By: Patrick Kopischkie
Content is the atom of marketing matter. It’s the blogs marketers write, the graphics they share, the memes and videos that make their products relatable and fun. Research shows the average consumer spends 8.8 hours a day on their devices, whether scrolling through the newsfeed, reading an article or taking yet another Buzzfeed quiz. Content has played an important role in every marketing strategy for years, but the definition of it remains somewhat fluid. Where is content headed next? With a new year (and decade) upon us, here are three content predictions for 2020 and how brands can capitalize on them.
Voice search will overtake online search
Welcome to 2020—where virtual assistants like Alexa, Google and Siri have made instant access to information not just a convenience, but an expectation. The increase of virtual assistants in the home has led to a voice search explosion, and when it comes to predicting the impact this industry will have on content, the numbers speak for themselves: More than 1/3 of people in the U.S. use a virtual assistant on a monthly basis and the market for virtual assistants shows no signs of slowing down--it reached $2.2 billion in 2018 and is expected to hit $11.3 billion in 2024.
Even with the growing market, tech companies are investing in virtual assistants at a loss. Why? Think of how the world of information changed when the Internet was first introduced. Then, smartphones. Voice search is the next big user interface shift, which is why it’s worth the investment—and why brands are pushing its use to their consumers. Spotify offered free Google Homes to their premium users and Amazon offered their Echo Dot for less than a buck with the purchase of an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription. Said more simply, the future is in voice search, and that future is here.
So how can you capitalize on this growing trend? We can’t run ads on virtual assistants (yet), but there are plenty of ways for content marketers to add “take advantage of voice search” to their 2020 resolutions. Begin by creating new content, and a lot of it. Infuse this content with long-tail keywords so they appear in the coveted “position zero,” or featured snippet, in voice searches. You should also re-optimize existing content in this way. If incorporating voice search is something you’d like to add to your 2020 content marketing plan, check out our guide to navigating voice search for your brand.
More brands will use augmented and virtual reality than ever before
As every resolution-maker knows, some habits are best left in the past. Unfortunately, online clutter and short attention spans will continue into 2020. To hook consumers plagued by mindless scrolling and boredom, marketers should make interactive content a priority in the new year. And 90% of consumers agree. This can range from simple yet engaging content—like quizzes and contests—to more immersive ones—like Facebook Instant Experiences. But with the adoption of new technologies, brands can be even more immersive.
Enter augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). The market for these technologies reached $16.8 billion in 2019 and is projected to hit $160 billion by 2023. Engaging in VR can be as easy as posting a 360 photo or video, which consumers can experience by simply moving their devices around. While both might seem daunting to undertake, using AR and VR is easier than you think (just consider your favorite Snapchat Lens). Not only are AR and VR fun to use, but they can also provide significant marketing advantages. They allow for more personal interactions with products and services, which can lead to an accelerated purchase. And to make it easier for brands to adopt, Facebook has rolled out augmented reality ads for brands, which integrate people’s AR camera effects into Facebook mobile News Feed ads as a post-click experience, allowing people to seamlessly go from engaging with the product or service to clicking to learn more or make a purchase.
Niche content will dominate the masses
Consumers like to buy things. But only things they want. The fact is, the content we’re delivering continues to shift to be less general and more specific. More brands are creating niche content for niche audiences, and for good reason: Nearly 72% of consumers report they are only engaging with content that is tailored to their interests. And 90% of consumers say they’re willing to share their behavioral data if that makes shopping cheaper or easier. Translation: People are okay being served branded content (and ads) if what’s for sale is of interest to them.
So, creating the right content starts with understanding all the ways your customers are using your products. Don’t know where to begin? Consider doing a focus group or conducting a quantitative study. You can also poll your followers on social media and review Google Analytics data to see what questions or keywords consumers are asking related to your brand. These can unearth great topics to add to a blog post or web copy. Remember to use the keywords that the consumers are using (oh, and long-tail keywords as well.) You can then use those learnings to create and push out content tailored to targeted groups based on the different ways they may use your products.
Content is and always will be an important part of your marketing vision. Need help taking your content to the next level? Connect with me on LinkedIn or email [email protected]. Click here to see a gallery of our past work.
About the Author:
Patrick Kopischkie is the Director of Content & Public Relations at Hoffman York, a full-service advertising agency offering award-winning creative, digital, paid media, content and public relations, as well as research and analytics. Patrick's uncanny ability to deliver creative storytelling to brands has produced many award-winning campaigns over his 20-year career. He brings a big-idea mentality to projects, fusing creative thinking with action that gets people talking, sharing and buying. This approach helped make Hoffman York one of the top social savvy agencies of the year in 2018 and Shorty Awards Competition winner.