the world of content marketing.
Gaurav Kumar is a blogger, digital marketer and an SEO expert at Designhill.com, one of the fastest growing custom design crowdsourcing platforms. Over the years, he has been helping small businesses and startups improve website design and SEO strategy, content marketing and user experience.You can engage with him on Twitter here.