5 content marketing predictions for 2017

Hey hey, it’s that time of the year again where brands and organisations start to make predictions about what the running themes will be within their industry in the new year, just so that they can do slightly smug “we told you so” link backs in future articles. 

Well… we’re no exception! We did try taking our ideas to the bookies, but believe it or not Ladbrokes just aren’t interested in giving you odds on the ever-increasing percentage of mobile usage. 


1) More video, way more video, so much video

It may be costly, but video content offers the highest return of investment of any format. Offering a click through rate of 1.84%, the best of any digital medium. In fact, video on social attracts 1200% more shares than text and images combined. With more and more brands realising this the amount of video you see is only going to increase. 


2) Skynet will rise 

Well maybe not quite in true James Cameron style. But the technology is now here for artificial intelligence to automate the management, publishing and in some instances even the creation of content (think about those Facebook friend anniversary videos).

With a plethora of tools already out there to help content marketers both track and analyse the performance of their content. Training in it’s best use should be firmly on the agenda of all marketing departments. 


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3) Virtual reality is going to start being a thing (finally!) 

Well, we have for several years now been told all about how important VR is going to be. To the extent that you're now completely sick of hearing it, but with the reducing costs of headsets, 2017 could be the year that big brands begin truly utilising it. 

The North Face have already used VR headsets in stores in South Korea, to illustrate to customers how good they’d look in their new jacket piloting a dog sled. Judging by the typical UK-based North Face aficionado do you think they’ll create a VR simulation entitled  ‘Sitting in a Coffeeshop in Hackney Doing Your Graphic Design Coursework' for the British market?

While we may see VR tech being used more commonly among big brands, it’s likely still going to be outside of the affordability of smaller brands for several years yet. 


4) Brands will try to focus on consistency 

The amount brands spend on content marketing has already eclipsed what they spend on advertising. However, most fall down when it comes to developing a consistent loyal audience that frequently engage with them.

Marketing managers are now realising that they need to step away from the clickbait tactics commonly used today, and instead look into better ways to increase their subscribers, which as Youtubers already know is a more effective method to secure regular engagement. 

Lets hope this means more creative ways to boost subscription numbers than than those “Hey if you like this why not…” forms that pop-up within two seconds of you opening a page, because, frankly at that point most visitors would rather give a brand the soul of their first born than their email address. 


5) We’re all going to realise that UGC is awesome 

User generated content, is all about getting your audience to do your job for you. And the best thing about it? According to Adweek 85% of users are more influenced by it than brand created content. 

UGC comes in many guises — comments, shares and retweets all count. But, it gets really interesting when we start talking about getting your audience to create and share their own copy, photos, and even videos. 

The kings of this at the moment? Urban Outfitters. Using a simple branded hashtag on Instagram they’ve encouraged thousands of users to create content for them, essentially turning their customers into brand ambassadors.

The great thing about this approach is it’s a two way street, Urban Outfitters get their products advertised on social for free, reciprocally the content creator is likely to see their personal social audience grow, especially if UO features their content, which in turn is likely to again aid UO. 


Header image curtesy of Thomas Chung. CC