In 2013, Marketers Need to Think As Publishers

We are soon entering a new year, and it is therefore time to make an overview of how the digital landscape has evolved during the past year. I find that the end of a year is always an exciting time, as you see so many predictions for the coming year as well as conclusions of the year that is about to end. As of 2012, social is already too big to ignore.

 

In the beginning of this year, Sara predicted that 2012 would be the year of visual communication – and she was quite right. The rise of PinterestInstagram and Tumblr as well as the creative uses of the Facebook Timeline proves this. As for 2013, Mindjumpers’ CEO and founder, Jonas Klit Nielsen, predicts that we are heading towards a future where brands invest in people who are highly skilled in content creation and where brands become publishers:

“Companies need to be ready to think as publishers and not marketers. They need to know what value they can provide for their target group (above and beyond the value offered via their brand or products) and implement a robust editorial process into their workflow.”

What does this mean? Well, take the Carlsberg Crowdit app I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. It’s an example of a company truly taking part in activities similar to those of a media company by offering a non-branded service to their target group. So, as we head into 2013, content marketing is without a doubt what brands will increasingly put at the heart of their strategy to seamlessly connect directly with consumers, as I blogged last week. Add Social TV, “Social Nicheworks”, co-creating prosumers and aggregators, hyper connectivity and social search to the list of trends to be on the lookout for in 2013 as well.

 

US digital media usage: A snapshot of 2013

Emarketer has recently released a report detailing their projections of the digital landscape in 2013 – a landscape that is crucial for marketers to understand as they develop content and campaigns to target the growing online and mobile populations. Read the entire report here.

Not surprisingly, social network usage, e-commerce as well as social gaming is growing. Smartphone gaming will rise even faster and surpass the total number of online casual gamers for the first time. Mobile is in general by far the biggest growing area with an increasing number of smartphones and thus mobile internet users. These mobile smartphone users are exposed to more opportunities for advertising and marketing, with greater immediacy and relevance, than ever before. Also, smartphone video viewing in particular will see a rise next year.

However, what in my opinion is the most remarkable prediction, is that next year especially tablet use will grow massively: They will be in the hands of four out of ten internet users. It is therefore imperative to optimise your content for both smartphones and tablets.

 

What are your predictions for 2013?

 

 

Clickbait: Information overload! How can brands cut-through all the noise?

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.11.34You won’t believe the hidden message in this blog post! Or rather – there isn’t one, I just wanted you to click through and read this. But bear with me – I’m about to suggest something incredibly controversial – a never-heard-before admission by a social agency!*

As much as clickbait is the emotional catnip of our online experience and can drive consistent traffic for publishers like The Daily Mail and Huff Post who churn out multiple stories each day, it’s still hugely annoying to discover you’ve been duped by an over-excited headline promising to give you all the feels. For brands, adopting the same practice can negatively affect perception and ultimately – sales. So how can brands cut through all the sensational copy and deliver successful results without falling prey to creating clickbait themselves? How do they beat them rather than join them?

 

Platform crackdown

In the early days of social, Facebook optimised content based on engagement, meaning that if users clicked on a piece of content, it received a higher ranking in newsfeeds. In 2014 Facebook took steps to try and crack down on those gaming this ranking using clickbait, and in February this year it introduced an update based not just on what users engaged with in their feed, but what they wanted to see. Facebook’s advice is that Pages should avoid encouraging people to take action (such as encouraging lots of clicks), because this will likely only cause temporary spikes in metrics that might then be rebalanced by feed’s ranking over time – meaning the latest ranking favours content that users naturally engage with rather than content that users click on through coercion.

 

Last month Instagram followed suit and announced it would alter user’s feeds to optimise the content users “care about the most”, and Twitter has also adopted a similar change (although users can opt-out and revert back to the chronological feed). The changes will hopefully make it harder for clickbaiters to game feeds with meaningless content, but the real aim for the platforms hosting is to surface more engaging content more frequently so users return often and stay longer.

 

The same goes for brands on social. If the content they produce is consistently engaging, then users will interact more frequently, leading others to discover it through preferred ranking. Ultimately, these new newsfeed algorithms exist to generate more meaningful engagement, driving not just clicks, but conversations via comments, and shares.

 

Learn and adapt

Meaningful engagement begins with relevant content that creates value for the user and the brand. While an insight-driven content strategy is key to delivering this, brands should also adapt stories and messages based on the emotional needs and behavior of their audience. This is more than just a case of ‘test and learn’ or refining what has already been done. Brands must also evolve their approach in line with new behaviors, platforms, competitors and rankings or risk being left behind by those who do.

 

A good example of a brand that does this well is Buzzfeed, who’s CEO recently shared their new strategic thinking, revealing how their objective has changed from getting users to click through to their main site to view stories, to allowing content to be consumed directly on other platforms. The new direction was prompted by analysing which content generated clicks and discovering that users prefer to consume some types of content within the platform they are already on. The company also found a discernable difference between user interactions with the same content on different platforms, demonstrating how content demand and consumption vary across sites. What spreads like wildfire on Facebook might fail miserably elsewhere.

 

Relevance is key

For brands looking to use social content to drive click-through to their site, it’s important to balance the goal of the company (clicks to eyeballs, or conversions to sales, for example) with the desire and behavior of users on different sites, and monitor response over time. Relevance is key to interaction, and brands that think like publishers will know that relevance is an ever-changing chameleon. While users are bombarded with meaningless clickbait, there is ample opportunity for brands to channel the social zeitgeist by delivering valuable content that meets audience needs in the format, time and platform that suits them. If they get this right, they won’t need clickbait.

 

At Mindjumpers we help companies and brands to think as publishers and provide end-to-end social media management across multiple markets, encompassing full social strategy, planned and reactive content creation, analysis and reporting.

 

If you’d like to find out more please get in touch.

 

*Don’t be naughty and scroll to the last paragraph – I’ve hidden the controversial part somewhere to optimize your dwell time in finding it!