The world of content marketing continues to evolve every year, in parallel with technological advancements. Each year, the Content Marketing Institute releases predictions for the upcoming year. 2017 was predicted to be the year of contextual and targeted content - driven by the Internet of Things, advanced segmenting abilities in ad channels like Facebook, and location tracking functionality. The technological ground was laid in 2017 which gave way to some early adopters capitalizing on conversions by implementing hyper-targeted content to smaller segments.
Think Airbnb, Uber, and Hotel Tonight, who have been leading the pack in integrating local content. Specifically, Hotel Tonight did a great job this year at integrating targeted display content based on a user's locations and interests. This ad, for example, was displayed to me on my Instagram feed while I was on a trip back home in Los Angeles. That specific hotel is the LINE hotel in Los Angeles - an easily recognizable and well regarded hotel that only real locals would know about. It's not only about getting the timing and location right but serving up visual content that resonates personally with the consumer. Hotel Tonight was able to compile visual images of popular local spots and feed ads to specific users based on simple location targeting.
2017 Was the Year of Targeted Local Content
2017 was the year of technical location tracking advancements, and now segmentation and hyper targeting are, and should be, on most content marketer's radars. As functionality gives rise to accessibility, it paves the way for a new way of thinking about content this year. Local content won't just be for the big brands but for brands of all sizes, and will be accelerated by solutions that make production cost decrease, and value increase.
2018 Will Be The Year of Production Value
Consumers are becoming increasingly saavy about when they're being sold to, so ill-thought out efforts pale in comparison with the brands that are thoughtfully putting out content. This is a huge reason why we've seen a push for localized content. Although it takes some time to identify segments, produce targeted content, and roll it out, the proof is in the pudding. The extra effort to make your content personal to your audience will pay off in conversions. As smart segmentation continues to evolve, the "spray and prey" approach of content will cease to exist. Brands will start to invest in the production of a small number of highly targeted content campaigns rather than pumping out high volumes of meaningless, low targeted campaigns. Brands will start to invest more in the production of the assets, ensuring what's being produced is high quality and branded.
Virality and reach will become less important, and marketers will instead focus on better segmenting and targeting capabilities, enhanced with the help of AI. This will finally lead to the downfall of the recent trend of snake-oil salespeople who promise to hack your way into millions of meaningless views, comments, and likes. Content marketing will no longer be a game of volume and bloated numbers but will instead promote empathy, relevance, and exclusivity. – Jason Miller, global content marketing leader, LinkedIn (quote from Content Marketing Institute)
As brands begin to realize the power of creating targeted experiences, they will begin to explore how to produce unique forms of content - especially at scale. They'll experiment with new forms of content, more budget will be allocated to the actual production of the assets, and emerging Content-as-a-Service platforms will make it affordable for brands of all sizes to begin experimenting with local content.
In 2018, I expect to see more diversification of content formats. More live streaming on social. More audio/podcasts. Alexa skills. Content will continue to expand beyond the traditional web and print approaches. Brands will continue to invest in content, as they have been over the last few years; but that investment will shift from mostly writing services and paid distribution/promotion to a whole host of services – production, more animation and video-related graphics, voice talent, etc. It’s no longer just about words – content is about creating experiences. – Amanda Todorovich, content marketing director, Cleveland Clinic (quote from Content Marketing Institute)
Content-as-a-Service platforms claim to be the technological solution to producing good content at scale. They combine technology with a massive creator community to roll out content quickly without losing on quality. Outsourcing content production will be the economical solution to producing this kind of high quality content at scale, and will make it affordable for SMBs to take a crack at local content. We're already seeing this trend emerging at Snapwire, where we've helped over a thousand brands of all sizes scale production of branded content. The biggest emerging trend we've seen to date is the need for scalable content across locations. Our technological solution is able to take the localized needs of a brand and broadcast them out to proven creators to shoot and deliver custom-tailored images. Our solution makes it affordable for a marketing manager to implement localized and branded content and we predict that these needs will only increase in 2018.
In conclusion, it's an exciting time for content as consumers start to become more saavy. Cluttered low quality content will begin to decrease as high quality, thought out campaigns take their place.
You can read more 2018 marketing trends here.