The chaos of 2020 caused by the pandemic turned the world upside down. The threat is far from over, but with the roll out of vaccinations and the easing of restrictions, the global economy is slowly but surely moving towards recovery.
With all the quarantines, social distancing, and lockdowns, consumers eased in into a new way of interacting with brands, businesses, and other people. Technically, these new ways of commercial and business engagements are not new, as the world was eventually heading in this direction – Covid 19 only sped up things a bit.
One of the biggest casualties of this New Normal is brand loyalty, as evidenced by the fall from grace of many well-known brands. Businesses however should not be discouraged and make the fatal mistake of cutting back or totally ceasing their content marketing efforts because of the pandemic.
With the obvious shifts in the consumer base, brands and businesses should likewise shift gears and adopt new and more effective ways of interacting with their targeted customers through their content. The following is an overview of top content marketing trends that have been making waves during the first half of 2021 – and are expected to continue making a big impact in the marketplace in the periods to come.
1) The Dominance of Video Content
Back in 1996, Bill Gates wrote an essay that established content as the “king” in any digital marketing strategy. Fast forward to present times as we witness video content establishing itself as the undisputed content king of kings.
With social distancing protocols and restrictions limiting physical interaction, brands and businesses turn to video as an alternative way to “face” their audiences, but in a virtual way. So, it is not surprising why up to 91% of marketers recognize video as their most important content marketing tool in the age of the pandemic.
Just look at the following Video Content trends:
- Video content drives up to 80% of internet traffic. Last year, a whopping 2 billion minutes of video content were consumed by users. This figure is expected to reach an even greater astronomical figure as the number of internet users consuming video balloons to 1.9 billion.
- Among the various types of video content, livestream video has gained the most ground. During lockdowns, consumers have turned away from the more polished, edited and pre-recorded video content, and have grown preference towards interactive virtual events that happen in real-time.
- During lockdown periods, Facebook live usage and viewership increased by 50%
- In a similar manner, influencers have turned to Amazon Live in the promotion of their products
- As much as 70% of B2B buyers rely on video content during their purchasing decision process. Likewise, big brands and more established businesses are keen on creating and producing their own TV shows to establish what their brands stand for
2) Mobile-Friendly Content Reigns Supreme
The pandemic forced people to distance themselves away from physical interaction. They have no recourse but to turn to their mobile devices as their main avenue to socialize, work and communicate with other people, as evidenced in the following:
- The use of mobile devices is at an all-time high with more than 11 billion unique users all across the globe. The average US adult spends more time on their mobile devices (an average of 3 hours and 54 minutes a day) than the amount of time they spend watching television.
- Up to 79% of mobile users in the United States made online purchases through their mobile devices. This trend is similar throughout the globe, with mobile commerce expected to reach figures of up to $432.24 billion by the year 2022.
- Apps dominate the mobile scene with a whopping 35 billion downloads, which can be translated to a consumer spending of roughly $27 billion.
- Video is the dominant type of content consumed by mobile users, accounting for 63% of all mobile traffic. By 2025, it is expected that video will form up to 75% of all mobile-friendly content.
3) A Greater Preference Towards Personalized Content
Many consumers feel that social distancing and virtual interactions make engagements lose their personal touch. People are naturally self-centered, so it is quite normal for them to lean towards brands, businesses and people that can reach out and connect with them in a more personalized manner. Consider these trends:
Consumers buy from brands they trust, and as much as 70% of these consumers place more importance now to trusting a brand than they do in the past.
And who do they trust more? Those brands and businesses who can personalize their communications more, and up to 84% of consumers say that treating them like a person will definitely win their business over.
4) Let’s E-A-T!
One of the biggest buzz word in 2021 is E-A-T, or Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, as focusing on these three key elements in their content may result in their brands and businesses ranking high in search engine results.
While technically not an official ranking factor, Google has explicitly stated that they are giving high importance on the expertise, authority, and trust of a website in presenting their content. The deeper and more in-depth a website can be in their high-quality content, the higher its chances of taking the top slot in SERPs.
5) Optimizing Content for Voice Search
The emergence of AI-assisted voice-activated tools like Siri, Alexa and Cortana provided online users with a well-accepted alternative for making online searches – particularly for users who are actually tired or lacks time to type what they wanted to look for.
Comscore predicted that by 2021, as much as 50% of all voice searches will be conducted through voice search – and these is clearly evident in the number of people worldwide using smart speakers. In the United States alone, one out of four homes own at least one smart speaker of any kind.
6) The Emergence of AI-Powered Content
A few years ago, hearing the terms Artificial Intelligence, A.I., or AI-powered seem like something that came out of a science fiction novel or movie. In these current times however, the inclusion of AI technologies, including the generation of content, is emerging and may soon become a norm.
Research labs like Deep Mind and the OpenAI Company are at the forefront of developing artificial intelligence for various applications, like the innovative GPT-3 tool that has been tested to generate content of a really decent quality.
Big names in the content industry like Yahoo, Fox and the Associated Press are now delving into machine learning and artificial intelligence in their bid to generate good quality content automatically. As more AI technologies and algorithms emerge, expect to see AI playing a more significant role in generating content for marketing.
The uncertainty people felt during 2020 has forced marketers to rethink and re-strategize how they can connect with their targeted customers. The lessons learned during the first half of 2021 revealed the current preference of consumers that lean towards more personalized engagements, higher trust on brands they engage with, and the use of new and emerging technologies.
Moving forward, what the pandemic has taught brands, businesses and people is that in order to survive, one must be ready to adapt to changes – and this applies on how they communicate and engage with customers through their content.
Jomer B. Gregorio is a well-rounded expert when it comes digital marketing. Jomer is also known as a semantic SEO evangelist and practitioner. Check out our Digital Marketing Services today and let us help you in achieving positive and profitable results for your business.