What's next? The state of content marketing in 2016

Content marketing has had a massive year and is set to grow even more in 2016. So what’s next in the digital sector?

As content marketing continues to go from strength to strength, getting users to organically flock to your content – or even find your content – is becoming harder. Worried much? Here are a few examples of awesome content marketing trends from 2015 and the assumed high-flyers of 2016.

Visual microsites

Separate websites (microsites) have been popular among marketers as a way to promote a product or service and inspire a call to action outside their main company website. Microsites allow brands to focus on a specific message while also having more flexibility with design and content. Take IKEA’s Where Good Days Start campaign. A short film shows a regular morning in an IKEA-filled Norwegian home, while letting the viewer click on furniture pieces as they watch the video.

As client budgets and resources for microsites continue to grow, in 2016 we’ll see microsites evolve from being focused on just a single campaign to publishing regular content. A great example of this is Red Bull, which has seen success with its Red Bulletin news site that publishes original and viral content.

Death to mobile-unfriendly sites

Creating a successful content marketing campaign that reaches the right people means keeping up to date with Google’s algorithm changes. In 2015, Google made several tweaks to its search algorithm that affected what content appeared in search rankings. Arguably the biggest change was Google’s mobile-friendly update (dubbed ‘Mobilegeddon’), which responded to the shift of audiences from PCs to mobiles. The update was designed to favour sites in searches that provided a faultless user experience for those on mobile.

In light of this update, Forrester Research found 38 per cent of sites for enterprise companies (those with 1000 employees or more) did not meet Google’s criteria for mobile-friendliness. As a result, many businesses began hurriedly optimising their content for mobile and reviewing their efforts with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

With user habits across mobile, tablets and PCs continually shifting, Google will be sure to make more adjustments to its search algorithm in 2016 – so keep tabs on how the changes will affect your upcoming campaigns.

Interactive content

Data visualisation, quizzes and interactive videos are all types of interactive content that have popped up in content campaigns this year. Interactive content aims to connect with audiences on a deeper level and generate social shares. Who can forget Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke campaign, which led to more than 500,000 photos shared on Instagram along with the uber trendy #shareacoke hashtag? It launched in 2011 but was bigger and better in 2015. 

The value of interactive content will soar in 2016 as companies continue to invest in UI and UX development for campaigns, or simply outsource their creative needs to an agency. As a result, we will see more interactive content across a variety of platforms including white papers, contests and infographics.

Whether you’ve experienced marketing success or digital distress in 2015, now is not the time to give up or sit back and reap the rewards. Keeping up with growing trends is a must for all content marketers in 2016 – don’t forget to watch this space.

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