As marketers, we hear it all the time: content consumption behaviors are changing. And fast. In this ever-evolving digital world, it’s not enough to just create content. So, how do we take the subjectivity out of creative to ensure it’s high performing? The key is to develop a deep understanding of our consumers. With today’s advancements in technology, both in access to content and data on individuals, we can reimagine how content is created to meet consumers where they are. So, what are the current marketing trends? We broke them down for you by the numbers.
Being Fast and Personal
The speed of feed – According to Trailor Park, the content being “too long” was the top reason given by consumers for disliking online ads. Our brains can process a thought or an image in three-hundredths of a second and an average adult in the US is spending 5.9 hours per day with digital media. What it comes down to: we are consuming more media than ever before, faster than ever before.
Marketers have begun adapting their ads for the on-the-go consumer by getting to their main message sooner. A recent test conducted by Freewheel discovered that 6-second ads outperformed 15-30 second ads in average engagement and according to MediaPost, the number of advertisers running six-second video ads has gone up 300% since last year.
Power of personalization – Social media ads not only have to be quick, they have to be relevant to the audience. Dynamic ads have seen 37% YOY growth and a 227% spike during the 2017 holiday season. More than 100 top-tier brands such as Coca-Cola, Mattel, and L’Oreal leverage Social Native to fuel their ad campaigns with personalized user-generated content and have seen a 30 point lift in ad recall, 22% reduction in CPAs, and 50% decrease in content production costs.
Influencer Marketing Sweet Spots
￼ No matter how personalized paid media becomes, there will still always be an industry for sponsored content. With the proliferation of influencer marketing and the FTC forcing influencers to use #sponsored tags, surely consumers are catching on and adjusting their behavior, though, right? Not so much. Engagement with branded influencer posts on Instagram has grown 34% year over year. Influencers have become true authorities within their audiences, creating a personal brand that followers trust and respect.
Niche or Large Followings? According to a recent benchmark report on influencer marketing, the sweet spot for the highest engagement rate is influencers with 1k-5k followers. A clear correlation is also shown between an increase in followers and a decrease in engagement. In launching a micro model, the distinct benefit is that instead of dedicating your entire budget to a few influencers, you are able to diversify it across many, with a niche following that is more likely to engage.
Feed vs Stories
Feeds and Stories coexist with surprising harmony. Instagram took a sizable risk in introducing Stories. They had a popular platform with just their feed and yet decided to add a second, massively different user experience to it. Combining the two separate cultures and interfaces could have clashed or confused users, but instead, they have universally adopted both. As a result, marketers can now choose between two ad experiences garnering a ton of viewership, both with their own unique potential to promote products.
In the early going, Stories have been the winning tool for digital storytelling and driving engagement and Instagram appears to be doubling down on their popularity. Stories already own prime real estate at top of the feed. However, they now have been added strategically to the middle of the feed as well.
Scrolling vs Tapping – After decades of tagline dominated ads, Instagram sponsored posts reminded us that a picture is worth a thousand words. They challenged marketers to tell stories with just an image or a short video and brands found enormous success in it. According to one survey, 75% of purchases are influenced by Instagram. Stories are again challenging us. With fun, native text overlays and the tap interface, brands are now able to create quick storyboards. This allows them to go into more detail and capture more of consumers precious attention. Similar to scrolling, users have been trained to "tap" in order to move through frames. Therefore, branded Stories seamlessly weave themselves into the experience.
Engagement – Brands are quickly finding that Instagram users engage with their stories more frequently than posts. Kiehl’s reported 8% of its followers viewed its Stories, while only 2% liked the brand’s posts. This makes sense as Stories provide more engageable options such as swiping up, polling and direct messaging. In fact, according to Instagram, one in five business Stories result in a direct message.
A Story’s twenty-four-hour window is also more appropriate for events such as sales. Couple that with the upward swipe function, which links ads to a sale’s collection and you can see why the ROI for branded Stories has been on the rise.
As consumer behaviors and social media platforms continue to evolve, so too must creative. A one-size-fits-all marketing strategy is no longer enough to build a brand. In order to capture attention in this crowded digital landscape, brands need a personality, a voice, and most importantly to connect with consumers on a personal level. Technology has opened the door to countless opportunities. While we may not know what comes next, we have the power to study and understand current marketing trends. In turn giving us incredible insight into their tastes, expectations, and preferences. This is the answer to developing the right content for right now.