Back in December 2016 I published this post with my predictions about the leading trends in Content Marketing. A year has passed. Let’s look at how my predictions fared.
I predicted that brands will start to create more videos that are “made for the web,” as opposed to repurposing TV commercials.
It’s hard to collect hard data about this topic, but looking at the YouTube channels of random brands I think it’s clear they’re creating more longer form video content.
Most of this content is really great, but unfortunately, most media dollars are still directed at commercials and interruptive pre rolls.
I predicted the surge of collaboration between brands and podcast creators to create custom branded podcasts.
The podcast industry is continuing to expand with over 112 million Americans that listened to a podcast this year, and more than half of them listen monthly.
Here are some examples of great podcasts developed in collaboration with brands:
- GE – The Message
- eBay – Open For Business
- Microsoft- Future
- StateFarm- Color Full Lives
- IBM – Wild Ducks
- Virgin Atlantic –The Venture
Want to try to create a podcast by yourself? Here are some great tips on how to start your own podcast
Bring Content Expertise In-House
I predicted that many brands will realize they need to develop content expertise and leadership in-house.
According to CMI’s 2017 Benchmark and Trends research shows that in 91% of the most successful companies in Content marketing the “Organization is extremely/very committed to content marketing” as opposed to 35% in the least successful.
42% of responders claim they had a managerial change in the last year which had a ositive impact on their content marketing performance.
We’re still in the early days of the “pull marketing” revolution, and most brands still treat their content as yet another thing they do or another channel they need to support. It may take another year, or two, or five. But I strongly believe the next generation of CMOs will come from content professionals that are experts at attracting consumers by great storytelling and not from old school experts in interruption.
Content Analytics and Content Attribution
I predicted that many brands will realize that Google analytics is great for measuring site statistics but isn’t that good at true attribution analysis for content marketing.
Startups like Curata,Trendemon and Nudge are getting into this void and have seen tremendous growth this year. I’m pretty sure this is just the beginning and this domain is expected to significantly grow in the next few years.
I predicted brands will (finally) make sure their site is performing well on a mobile device. Can you believe it wasn’t the case only one year ago? I think it’s safe to say that it’s rare nowadays to reach a brand’s website and find it’s not reactive to the screen size you’re using.
In 2016 VR was all the rage and I predicted many brands will get on the VR/AR bandwagon. Well, not quite. TechCrunch claimed in an article published a few months ago that “virtual reality is having a moment — a bad one.” It looks like consumers are still not ready to shell hundreds of dollars on expensive gear for an unclear benefit.
AR (Augmented Reality) is a whole different story. Google released ARCore and Apple released ARKit, enabling developers to easily create augmented reality experiences by blending digital objects and information with the environment around you, using the same device we all already have in our pocket. Facebook has also released an AR platform and is working hard to get brands on board. According to Digiday, around 700 advertisers and agencies are creating interactive photo and video effects for the new Facebook camera feature.
Campaign magazine calls the arrival of the iPhone X “the dawn of the new (augmented) reality”. Many new apps are being launched with AR in mind, including Snatch, a treasure hunt-themed marketing platform, which is backed by Unilever Ventures and officially launched this week.
Some brands are also integrating AR in retail experiences. Check out the Lego experience showing the final expected result on top of the case before purchase:
Chatbots Are the New CRM
I predicted many brands will create Chatbots in 2017. A few weeks later a report came out that claimed 80% of businesses want chatbots by 2020. Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:
- AI has reached a stage in which chatbots can have increasingly engaging and human conversations, allowing businesses to leverage the inexpensive and wide-reaching technology to engage with more consumers.
- Chatbots are particularly well suited for mobile — perhaps more so than apps. Messaging is at the heart of the mobile experience, as the rapid adoption of chat apps demonstrates.
- The chatbot ecosystem is already robust, encompassing many different third-party chat bots, native bots, distribution channels, and enabling technology companies.
Some brands, like Mastercard, did leverage Facebook Messenger chatbot system to create a bot that answers questions that don’t need to be handled by a person like: “How much did I spend in restaurants in September?” or “What are the benefits of my card?” or “How do I reset my password?”.
But of course, most brands still didn’t adopt this technology. Will it happen in 2018? who knows. But consumer’s expectations to be able to interact with a company using text messaging is not going away so it’s only a question of time.
If you are thinking about developing a chatbot strategy, here’s some great advice about creating chatbots for brands from CMI (Content Marketing Institute).
I expected 2017 to be all about experimenting with new mediums, creating unique skillsets, and measurement techniques. We’ve seen some great advancement by many brands but we’re still far from seeing content centric go-to-market strategies based on strong execution muscles being the norm.
We hope to see more of that in the year ahead! What do you think about this? I’d love to hear your thoughts or comments.