How was 2018 in content marketing?
In the beginning of last year, we presented our forecast of the trends in content marketing for 2018. Now it is time to look back: were we right? What trends did we experience here in Finland as well, which ones could only be seen on a global level? Let’s have a look!
We said, that in 2018 the major trends would be personalisation and alternative intelligence (AI). We forecasted that the variety of content formats would increase, with videos, podcasts and live streams becoming important in reaching audience. We guessed that Internet of things would affect the way consumers use the contents and how the contents will be targeted. We believed that interactive contents, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) would make a break-through. So… were we right? What is the situation like now?
Marketing automation on the rise
Personalisation and AI affect content marketing on their own but are often associated with marketing automation. Although AI and machine learning (ML) applications have become more common, the possibilities they offer are not used up to their potential yet. However, even among major global brands there are many keen to see what can be achieved with AI and ML. For instance, Lexus had a full car advertisement written by AI!
Automation and personalisation have gained ground among marketers. According to statistics, marketing automation may increase sales by 14,5 %. Automation, like personalisation, too, increases customer commitment. No wonder that it is a rising trend. Various chatbots and personalisation of newsfeeds, blog platforms, online stores and email marketing is already familiar to most.
We were confident that video will maintain its value and that live streams will have an even more important role. These forecasts are barely a surprise. However, we also assumed that audio content, various podcasts, would gain ground also in Finland. This one we got spot on: there is something for everyone in the Finnish podcast selection. Even radios have started to produce their own podcast for various programme platforms. There is audience for these, too: according to Radiomedia, around a million Finns listen to podcasts.
What makes podcasts so great is their convenience. You can listen to interesting content anywhere, even whilst driving! Podcasts can be made to serve a larger audience or limit them to only a small group, such as company internal communication. With themes and topics, podcasts can be organised and targeted to the audience that is truly interested in them. This is also a great channel for marketing.
Connecting – interactively
Internet of things brings more devices connected to the Internet available for consumers. In the beginning of the year, we guessed that these smart devices could be a new channel for content marketing. In Finland this trend didn’t take up as well as, for example, in the US, where Amazon Alexa speaker gives a voice for smart devices and enabled a new kind of voice search for consumers. Voice searches are becoming more and more popular in general.
The success of Alexa may be partly based on its interactivity, wanted by many consumers. Campaign utilising AR technology play with interactivity as well. This kind of campaigns have so far been conducted only by major brands, such as IKEA, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi. However, the use of AR is still on the rise, waiting to be adapted by the masses. On the other hand, we may have to wait for some time for VR applications to become mainstream, at least here in Finland.