You don’t need us to tell you that there are now more ways than ever to find, consume and share content, whether that’s via social media channels, smart TVs, podcasts, or voice platforms like Alexa and Siri.
Such an abundance of choice means there’s increasing pressure on brands to effectively communicate with their customers across all possible touch points while still keeping an ear to the ground to anticipate emerging platforms that could provide fresh opportunities.
Using insights from industry insiders, we look at the most significant trends that creative and digital leaders need to think about as we edge closer to 2019.
Surprise! The young folks are online
Research into the UK’s content consumption habits by Adobe, revealed that millennials spend an average of 8.5 hours a day reading, watching, creating and engaging with content on their smart devices. To put this into perspective, the UK average is currently 6.9 hours. However, millennials have got nothing on their younger counterparts, with Generation Z spending 10.6 hours engaging with online content every day.
Despite considerable choice when it comes to devices, most content is still consumed mostly via smartphones, with Millennials spending an average of 5.2 hours a day consuming content on their phones, compared to 5.9 hours for Gen Z.
Influencers are here to stay (for now)
Today’s content consumers are more cautious and sceptical, thanks to the rise of fake news prompting questions around authenticity and the quality of any content that comes from people outside of trusted networks.
Adobe’s research revealed that 58% of those surveyed would share content from friends and family, compared to only 29% for a famous YouTuber or the 26% for a well-known brand. It’s this trust that makes influencers so valuable, with users (particularly Millennials and Gen Z) trusting their content, compared to what a brand would put out.
Additionally, according to Google Trends, the search term “influencer marketing” has risen by 400% over the last two years, further signalling that brands are likely to continue collaborating with influencers and micro-influencers into 2019.
Research conducted by Microsoft revealed that our attention span has fallen to just 8-seconds, (12-seconds in 2000), which is actually one second less than a goldfish. It’s for this reason that presenting your content as digestible snippets that are easy to share, rather than long-form articles, white papers, eBooks etc., will drive the future of content sharing.
Brad Harrison, VP of marketing at global manufacturing organisation ECOS said in an article for Inc: "As consumers continue to be more forensic in their efforts to discern the best products for them, readily available and easily digestible content will continue to be an important part of the marketing mix. For marketers, this means more short-form content and better search and mobile strategies.”
Quality is king
Adobe research also revealed that consumers pointed to poorly written (49%), irrelevant (44%) and poorly designed (35%) content are their biggest bugbears, with 71% stating they wouldn’t buy from a brand that put out this kind of content.
President of digital marketing agency Waypost Marketing, Doug Fowler, commented to Inc: “Your content should be all about quality, not quantity. And as search engines continue to display content based on a searcher's intent rather than a string of keywords, creating content clusters centred around targeted topics is going to be the best way to spend your time."
John Watton, senior marketing director for Adobe EMEA, adds: “Whether it’s across social, online, blogs, or email communications, branded content has to be well-designed, optimised for the device, and offer a genuine experience that goes beyond selling products. Brands that succeed will drive customer acquisition and loyalty; those that don’t will see customers swipe their screen in search for content that offers them a better experience.”
Video content is a must
AI-powered video creation platform, Wibbitz, released findings from its latest study, which analysed how and where consumers are motivated to consume video. Out of the 1,000 respondents, 65% engaged with videos by sharing, commenting, or liking, with 10% engaging with nearly every video they watch.
Over 40% of Millennial and Gen X respondents stated Facebook was their preferred platform for video content, with Snapchat coming in second for Millennials, and Instagram the runner-up for Gen X. In addition, 38% preferred short-form video under one minute in length, further emphasising the importance for businesses to create shorter and more engaging videos.
Head of industry for US-based digital marketing agency Add3 Brian Rauschenbach said to Inc: “Video is here to stay, and you won’t be able to compete without it. Facebook and other ad platforms are showing preferences on organic and paid placements because the engagement rates are higher with video content. Hire a video agency, tell your story, and let consumers fall in love with your brand.”
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