A recent Gartner study found that 78% of CMOs globally believe content is the future of marketing; and this year over 90% of traffic on the Internet will be video. New Zealand is seeing the impact of this now.
While content is more than just video, what is driving content in particular is the massive change in the economics of video production, the rise of high speed broadband, and the many platforms which have put photos and video at the heart of their offering.
And people are consuming it – on average videos on Facebook are viewed for eight seconds (which is pretty good) although 50% are viewed without sound.
When ‘digital’ started, there was a perception that advertising agencies didn’t know a lot about it (to be fair, in some cases this was not without justification) and this led to the use of ‘digital agencies’. Similar to this, the rise of content has also spawned a plethora of small specialist production houses offering cheap and cheerful shoot, edit and upload services, as well as media owners getting in on the act.
This is great to a point, but with this approach comes a risk of overlooking the importance of ensuring that your video content is managed as a consistent part of your brand output – as like any other channel. The opportunity lurks for brands to seem confused and schizophrenic if their voice is not consistent across all media channels.
With media fragmentation, the partnership of advertising agency and client in delivering a seamless branded experience to consumers becomes increasingly important.
But to be part of the content conversation, advertising agencies need to invest in video and content production facilities; it’s not enough to farm it out to third parties and bring in layers of cost and time, for what is supposed to be a more efficient form of marketing output.
The future of advertising agencies will be partly as creators of increasingly diverse material, just as media owners are currently encroaching on what was traditionally viewed as advertising agency space.
However I would argue, that a media owner has their own channels at heart, whereas if you have an advertising agency on your side, they are batting for you, every day.
Whatever approach you choose to go with, ensuring that content is a consistent part of your brand comes down to three key aspects.
First, make sure you have a coherent content strategy that fits with a strategic business pillar or insight around the brand.
Content that is on brand and strategy has the potential to really enhance how consumers think of you, engage with you, and find you useful as part of their daily lives.
Second, make sure that all content is sympatico with this business pillar or brand insight.
Ensure that, whatever the source, you are properly curating your content as part of the strategy. In addition to your own created content, you may have content from other manufacturers, overseas offices, suppliers, strategic partners or others. How you manage this so it all makes sense is really important, and is a place where the agency can help in the role of a curator of content, not just creator.
Third, make sure that you adapt your content strategy and production based on analytics of performance.
As John Wanamaker famously stated, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”.
The beauty of digital, and in this case content, is that we have the power to know what is working – or at the very least what is driving engagement, clicks, dwell time, and more.
Agencies and industry are investing significantly in measurement tools, metrics and the people to do this, to ensure we can properly evaluate effective content and understand what works (and what doesn’t), to better inform future strategies. As everyone races to invest deeply in content, best to invest using insight!
Fundamentally, content offers an exciting new way to really share your brand with your customers. Like all other forms of marketing, getting it right takes consideration of the best components.
Author: Ben Goodale, Managing Director, justONE and .99