2018 was a great year for content. Content production has shown an upward trajectory and has kept marketers on their toes all year round, driving a significant increase in budget allocation from the year before. Companies have also built capacities for content, and brands are slowly getting better at drawing engagement from their audiences through different content channels.
But as the year comes to a close, marketers may be wondering if content is here to stay, and if it’s still worth the investment when there are so many different ways to market your brand. The answer is yes.
“Content marketing will become even more important in the next year,” Kate Delos Reyes, Managing Director of GetCraft, said in this month’s Philippine Content Marketing Meetup (Keeping Up With Content: 2018 Review and 2019 Preview). However, it wouldn’t be a simple rehashing of the old, as 2019 is predicted to be a year of more content in different formats.
We may have seen a lot of viral videos in 2017 and 2018, but Delos Reyes says that a shift in demand is underway. “People are now interested in seeing more types of content, and in different formats through different channels,” she added.
So where does this bring us, and what should marketers be prepared to explore in the coming year?
This year, Instagram introduced IG TV, which allows users to create and upload long-form videos of up to 10 minutes long (or an hour for select accounts). This new feature also allowed brands to create content that cater to the appetite of audiences who prefer to watch longer videos on the platform.
So, as more and more brands eagerly jump on the IG TV bandwagon, long-form and vertical videos will become a top priority for marketers in 2019. Influencers and content creators have also been thrilled about the new feature, as it gives them an opportunity to deliver longer content to their followers.
In a recent Instagram report, the company stated that users under 25 spend more than 32 minutes a day on Instagram and those 25 and older spend more than 24 minutes a day -- which makes it no surprise that a lot of their users don’t mind streaming longer videos, as long as it’s on the same platform.
“The upcoming buzzword for marketers is immersion — a strong feeling of being physically present in a virtual world,” says Jes Scholz for the Search Engine Journal.
Virtual reality (VR) is not entirely a new concept. It’s been around for quite some time, and has been used in different industries for a myriad of purposes. However, it wasn’t until recently that marketers started seeing its potential as a way to create content, as new advancements in technology started to make immersive content and VR formats more accessible. Also, according to Nielsen, immersive content in 360-degree videos and virtual reality allows for much higher and longer emotional engagement in audiences, as compared to traditional media.
With the technology that is now available at our disposal, Delos Reyes encouraged marketers to explore the possibilities of immersive content, since content creators will have more ways to engage with their audiences through 360 videos and VR. “If you were a real estate or travel brand, imagine what it would mean to your business to give your potential customers a virtual tour,” she said. Then again, using VR and 360-videos just for the sake of it could be detrimental to your strategy. “Don't get too get caught in the technology. Make sure you have a strong narrative.”
If you rely on a platform that you don’t own to distribute your content for you, a single change in algorithm could be a death sentence to your strategy. This is why being able to create and distribute your own content will become increasingly important in 2019.
One of the best ways to achieve this is to have your own website or content portal, through which you can grow your community with owned content. This gives you full control over how you use and distribute your content, which can be via social media, online communities, or newsletters.
Newsletters or Electronic Direct Mailers (EDMs) are also often ignored, which is unfortunate because they are actually a powerful way to reach your customers, as they are already captive audience. “Your own mailing list is your own community, and you can build that,” said Delos Reyes. “If you have a strong mailing list, you will not be at the mercy of the algorithm of existing online platforms.”
Danah Gutierrez, body positivity advocate and editor-in-chief of Plump.ph, also agrees that brands have a better chance at engaging their audiences when they become their own media and produce their own content.
“I think it’s very important that you curate the kind of lifestyle you want for your market and show the benefits of your products and your services through [your own platform]. You can own it and really engage your viewers and your audience,” she said.
At GetCraft, content has always been about staying relevant to your audiences across all stages of the purchase funnel. However, in 2019, relevancy alone may not be enough.
“Given that there will be more content in 2019, you have to stand out,” said Delos Reyes. Personalized content experiences is expected to take center stage in the next months. Audiences who are looking for more authentic and helpful interaction with brands will be expecting content experiences that are tailored to their specific needs.
In a content marketing survey by OneSpot and Marketing Insider Group, data showed that 78% of consumers consider personally-relevant content as a determining factor in their purchase decisions. So, in order for brands to stay on top of their game, they must be able to give their consumers personalized content that is delivered to them at the exact time they need it.
That said, you must always keep an eye out for out for new ways to create relevant content that allows your audience to interact with your brand on a more personalized level.