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5 Content Formats Your Audience Wants More Of

The way people consume information is changing, and as marketers, we should be aware of those changes and follow suit. Continuing growth in social media and other content publishing platforms is revolutionizing how businesses communicate with their audience and marketers need to be where their audience is. New technologies are forcing marketing teams to quickly get up to speed in order to remain competitive. With the growth of all these new content formats, it's important for marketers to understand what your audience actually wants.

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Attention spans are short and video is becoming content’s king. People want fast, easily-consumable content. According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2017 report:

  • 46% of marketers plan to add Facebook video to their content distribution strategy in the next 12 months, up 7% from last year.
  • 48% of Marketers are also planning to add or increase their presence on YouTube.
  • We will also see plenty of growth in the use of Instagram and messaging apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat as well.

Interactive content in the form of virtual/augmented reality are potential disrupters for marketers as consumers seek out more forms of entertainment from the safety of their home and workspace.

Live video

Internet video traffic will increase from 70% in 2015 to 82% by 2020 according to Cisco, causing it to be one of the most popular content formats.  A quick Google search lists over 200 articles written on the use of live video in marketing - in the last month alone! 

Facebook Live has opened new doors for marketers, and plenty of other social media platforms like YouTube, Twitch and Periscope offer live video as well.

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In October 2016, Tasty (Buzzfeed’s Facebook-only cooking channel) encouraged Facebook viewers to “Take A Break From The Debate” with a video of a giant cookie slowly baking in an oven. Despite its ridiculous premise, the video gathered over 16 million views. This just goes to show the increasing power of live video!

Recorded video

As more and more people turn to the internet to help solve their problems, how-to videos are becoming one of the top searches on YouTube. In fact, Google states that more than 100M hours of how-to content is watched in North America every year and 67% of millennials agree that they can find a YouTube video on anything they want to learn.

This content format presents an opportunity for even the smallest of businesses. You 'don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to produce high-quality videos. Simple videos can be made well using a smartphone, tripod, natural lighting and basic editing software. And, once again, YouTube provides a wealth of information on how to make a how-to video.

Social Media Posts

Everyone knows that use of social media is growing. According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2017 Report: 

  • 74% of respondents use Facebook professionally and that number jumps to 80% for C-level executives.
  • Professionally, 78% of respondents report using LinkedIn while 59% use Twitter.
  • C-level executives view social media as the third most successful channel for sales representatives to connect with prospects behind telephone and email.

Social media is where many people turn to find out the latest news or ask for recommendations from their friends. It’s also where people go to rant about bad experiences, so companies need strategies in place to deal with any potential backlash (a la United Airlines).

Infographics

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As the saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words" so it’s not hard to understand why consumers (and marketers) love infographics.

Researchers from MIT have found that the human brain can process entire images that an eye sees for as little as 13 milliseconds, so imagine how much can be conveyed in a well-designed infographic.

Marketing experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to between 4-10 thousand advertisements each day, so it’s tough for marketers to stand out. Consumers love infographics because they’re easy to digest, fun to share and extremely engaging.

While professional designers will use traditional graphic editing software programs like Photoshop or Illustrator to produce infographics, small businesses don't have to miss out on the fun. Creating engaging infographics online is easy with alternatives like Adobe Spark, Canva, Visme, and Easel.ly.

Interactive Content

While still in its infancy, experts suggest that Virtual Reality (VR) will become a $7B business by the end of 2017. Businesses can take advantage of this boom by supplementing their existing marketing campaigns with novel experiences that completely immerse potential customers in their product or service. The huge advantage of virtual reality for marketers, is that while wearing VR headsets, the user is not distracted with competing messages. This give marketers an opportunity to present them with a memorable experience that improves their customer journey. 

Travel brands have been early adopters of VR. Venue owners are using VR headsets to provide virtual tours of their spaces, providing would-be event planners and party goers a taste of how their event will look in different themes, colors and set-ups. Augmented Reality (AR) presents yet another potential disrupter for marketing teams. The phenomenal success of Pokémon Go caused many brands to reconsider the use of AR in their campaigns. Camera filters such as those on Snapchat and Facebook lend themselves well to advertisers in the form of branded geofilters.

Despite the craze, marketers need to ensure that the use of VR/AR fits within their overall brand message, lest they unintentionally create a disconnect between their customers and the business.

Conclusion

It's clear that the rise of new technologies and the steady introduction of new content platforms are potential disruptors for marketing teams. Businesses are finding great success integrating new content formats into their marketing strategies and the results are showing. It's imperative now more than ever that marketers to stay up to date with the ever-changing landscape.

If you are concerned if your business can keep up with the changes in inbound marketing and sales, talk to us. We help businesses just like yours generate more leads and sales with inbound marketing.

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If you'd like to download your own copy of the State of Inbound 2017, click below! 

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