It was predicted that 2014 would be the year “content marketing would finally grow up.” That it would shift away from its status as a trendy yet suspect tool for the marketing dilettante, and towards becoming a credible, effective, and sophisticated discipline for the savvy, experienced CMO.
By many measures, this has proven true. The market saw brands like Kellogg's pilot award-winning content initiatives and the ALS Association launch arguably the most successful user-generated content social campaign of all time, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Even content marketing standard-bearers, like GE and Red Bull, honed their expertise through best-in-class partnerships with legacy publishers, master social storytelling, and original video investments.
These are not isolated moments of advertisers bucking convention, but reveal a clear industry trend. According to the latest reporting from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), as many as 86% and 77% of B2B and B2C marketers, respectively, are increasingly pouring resource into their content practice.
However, this widespread, explosive growth of content marketing has led to new challenges. More than ever before, consumers are inundated with content leading to an increasingly asymmetrical static to signal ratio. The CMI points to three factors responsible for the digital din:
- Increased content production: 70% of B2B marketers are creating more content than they did one year ago, even those who say content marketing projects are least effective (58%) and those without any type of strategy (56%).
- Increased publication frequency: Content is being published more regularly. Forty two percent of marketers publish new content daily or multiple times per week.
- Broader range of tactics: On average, marketers are exploring as many as 14 different, simultaneous content tactics—from newsletters and ebooks to microsites and case studies, to webinars and whitepapers.
As for consumers, they check their smartphones more than 150 times per day—skimming, scrolling, and aggregating to find the content relevant to them at that moment. Given than 55% of consumers spend fewer than 15 seconds actively on a page, most marketing content is ignored as noise.
With an ever increasing content supply and fracturing consumer attention spans, it is no wonder that content marketers are keen to produce premium, engaging content to pierce through the noise. Indeed, the CMI recently found that creating more engaging content tops the list of 28 content marketing initiatives content marketers are spending their time on.
Before content marketing can claim to be a mature field, there remains a great deal of work to be done. In 2015, content marketers will be challenged to invest in sourcing quality, contextually relevant content, and targeting the right consumer at the right time—at scale—the number one challenge for content marketing in 2015.
Flite is working on some of those solutions that deliver on that vision, today. Check out our earlier blog posts on some of our new products:
Datastream provides a simplified, streamlined way to update and alter content within an ad while preserving its existing look and feel. As publishers move increasingly away from rich media and towards native, the benefit of being able to regularly produce new content is increased. A native ad requires minimal change to its look and feel, but updates in content bring significant value as users seek out relevant, fresh content.
Marketing agility demands finding and delivering relevant content—for the reader's immediate interests—quickly. CONTENT@SCALE allows brands to rapidly identify and use topically relevant content for a campaign from trusted publishers. Initial interest and performance has been impressive, and with good reason: brands are using the platform to make the content they present to users rise above the din.
To stand out in 2015, successful content marketing will employ practices that marry premium content with key technologies to entertain, inform, and delight audiences. I look forward to seeing what the year brings.