Keeping Consumers Engaged – Trends in Content & Platforms

We’ve kicked off our Summer 2017 Internship here at PMX Agency, and will be featuring some of our brilliant interns’ thoughts throughout the summer. Here is the first of our “Interns Corner” posts:

“I can’t think of a time when the agency and marketing business has been as good as it is today. Our business is fundamentally about figuring out where consumers get information, and delivering it to them. There are more places for us to reach consumers, more opportunities to speak to them, and more places to show our creativity.”

With the marketing landscape in constant flux, with clients asking bigger questions and more of their agency partners every day, and with consumers becoming even more sophisticated, the complexity of this industry can certainly seem daunting. But, as Harris Diamond, CEO of McCann, puts it, the complexity breeds an entirely new era of opportunities to impact consumers through great storytelling, across a range of new platforms and places to connect. Despite the new demands, the present time is arguably the best time to be in the marketing business. Because consumers rely on these new platforms and trends to get their information, we have the opportunity to surprise and delight them throughout their journey to building a relationship with brands, or during their decision making process for purchasing.

The environments where brands and consumers connect have evolved rapidly over time, and while we consider this to be a mobile-first time period, more traditional channels like print and TV are still important in the overall brand experience. Today, both agency and brand marketers are tasked with understanding the interplay of these channels, while simultaneously breaking down the opportunities to expand into emerging content formats.

As we near the midpoint of 2017, we’ve looked at some of the trends in content and platforms that continue to show their importance in the marketing landscape:

Interactive Content

Traditional “readable” content is becoming more a thing of the past, as interactive content formats become more prevalent. When an audience has the opportunity to engage with content, we as marketers also have the opportunity to analyze their behavior, and gain a better understanding of what’s resonating. The Facebook Newsfeed and Snapchat Discover pages are now full of this interactive content, where users can choose what to engage with, and how. Publishers like Buzzfeed and Cosmopolitan, for example, have leveraged quizzes or interactive survey content to keep consumers active on their sites. Rather than passive engagement, these types of formats allow marketers to see when their audiences are actively engaging, exploring different scenarios, and proactively showing their preferences.

Influencer Marketing

Social media personalities and influencers continue to revolutionize our idea of traditional brand to consumer marketing. By adding this new layer of relationships, marketers are inspiring and employing both popular celebrity and niche “micro” influencers to not only promote their products, but also develop more meaningful relationships with their audiences. Over time, consumers have shown that they’d often rather trust someone they view as a thought leader or someone who truly reflects the brand lifestyle, versus an ad that they might scroll past. The connection between the influencer and the brands is extremely important for campaign credibility. Kendall Jenner, who has over 80 million followers on Instagram, promotes Estee Lauder on her Instagram page and appears in posts on Estée Lauder’s Instagram account, sharing makeup tips using her favorite products from the line. This influencer partnership works, because it aligns well with Kendall’s trendy lifestyle and emphasis on fashion and makeup.

Short- Lived Content

Short-lived content is quickly created, posted and is only around for a small amount of time. Snapchat is responsible for the popularity that formed around this type of content that quickly took social media by storm. The millennial generation, known to have around an eight second attention span, is very attracted to these types of short, disappearing videos. It’s appealing to them because it is fun, it’s flexible, and it’s not permanent. These short videos are all about living in and experiencing the moment, which has become increasingly important to consumers, and why other formats like Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories are popular for both consumer to consumer content, and brand to consumer content.

Personalization

With the many technological advances of today, consumers, particularly millennials, have started to rely on conveniences and personalization tactics that technology provides. From Coke cans to Nike shoes, brands are progressively getting better at personalizing and curating exclusive and individual experiences for consumers. And while technology is an enabler of these more individualized experiences, consumers have also shown that personalization sometimes just means feeling that the brand truly cares about them – they want to feel appreciated as individuals, and desire more authentic and meaningful interactions with brands.

While most of these trends around content and platforms have been important over the past several years, it’s our job as marketers to continuing guiding brands towards the right opportunities for their unique audiences. We’ll be watching how these trends continue to evolve throughout the rest of the year.

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