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Last year was a remarkable one for content marketing. Come the start of this year, 93% of B2B marketers were using content marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy, and achieving some significant substantial successes.
As a result, hopes are high this year, with 90% of marketers convinced that content marketing will become more important over the next 12 months.
But the industry currently stands at a crossroads. Marketers may be increasing their spend this year, but only guarantees of concrete return-on-investment (ROI) will give brands the confidence to maintain this momentum and commit more of their precious budgets in the future.
There’s clearly a strong case for investing more in owned content strategies, but there’s never been more pressure for content to produce results.
So why has 2014 become a make-or-break period for content marketing?
Online video is increasing in importance and effectiveness when it comes to purchase decisions.
Nearly three quarters of consumers are more likely to purchase a product or service if they can watch a video explaining it beforehand.
This research comes from a new study by Animoto, designed to explore how online video impacts consumer decisions and drives brand engagement for small businesses.
I discussed the power of video embedded landing pages a few months ago in 10 excellent video-embedded landing pages.
Video is one of the best and most persuasive of all visual tools as it’s capable of delivering large amounts of information quickly and succinctly. Especially if it's about a new service or product.
Videos also increase the length of a visitor’s stay. If you feature your own face, or the face of an employee in a video, a visitor is more likely to trust you. Videos can help strengthen your online presence, and videos can also help you rank higher in SERPs.
With native advertising the buzz phrase among marketers for 2014, London is poised to lead the way in innovation in what is one of the most creative digital ad formats to emerge in recent years.
In November AirBnB co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk claimed that London was ‘stuck in a Silicon Valley Roundabout’ and held back by its failure to produce a ‘billion dollar’ online business.
Many in London found the comments annoying. Phil Cooper, a digital veteran who launched the UK’s first video ad network and was until last year European MD of Brightroll, was one of them.
Cooper, who launched his latest digital venture six months ago, London based accommodation platform Kippsy.com, a competitor of AirBnB in the London market, believes that what London does best is innovation; taking an established model, technology or platform and turning it on its head.
For the second year running, Econsultancy has published a freely available trends briefing about digital trends in South-East Asia, based on the Digital Cream Singapore event for senior client-side digital marketers held in November last year.
Digital Cream Singapore 2013 brought together more than 120 B2B and B2C in-house marketers from around the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) region and beyond to discuss best practice and common challenges in digital marketing, and learn from each other.
Delegates discussed a wide range of topics, ranging from managing and making sense of audience and customer data, increasing personalisation and loyalty, to using video marketing and cross-channel marketing.
Google helps us all market our services. That statement can start a healthy debate amongst many in the media, but I think I'll stick with it.
Of course, Google has to market itself, too.
Even the biggest and most successful companies must market themselves in some channels. Apple, for example, may shun social media, but it's all over the television and out-of-home and has a distinctive presence on many high streets.
So, I thought I'd round up some examples of Google's marketing that have stuck in my mind and continue to leave me mindful of Google's all-conquering innovation.
Hope you enjoy!
We are all exposed to display and video advertising and we all have a view on its efficacy.
In this post I’m going to take a beginner's look at measurement in display and video advertising and ask if advertisers are finally getting a good (read ‘transparent’) deal.
How is improved measurement across display advertising changing the nature of the web? Will it start to feel lighter on ads as advertisers demand their ads are not just served but viewed by a human being?
What are the standards for viewability and if the networks are adopting them, is this the death of the impression?
Over the past week I've been asking a bunch of content marketing folk about the trends in their industry for 2013, the best examples, and looking ahead to next year.
Here, I've asked about the most effective formats for content. In 2012, it could be argued that infographics were king, but I think the sheer volume produced has diluted this particular tactic.
Other formats are working well though: video, immersive storytelling, slideshare, scrolling sites, and good old blog posts.
It’s no secret that video is quickly becoming an essential part of any content strategy, and the 2013 video marketing trends report only serves to concretise this.
This year has been fantastic for video, with the emergence of new, social video platforms like Vine and Instagram video soaring in popularity amongst consumers, making it easy for anyone to create a video and share it.
Online video has always felt to me like one of those technologies where brands have varied massively in their commitment to innovate.
That was kind of understandable until the last couple of years, as YouTube and video streaming (NetFlix, NOW TV,4OD etc) are now so pervasive.
With brands committing to more online video advertising, it’s obvious the technology will be maturing. In effect, what’s possible on your website should now be possible in an online video ad.
As web viewers aren’t captive in the same way live TV viewers are (even they can go and make a cup of tea), advertisers have to get cuter at delivering changing and tailored ad content that is essentially fun or useful enough to be voluntarily engaged with. A tall order?
Well let’s look at what can be achieved? Here are a few examples, mostly taken from Innovid, who I chatted to last week.
Google has, for years, made no secret of its enthusiasm for blended search results, and for video in particular. But its repeated message is that organisations must focus first and foremost on audience.
The name of the game in video marketing best practices should be delivering first-rate video experiences to real people, rather than focusing on quick tricks to boost discoverability.
The ultimate differentiator for businesses isn't product or brand. It's the one thing that can't be copied or stolen: relationships with customers.
Retail has long known that. Astute retailers covet their relationships through personalization and targeting and approachable, consistent, authentic salespeople.
That's because, as people, we know how to form relationships really well in the physical world. We can see each other's face, we can hear voice rising and falling, we can see body language. Only we aren't doing that in the digital world.
Rather, marketers are simply using digital as another distribution channel when what people really want (it's a basic human need) is what they get in the physical world from businesses: a relationship.
Therefore digital marketing, by focusing on distribution of messaging rather than forming relationships, is lost in translation.
For years, video has been a pain in the bottom. Video production companies know it, and they charge handsomely for it.
Increasingly, start-ups are trying to disrupt professional video production, to provide an easy solution for marketers to create their own none-too-shabby work.
Moovd is the latest of these companies, and turns text into animated text videos. Try it yourself, you can make videos in a few seconds (I've been making childish videos all morning).