Brands need to evolve their content strategy to keep pace with the constant shifts in content sourcing, viewing and sharing habits. We have identified eight key trends in content marketing that brands need to address in 2019.

The changing face of the world’s biggest media owner

Facebook’s core demographic is getting older, and it has lost its ‘cool’ factor amongst younger generations, who now prefer other social platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat. In an attempt to bring back the youngsters, Facebook is focusing on improving the user experience
and adding new features. For brands, this means staying on top of the latest product developments such as Facebook Watch and the Messenger overhaul, but also being realistic in accepting that if you want to engage a youth audience, Facebook is no longer the place to start.

The rise of dark social

84% of online sharing and brand conversations now happen through undetected private chats. There are now more people using messaging apps (WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat) than the original social media apps (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). Forward-thinking brands are already using chatbots to increase their presence in dark channels. At a minimum, brands should refresh their analytics to enable them to keep track of brand content sharing in messaging platforms and ensure that content-sharing buttons are highly visible within the user experience, to encourage trackable behaviour.

Social’s all you need

Social platforms are no longer single-channel platforms for friends to stay in touch. They have evolved into multi-faceted media platforms offering everything from e-commerce and news updates to video on demand. It’s now possible to reach consumers at every stage
of the user journey through social channels, but many marketers are not capitalising on the full potential of each platform and are solely using them for awareness and engagement.

The power of micro-influencers

Our own Socialtools research shows that the highest engagement rates come from influencers with lower follower counts (less than one million). Consumers are controlling their content experiences more tightly, following more niche micro-influencers who share their interests. Brands that work with multiple micro-influencers will increase their engagement from influencers, with the added benefit of being more cost effective.

Amazon can’t be ignored

It’s hard to overestimate the size and influence of Amazon. It has evolved into an entertainment, data, logistics and lifestyle powerhouse, and its offering is more diverse than ever. Amazon should be a fixture on all brand content plans. Brands need to understand how their customers use the Amazon ecosystem, and take advantage of the data sources and insights it provides to develop optimal content assets.

AR will rule the roost

Apple and Google will have 4.25 billion AR-capable devices in the market by 2020. Forward-thinking brands are already using AR for everyday utility purposes, for example through IKEA Place (an app that allows you to place furniture in your own living room) and McDonald’s
Snaplications (an AR recruitment portal). Integrating useful AR technology into a brand’s owned assets will soon be as essential as having a website, so now is the time for brands to test interactive content as a tactic to deliver more value to consumers.

If content is king, video is the crown

The world will watch 3 trillion minutes of internet video per month by 2021. Pepsi has built its own Hollywoodstyle studio, and at least three other Fortune 500 brands are following suit. Creation tools for brands are improving rapidly and videos are getting easier to produce. Brands
should re-visit their production models and consider cost effective methods, such as shooting a master video asset and using several edited versions on their social platforms.

Richer data will drive greater content relevance

By harnessing data-capture tools, companies now have lots of information to fuel their content plans. With smarter content and the rise of data-influenced strategies, brands can create more personal, customised content for the end user. From Amazon’s recommended purchases, to
Netflix’s what-to-watch-next queue, these days everyone expects a personalised experience. To stay ahead, brands need to assess where personalisation will add to the user experience – be sure to find the balance between the truly valuable and the plain creepy!

This excerpt is part of Global Intelligence Issue 7.  View the full publication here.

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