Business Analysis and Data Technology as a Concept The Content Battleground is a tough place to be right now. With so many brands creating content at hyper-speed, only those that focus on performance will find success in the coming years. We asked Jung Suh, VP of Digital Channels at SAP, where she thinks the industry will go for content marketing in 2016.
Here are her predictions for content marketing in 2016:
Content marketing has officially defied the hype. Instead of fading from the conversation after exploding onto the scene like so many other buzzworthy trends, branded content has cemented itself as a powerful way to drive results. In fact, just this spring, companies like LinkedIn are seeing 40 percent of ad revenue from content marketing. But “content is here to stay” doesn’t translate to “stagnant.” I’ve had the chance to witness the evolution of content from a creative marketing add-on to a legitimate business driver in its own right. Here are four key trends — some new, some ongoing — that I predict will set the tone for content marketing in 2016.
1. Content isn't king, performance is
When content marketing emerged, every brand sought to become a publisher. It was all about creativity and creating value for customers in a largely qualitative way. The volume of branded content soared and brought with it the rise of content management systems aimed at making workflows more efficient and effective. And now that we’ve fulfilled that desire, we’ve reached the next, much-needed, step: content quality. The focus has shifted away from “content for content’s sake” to achieving performance through a closed loop of targeting demand, optimizing content to meet that demand and measuring results to continue improving in future cycles. Using data to achieve content performance isn’t novel. The shift to content performance marketing has occurred over the past two years, but I predict this mindset will win out as the only path to true content success within the year. Those not on board will be left behind.
2. Content gets competitive
Not only will the role of data continue to grow, but the actual type of data we use will shift as well. Many marketing solutions today have a myopic focus on their own data: What topics and keywords are most popular within my content? Which content is lowest-performing on my site? These are all good questions for optimization, but you’re missing out on a massive — and I mean massive — wealth of insights by not tapping into competitive data. The sheer amount of content out there today is staggering — over five exabytes of content are created and 27 million pieces shared every day. Content marketers are fighting for attention on a verifiable content battleground. You need to understand how your competitors’ content is performing in order to fine tune your strategy. It may seem that we’ve been talking about big data ad infinitum, but the truth is we’re still in the learning phase, and we’ve barely scratched the surface of how web-wide data can inform content strategy. Over the next year, our own data will become more of a given. Simultaneously, the use of competitive data to improve content strategy and optimization will increase in a major way.
3. Mobile comes first
Marketers are not only up against Google, Bing, and other search engines’ tightened stance on mobile-friendliness, but consumers are also upping their standards. Unlike the former practice of building out desktop first and retrofitting to mobile, it’s increasingly important today to think about mobile display and content quality first. Consumers are scanning through more sites and content than ever before and that will only grow, according to content performance expert and BrightEdge CEO Jim Yu. He shared that in their latest mobile report, “we found that smartphones and tablets accounted for 35 percent — yes, a full third — of the organic search market in 2014. And this year, smartphone share is going to balloon by at least another 50 percent. The bottom line is, mobile is no longer an afterthought for consumers, therefore it can no longer be an afterthought for marketers.”
4. The rise of the content analyst
I believe the push toward content performance above all else will lead to the emergence of a new, permanent role at organizations: the content analyst. They will be tasked with ensuring their organizations are using deep web-wide data intelligence to meet demand. Content marketing as a practice is only growing, and especially for complex enterprise companies, it will be necessary to create a position that’s specifically focused on how to apply data insights to content. The only way to scale content performance across the sheer number of products, countries, and topics that a given enterprise organization can encompass is to combine sophisticated machine learning with human intuition. Ultimately, content is here to stay. It gives us more and better opportunities to meet our customers where they are, provide value and impact the bottom line. Each of these predictions are about trimming the fat. Gone are the days of guesswork. It’s time for smarter, leaner, more-targeted content.