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Five content marketing trends for 2016

It is no secret that 2015 was a big year for content marketing. But this only means that 2016 is going to be bigger. Estimated to grow at a pace of five to 10 per cent annually, savvy marketers are taking notice of content marketing and adopting it as part of the marketing mix, faster than ever.

So how do you as a marketer prepare for this? Here at Outbrain, we gazed into our crystal ball and came up with some major trends we see happening in content marketing in 2016.

Bigger budgets
According to Web Strategies Inc, marketers are forecasted to increase digital marketing spend to 35 per cent of total budgets in 2016.As the question for marketers changes from “do you have a content marketing strategy?” to “what is your content marketing strategy?”, we anticipate an increased number of marketers to invest in the channel with bigger budgets.

We expect brands that have previously only dipped a toe in the content marketing waters, to return with increased commitment and investment to the channel in 2016. For those that haven’t made the plunge as yet, 2016 provides them with an opportunity to do this.

Mobile to become increasingly important
We are at a tipping point now, particularly in South East Asia, where mobile isn’t just an additional channel in the marketing mix, but instead is fast becoming the dominant medium that requires an approach to match. While desktop content is of course still relevant, content consumption on mobile has truly skyrocketed and overtaken desktop as the most used platform, at least in the more mature markets like Singapore. This is likely to continue in 2016 with the global ubiquity of mobile phones.

Having an integrated strategy that ensures you reach targeted consumers wherever they consume content is a must for marketers. This is particularly true for mobile, where the smaller screen format means that traditionally banner advertising feels out of place and delivers a poorer user experience.

Video playing a bigger part
The gaining momentum of mobile has strengthened the lead for video viewing, and as a medium, video is engaging, shareable, cross-device and has huge potential reach – a perfect combination for content marketing. It will account for 69 per cent of all consumer web traffic by 2017, according to Cisco. Consequently, the importance of video for content consumption cannot be understated.

Studies show that around 50 per cent of the global brands are already incorporating video into their content marketing and broader digital strategies, and we would expect that to increase substantially in 2016.

A move to measurement
Digital is increasingly taking budgets that were traditionally reserved for above-the-line activity like TV and print. One of the main drivers behind this is measurability; the reach, performance and effectiveness of digital can be measured to a level unheard of for TV and print. So the big question is why should your content marketing activity be any different?

In 2016, we predict marketers will increasingly look beyond only traffic as a measure of success and want to understand if their content marketing campaigns are hitting their goals in terms of driving brand awareness, engagement or leading right down to conversion. Only by understanding the performance to this level will they truly be able to measure their return on investment on their content marketing spends.

Quality over quantity
As brands look to measuring value with deeper metrics such as time spent on site, and share-ability, I envisage content marketers will focus more on the quality rather than the volume of the content that they produce.

We should see a reduction in marketers creating large amounts of low quality content and blasting it out haphazardly without sufficient targeting.

In line with the move to measurability, the biggest gains will be made by those who craft their content to hit their campaign goals and then investing in quality content distribution and amplification channels like Outbrain to get that content in front of the target reader.

Chris Mockford

Chris Mockford is Director of Account Strategy, South East Asia, India and New Markets at Outbrain.