Digital Marketing

Content and how it is delivered is in the digital realm is continuously changing. Here’s our review of innovations in digital marketing in 2016

The impact of Content on Digital Marketing

Content marketing has revolutionised the way brands reach out to their customers to sell their products and services, with the hard sell of ads and promo bombardment, being replaced by subtle, engaging content in the form of blogs (long and short form), videos, podcasts and strong images.

In research by http://www.smartinsights.com/, asking leading figures in digital marketing to offer up their digital marketing predictions for 2015, they reveal: “Content marketing topped the poll for the third-year running,” and “was even further ahead compared to previous years since mobile marketing and social media marketing have declined in importance as marketers have implemented these changes.”

Video killed the print stars

One of the biggest shifts in the world of digital marketing over the last three years has been the ever-growing use of video and images to deliver a marketing message. Fifty five per cent of Pinterest use the images on the platform to find and shop for products. And video is what Social Media Examiner calls, ‘the social media content format of choice to drive social engagement and other marketing goals’.

In April 2016 The Content Marketing Association reported on research by PwC, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) Digital Adspend, which showed that video ad spend had increased by a massive 50.7 per cent to £711m. And in their own research, the CMA found that on average, 78 per cent of content marketers spend up to a quarter of marketing budgets on video content.

But a word of warning with ad blockers and users intolerance of being sold to, things are always changing. At the Code Conference for 2016 (http://www.recode.net/) in June, Mary Meeker, a star of silicone valley made her Internet trend predictions for 2016. Acknowledging that video, and live video were of growing importance for content marketing, she did however point out that 81 per cent of Americans mute video adverts.

Live Video

Live video is one of the key trends Meeker identifies for 2016. It is driving content managers to take on a new approach to their content and social strategy. The digital world continues to evolve at a lightening pace, and the platforms on which we deliver this live content are giving more choice in terms of what a creative marketer can offer up.

Snapchat is a fast growing channel for live video, and although it’s currently the platform for the under 25s – it’s definitely one to watch. In June 2016 Snapchat overtook Twitter in daily usage and in November 2016 Snapchat hit the headlines again when it announced it would list on the stock exchange with an expected value of up to $25 billion. Meanwhile, Facebook Live is growing fast, a reported 400 per cent in its first six months (http://variety.com/2016/digital/news/facebook-chris-cox-sheryl-sandberg-live-1201900331/).

Live Streaming in Sport

One area where live streaming has had a big impact is not surprisingly in sport. One of Meeker’s presentation slides gives a hypothetical mock up of the complete sports viewing platform that includes a live broadcast, plus analysis, scores, and replays – and notifications/social media tools.

Digital Marketing Innovations

However, it’s not so hypothetical, iSportsAnalysis.com are a company who are doing just this but for amateur sporting teams. Founder, Anadi Taylor explains, “We’ve created a place where teams can analyse their game, and keep up to date with live streaming to see how their team is performing.” Taylor, an experienced developer has created a sophisticated platform which, importantly, also integrates detailed analysis of useful data derived from GPS devices, offering a unique analysis service – with fantastic opportunities to engage targeted sporting consumers. It’s companies such as these who offer sports brands who are creatively challenged content marketing opportunities.

Research has found that consumers prefer brands who they perceive as innovative. Partnering with innovators who’ve already put time and effort into ground-breaking technology and intelligence can help you extend your company’s marketing reach direct to your target market, and at the same time help them continue to grow.

The importance of mobile

Given that over 50 per cent of smartphone users grab their smartphone immediately after waking up, it’s vital that any brand working on content considers how their video, or blog don’t forget how it will look on mobile. Messages need to be succinct and grab your user’s attention, so use words and images that will incite emotion, and be shareable. Over half of those surveyed for the ‘Video Content for Engagement’ study cited mobile (and remember this includes tablets, watches and in-car devices), as their primary channel for branded video content, with a third also putting mobile as the biggest growth area for video. And in the aforementioned, Digital Adspend research, video spending on mobile doubled (98 per cent) to £353m as more and more people chose to watch video, TV and film on smartphones.


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Fiona Bugler