15/06/2016 9 min read by Ivan Teh

6 Content Marketing Trends You Must Follow in 2016 and Beyond!

6 content marketing trends

Content marketing is an ever-evolving niche. This is why businesses seeking more traffic, leads and sales are required to be at the top of all the changes happening to get the desired results.

According to a recent survey conducted by SmartInsights, Content Marketing (22%) was ranked as the most effective digital marketing activity with the greatest commercial impact in 2016, followed by Big Data (17%), Marketing Automation (13%) and Mobile Marketing (12%).

High Impact Digital Marketing - Advisible
Digital marketing activities with the greatest commercial impact in 2016
Image sourced from Smart Insights

To keep your business ahead of your competitors, there is no way of avoiding content marketing in 2016.

There is tonnes of content available on the internet about what is going to happen in the future and what the rising trends are. But there is very little content about the effective business response towards these changes.

To make this article more useful for you, I have listed the 6 top content marketing trends that are on the rise along with what businesses can do in response.

1. Only Quality Content Will Survive from Now Onwards

As there is already a lot of content on the internet about every single topic you can think of, you really need better quality content to get yourself noticed. The internet is already over-saturated with low-quality content, hence why readers are in desperate search of good quality content.

Personalised Content - Advisible
Beautify & Personalise Content
Image sourced from Smart Insights

As global internet speeds are getting faster every year, average global internet speeds reached 5.6 Mbps with a 23% year-over-year increase. Faster internet speed means businesses can now focus more on graphic-oriented content.

With a lot of options out there, readers can now first scan the content before they actually start reading. This means, if the outlook of the content is not appealing, readers will probably switch to something else within seconds.

All businesses must now be prepared to produce more content in 2016 or risk falling behind. 76% of businesses are now looking forward to producing more content in 2016 compared to 2015.

Content Creation and Distribution - Advisible
Expected Change in B2B Content Creation (2015 vs. 2016)
Image sourced from Content Marketing Institute

This means, there is a lot of competition ahead and to survive, businesses need better quality content that is well researched and offers true value to readers in exchange for their time.

Another rising trend is personalised content. It may require more effort to come up with personalised content, but it can make your content unique and more readable.

All in all, in 2016 and beyond, you need to offer a stunning reading experience to your visiting traffic. Google also values good quality content and ranks websites according to the visitors’ experience (shares on social media, engagement, comments, etc). It’s evident that SEO and content marketing have a strong correlation.

Marketers now rely more on long-term content marketing for Google rankings by producing high-quality content instead of link building. The link building days are truly over.

What Businesses Need To Do?

  • Invest more in producing in-depth content.
  • Create content that is shareable on social media platforms and encourage engagement.
  • Produce longer pieces of content, as average blog posts are now 800-900 words instead of 500 words.
  • Create personalised content.
  • Stay well clear of low quality and unnatural link building.

2. Customers are Seeking Visual Content

Are you ready for an interesting development? When people are searching for in-depth detailed articles, they are also not interested in text-only content anymore. Readers now expect interesting graphics, infographics and pictures in the article to assist the text.

Visual Contents - Advisible
What media are bloggers including in their content?
Image sourced from Orbit Media

In 2015, 8% more bloggers are using images in their blogs when compared to 2014. Overall, the use of more than one image, audio, lists and infographics has increased among bloggers and this trend is only growing in 2016.

Interactive content is also on the rise and getting popular among marketers. Customers no longer want to act as spectators only. They want to be involved more by offering their input. Interactive storytelling is among the best ways to create deeper connections with your customers.

What Businesses Need To Do?

  • Make use of graphics in the content.
  • Use more images, lists, videos, audios, calculators, quizzes, infographics, assessments and polls.
  • Add more interactive storylines to your overall content strategy.

3. Use of Social Media as Content Distributor

There is no escape from social media anymore. Especially for small businesses that are using social media as their most effective content marketing tool.

Not only are businesses publishing and distributing content through multiple social media platforms, the rigorous use of social ads is also on the rise.

Social Media Content Distributor - Advisible
B2B Content Marketing Tactic Usage
Image sourced from Content Marketing Institute

According to the survey conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, most B2B marketers use Social Media Content (93%), followed by Case Studies (82%) and Blogs (81%) as their most focused content marketing tactic. This trend will remain in 2016 as businesses keep using social media in the coming year.

Effective Social Media Content - Advisible
Effectiveness Ratings for B2B Social Media Platforms
Image sourced from Content Marketing Institute

In terms of effectiveness, Facebook is ranked 5th which is why it is important to expand your social media presence on multiple platforms.

For many businesses, social media provides a way around the organic search which is becoming more time consuming and harder as the competition for every single keyword is getting tougher and tougher.

When it comes to social media, we are no longer talking about Facebook anymore but a strategy that includes multiple social media platforms like Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat and even more.

What Businesses Need To Do?

  • Simply having a Social Media account is not enough, use social ads to distribute your content to a larger audience.
  • Make use of as many Social Media Platforms as possible.

4. Influencer Marketing and User Generated Content

Even when social ads are important, there is a good proportion of internet users who do not trust ads and value recommendations from someone they trust more than what is promised in ads. This is where influencer marketing plays a handy role.

According to the recent poll and study conducted by Tomoson, the ROI from influencer marketing is $6.50 for each dollar spent. In the coming year, influencer marketing budget by businesses will increase by 59%.

Influencer Marketing - Advisible
Fastest growing online customer acquisition method
Image sourced from Tomoson

It is also rated as the most cost effective marketing channel along with email in the same study. Blogs and Facebook are the most effective and commonly used platforms for influencer marketing.

Businesses can expect explosive growth of influencer marketing in 2016 and the years ahead.

Other than influencer marketing, user generated content is also playing a critical role in convincing potential customers. With user generated content, we mean reviews, social media discussions, blog comments, and even blog posts discussing your products or services.

Online shopping is increasingly becoming review driven, which means you need good feedback about your business from customers. It is also extremely important now to respond to customer queries and complaints on third party review websites.

What Businesses Need To Do?

  • Make use of blogs and social media platforms for influencer marketing.
  • Be ready to invest more on influencer marketing in 2016 and beyond.
  • Encourage customers to write content for you in the form of recommendations and reviews.

5. Mobile Only or Mobile First

Several companies and businesses are now optimising their websites as well as content for mobile devices only. This is due to the whopping growth of mobile devices and the bulk of internet users using these devices to access online content.

2016 is following the upward trend, mobile marketing is going to get bigger, with more mobile access to new audiences.

To learn more, you can read our previous topic about optimising content for mobile devices.

Google and many other digital marketing companies claim that the internet access through mobile devices has surpassed desktop.

This makes tech giants and other digital marketing companies follow mobile-first approach in their future strategy. For example, Google came up with new Google AdWords changes on 24th May that are all mobile-centric.

You can learn more about the new changes to Google AdWords from my previous article here.

What Businesses Need To Do?

  • Adopt a mobile-first approach.
  • Optimise your content for a better mobile experience.

6. Businesses are Going to Spend more on Content Marketing

Most of the SEO techniques like link building are nothing but a thing of the past. The changes in Google algorithms in the last few years have made high-quality content marketing an effective tool for finding new leads, getting more traffic and achieving better rankings on search engines.

This is why businesses are ready to spend more on content marketing in 2016. 51% of B2B marketers are ready to increase their content marketing budget while only 3% claimed that they will decrease their budget.

Spend More on Content - Advisible
Fastest growing online customer acquisition method
Image sourced from Content Marketing Institute

In layman’s terms, if you are not investing much in 2016 on your content marketing strategy, your competitors are probably already ahead of you in terms of more traffic, lead generation and a higher rate of conversion.

What Businesses Need To Do?

  • Invest time in a long-term content marketing strategy.
  • Re-adjust your marketing budget to include a content marketing strategy.

So What Does It Look Like in 2016 and Beyond?

It is evident that online marketing experts are getting serious about content marketing. The industry is maturing as marketers care more about the personal connection with readers instead of search engine rankings.

You can also expect high-quality articles and blog posts that are assisted with visual content and distributed on increasing number of social media platforms. Influencer marketing is also the new and growing trend.

I hope that this article will help you with your content marketing strategy this year and how to meet the upcoming challenges.

If you’d like to learn more about the impact these changes will have on your AdWords campaigns, simply drop me an email at andrew@advisible.com.au or comment below.

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