Note:This article was originally published by me for the Influx blog on March 26, 2017.
With the rise of social media management tools like HootSuite and Buffer, people hardly go to specific social platforms to view content. In a bid to save themselves from fizzling out the way Vine did, social networks are vying with each other to offer their users personalised experiences with unique features
Taking the hint, brands everywhere are gearing up too. So, where is content marketing headed and what trends are likely to figure in 2017?
Here’s our take:
Brands have to make themselves more discoverable with efficient content.
Social networks and mobile apps give more importance to user experience when consuming content. The new Instagram picture slideshow and Facebook carousel ads are convenient options for brands to promote multiple products in one ad, and for a prospect to check out several options before making a purchase. Rather than directing users to external sites, Facebook has upped readability quotients with instant articles that load quickly and easily. Instagram lets you save posts to view later.With many people wanting to view posts or read articles at leisure, it also looks like #clickbait will increase in 2017.
Users want more interactive and symbolic content
Eye-catching colours and visuals help people retain and recall information better. Quizzes and polls are actively engaging the audience—just ask Buzzfeed. Snapchat Discover is gaining attention for its highly interactive and vibrant content posted by Buzzfeed, MTV, Cosmopolitan, Vice, Daily Mail, etc.
Snapchat caters to young users but serious brands like Mashable, CNN, and National Geographic have cleverly ventured into this space as well. Users are more likely to read Buzzfeed posts like “50 gross things you have done as a teenager” on Snapchat with audio, video, touch, and colour effects than they would on Facebook. Going forward, even mature audiences would like brands to engage them the same way.
#fomo – the fear-of-missing-out
Live video streams on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram give users an additional thrill. Likewise, “stories” on Instagram, Snapchat, and Whatsapp feed the users’ need to consume news that is “right now”. In late 2016, Twitter had streamed more than 600 hours of live premium videos attracting about 31 million unique visitors. Going forward, Twitter will partner with brands to give out new original content offerings, especially live video streams.
Bid goodbye to pay-per-click. Pay-to-play is here.
Mini is the new Mega in content marketing
Everything minimal is trailblazing across social networks to increase brand engagement today.
Twitter’s short stories —#infivewords, #shortstorysunday and #veryshortstories—are told in a few words or in a series of pithy tweets. Instagram’s trends like #micropoetry and #spilledink make it short and sweet for people to consume content. Boomerang is Vine for Instagram and lets you promote mini-videos. Inshorts, the highest-rated Indian news app, delivers news in 60 words, to keep users informed on-the-go.
Customised ads and aggregators rule the roost
People are using email subscriptions and RSS readers to get tailored news in one place. While news-aggregator platforms such as Flipboard, Feedly Mini, and Reddit rule, social-aggregator platforms like Hootsuite, Buffer, Mention, and flavors.me help you manage what you want to receive or send out. Chennai-based Magzter, the world’s largest digital magazine newsstand, is a typical example of an aggregator platform.
Now brands have to not only cater to niche audiences but also compete for a space in their inboxes. Linkedin has already taken this route to market products to prospects.
Brands can feature their ads on Instagram stories. Facebook has launched “mid-ads” which will be played midway through video streams. So, all you marketers out there: get cracking already; start crafting video ads that give continuity even when they are split.
The carry-it-anywhere option is going to grab big bucks
Subscription models, memberships and limited period offers are going to peak. These would give loads of exclusive aggregated content on one platform for a minimal charge. Everything is going to be on Cloud, consuming lesser space on devices but accessible anytime you want it.
In India, Netflix’s competitions are players like Amazon, Hotstar, Voot, Box TV, Youtube Red, and Jio. These have made it big in subscription-based media-streaming and video-on-demand solutions. Youtube TV is set to launch soon, giving users access to about 40 to 50 TV networks. You can link your Youtube TV to the phone app and use it anywhere you like.
R.I.P. cable TV.