The State of Content Marketing in 2016

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So far
By Annabel Hodges, contributor. 27 June, 2016
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Content marketing is an increasingly important part of every marketer’s toolkit. So how are we looking as we approach the midway point of the year? Here are a few takeaways we’ve seen across the industry over the last few months.

Consumers and brands are growing savvier each year, recognising the value of content as compared to older push advertising methods such as display.  In fact, according to a February 2016 Smart Insights’ poll, content marketing is considered the most effective digital marketing activity of a wide mix.

A survey undertaken by the Content Marketing Institute at the end of 2015 suggested 77% of marketers expected to increase their content marketing efforts in 2016, with only 2% expecting to spend less.

A strategy is not the same as a plan

The CMI recently released their 2016 Enterprise Content Marketing report, which has some interesting stats on the year to date. When asked if their organisation has a content marketing strategy, only 35% confirmed that they do indeed have a clearly documented strategy. Although this figure is up compared to 31% last year, it does demonstrates how slow organisations can be to ensure a recognised marketing platform becomes a solid part of the everyday business strategy.

Measurement remains a concern

Key to any successful marketing campaign is the ability to accurately measure its success and impact. Content marketing is a particularly difficult case when it comes to tracking meaningful metrics. Just 29% of marketers said they were clear on what success looked like for their content marketing campaigns. This means a whopping 71% were either unsure about how to track the success of their campaigns or were unable to pull those metrics.

Snapchat took a brave step when it embraced the atypical vertical video format and forced its competitors and advertisers to rethink the way they approach video.

Live casting rises in popularity

Following its launch in 2015, Periscope kicked off the ‘live’ casting trend to moderate success. This platform appears to be gaining more widespread appeal as Facebook jumps on the bandwagon. The recent viral hit that was ‘Chewbacca Mom’ had been viewed a staggering, and record-breaking, 105 million times within three days of being uploaded. It looks like this trend will only continue to grow throughout the rest of the year.

Vertical videos are becoming a more accepted format

Snapchat took a brave step when it embraced this atypical video format and forced its competitors and advertisers to rethink the way they approach video. This year a number of large brands including Aussies Hungry Jacks and Universal Pictures have embraced this format while, Virool, a programmatic video distribution company is planning to launch a vertical video ad unit. This trend is certainly one to keep an eye on.

Episodic content is gaining traction

Contrary to traditional content creation, the trend towards episodic content allows you to re-engage with your audience regularly and build anticipation of the narrative you are creating. Podcasts are a great example of this, and are a platform that continues to see significant growth in popularity. Another increasingly popular method is episodic short-form video such as Nike’s Margot vs Lily series that was launched on YouTube earlier this year.  The videos are short enough to maintain attention but the eight-episode format allows the brand to really get into its storytelling. Even without the big budget, episodic content can also be used for blog posts and articles – the key is the narrative.

Contact us or phone us on 02 8247 8700 to find out more about how The Dubs can make content marketing work for your business.

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Originally hailing from the UK, Sydneysider Annabel is a digital marketer with over a decade's experience working with global agencies and brands. A data and spreadsheet aficionado, she recently swapped SEO for motherhood and we eagerly await the analytics report! She is also maternally bilingual in French and English and speaks fluent Spanish.