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As 2015 draws to a close, content – and video in particularly – is still the most dynamic innovation in marketing. 78% of people now watch videos online every week (Hubspot) and we've also seen Twitter launch autoplay and Facebook give advertisers the option to buy video ads.
Another hot topic is transparency. It’s become a pre-requisite to building loyalty and trust, with 91% of customers valuing brands who communicate honestly about their products and services (Marketing Week).
Looking ahead to 2016, it’s fair to say that content marketing will continue to evolve. If you need your brand to stay ahead of the competition, you will need to prepare. Here are our seven content marketing predictions for 2016:
1. Customer Experience Driven by Purpose
Gartner have said that in 2016, 89% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience. But many brands have yet to create a consistent framework through which to implement the type of experience they wish to offer. A clearly articulated purpose, rooted in human values and embedded throughout their culture must become the North Star that governs everything a brand says and does. Whether it’s inspiring through innovation for GE or to ‘belong anywhere’ for Airbnb, the leading brands will have a clearly defined purpose that governs their entire customer experience.
Nick Timon, Product and Innovation
2. Think Culture-First
The best marketers of 2016 will be thinking Beyond Brand in their communication. That is to say, they’ll be finding the active role they can play within their consumers’ culture. Brand-first thinking will always lend itself to advertising ideas that drive an interruptive agenda. However, pushing beyond this and thinking Culture-First will help brands to create content that builds authenticity, the foundation for bridging back to the commerce brands desire.
Harvey Cossell, Strategy Director
3. Making Content People Want
In 2016, we’ll see more and more consumers take ownership of their online activities. People will realise the value of their online presence to brands and become increasingly savvy about who and what they engage with. This will manifest in ever growing numbers of people using ad blockers to fine tune and filter their online activity. Therefore, brands will quickly need to produce well-constructed content that their audiences want to engage with.
Jim Holmes, Chief Technology Officer
4. Creative Ideas That Explore The World of the Audience
2016 is already being tagged as the year of data. But data is only as important as what you do with it. The most important shift will be in understanding the cultural relevance or brand truth behind ideas. People are demanding more relevance from content – away from badged advertorials to bringing true insight, entertainment or understanding about the world of the participant. This gives creative a rich cultural platform to work from, where it can be freed from brand messages to explore the world of its audience.
Doug Hurcombe, Creative Director
5. Context is King
The boundaries between content, native and social have always been muddy. But 2015 has brought each discipline into clearer relief: the rise of ad blockers has made native the heir apparent and social has shifted unequivocally from earned to paid. In 2016 we’ll see content strategy interweaving social and native to tell brand and product stories, distributing content to the right audiences at the right time.
Stu Crowder, Social Activation Manager
6. More Brand and Publisher Co-creation
The media environment is becoming ever more personalised and, in order to reflect this shift, brands must move away from mass advertising and increasingly target niche audiences with more relevant content. As a result, in 2016, we’ll see stronger collaboration between brands and publishers to create valued content that is rooted in culture. Co-creation is notoriously expensive and complex to execute, but will succeed in 2016 where it is supported by tech and data platforms.
Hannah Smith, Digital Publisher
7. Match Programmatic with Content Creation
With programmatic enabling brands to engage different people with discrete, contextualised aspects of their narrative, clients will become increasingly fed-up at only having a 30 second TV spot to use. Desperate not to leave all this ROI on the table, they'll focus on quickly creating bundles of flexible content assets, ready to deploy - and re-deploy - in different contexts throughout the customer journey.
Robin Bonn, Director of Marketing & Business Development