As content has moved from being a piece of the marketing strategy to the core of one, we want to look ahead at what 2017 will bring in content marketing.
Marketers realize that connecting with consumers through content is often more effective than traditional advertising. Smart advertisers and publishers know that content delivers brand engagement and in turn drives more impactful ROI than traditional display advertising.
Here are some trends other industry folks are seeing as we put 2016 in the rearview mirror, and look ahead to the trends that will impact 2017:
Say hello to Machine Learning.
Machine learning capabilities are clearly on the rise and here to stay, intelligently matching the right content experience to those who will most care about it. Platforms are incorporating artificial intelligence capabilities to find hidden gems of data, insights, and trends - predictive intent that can extract behavioral patterns that also inform creative design.
“Data and technology will play an increasingly important role in helping inform, distribute and measure these stories, but it will be critical to creating content that instantly evokes emotion and inspires action.”Marcia Lesser, Senior Director Content Partnerships @ AOL
Content and Ad Experiences Will Evolve.
Gone are the days of traditional technology solutions. Attracting the right demand at the right value gives way for the stars to align around experience, objectives, and revenue. Enabling great design and deploying great ad experiences that complement the current page rather than compete with surrounding content is critical to creating the immersive experience, driving engagement & revenue.
“The most important aspect of native content…. it must be accurately measured, flexible in format, and above all engaging. In order to maximize engagement, native content must reach the right people in the right environment”Aaron Tabas, Director @ BBC StoryWorks
Niche vertical publishers will have an even larger impact.
The emergence of branded vertical content comes as no surprise as mobile consumption continues to grow, especially among millennials. Overall, media consumption will see a shift to highly specialized verticals and niche publishers with a laser-like focus on their audiences.
“The top tier and mass market publishers have been onboard with native, so believe  focus will be on getting the local, B2B and other vertical specific publishers up to par. In addition, I expect to see even more shifting away from the traditional content amplification activation that was deeply rooted in this space.”Aubrey Parks - Fried, Senior Manager, Social @ centro
Video will redefine the online experience.
For marketers, video has always been a medium of choice for storytelling, and now that solving both the placement and creative problem have been addressed with native, content marketers have new ways to increase efficient & quality video engagement.
“We’ll see a strong demand for high quality, easy-to-consume content that is designed specifically for the mobile device.”Aaron Serrao, VP Audience Development @ Jumpstart Automotive Media
Authenticity will become even more important.
Content can enhance an ad experience in a way a way banner ads never could. Brands now have the tools to uniquely establish a relationship with customers in a transparent and interactive way. Intrusive display or flash sales become a thing of the past; engagement and relevancy within the contextual environment the consumer is browsing will be the winning combo for increased affinity.
“Regardless of what happens, native advertising will continue to thrive only if we continue to put the consumer first and focus on the true aspiration of native which is storytelling vs. selling."Susan Borst Deputy Director - Mobile @ IAB
A better user experience on mobile is mandatory.
User experience (UX) is becoming one of the most influential aspects of marketing. In a crowded online environment focusing on effective relevancy and simplicity is key. Distractions and heavy clutter are a thing of the past. The main asset native placements bring to the table is streamlined information, mobile responsiveness, and a valuable message - prioritizing user clarity.
“Fueled by trends in mobile, content marketing and programmatic, the stars are aligned for native advertising to boom in 2017. On mobile devices, where consumers spend most of their online time these days, native ads create a better user experience than banners. And as the number of companies with content marketing initiatives continues to grow, so does the need for distribution of this brand content.”Amita Paul, Head of Advertising @ Flipboard
2017 is sure to be the year to create rich brand experiences, so it is imperative to build experiences users will want to be a part of. Cookie cutter experiences are a thing of the past. Dynamic, relevant, creative engagements will help move the needle towards a complete digital story for advertisers, publishers and users.
Are there any trends you are excited to see? Let us know!