As the final quarter of 2012 commences and marketers look to diversify and improve their content marketing strategies, industry trends point to a few formats that may help expand visibility and leads moving forward. Video marketing has caught on rapidly in 2012, and companies are finding new ways to make their written branded content more effective in drawing engagement from prospects and customers.
Video content: A 2013 must-have
With video content, marketers often worry about the length of their spots. However, a report from the Jun Group suggests effective subject targeting may be a more important component of a video campaign. The study found that 87 percent of consumers who started watching a clip longer than 2 minutes finished the entire video. Keeping prospects and other viewers engaged with a strong message results in substantially more value than focusing on the length of content.
The study found that 87 percent of consumers who started watching a clip longer than 2 minutes finished the entire video. Keeping prospects and other viewers engaged with a strong message results in substantially more value than focusing on the length of content.
Last week, Brafton highlighted Jun Group data that suggests cutting videos short could potentially detract from a campaign’s success. Prospects, whether they’re concerned parents or CTOs looking for a new cloud solution, want to know about the products and services they’re buying. Deliver information that engages people and tell compelling stories. While video content shouldn’t be longer than it needs to be, it must achieve the primary focus of demonstrating value and compelling conversion.
Even further indicative of video’s impact on purchase intent is a report from eMarketer that found shorter pre-roll ads aren’t as effective as other kinds of video content. The study found more brands want to develop video content that offers information and keeps prospects engaged. Shorter clips that run pre-roll without the user choosing to watch the video don’t necessarily offer the engagement brands need to make the strategy a value-adding element of their web presence.
Last Wednesday, Brafton reported that sharing branded videos as part of a social media marketing strategy may increase engagement even further. Viewership for social video is up 15 percent in 2012 compared to 2011, and this figure will likely increase moving forward. In general, video content viewership is on the rise across the web. ComScore‘s monthly analysis found 181 million Americans watched 39 billion pieces of video content in September and 9.4 billion video ads.
As usual, Google web properties, including YouTube, ranked No. 1 among video platforms. Further evidence of social video’s ascent came with Facebook checking in as the No. 5 most frequently watched video platform in the month. Throughout 2012, the social network’s role as a video host has grown, with more users sharing this interactive content with friends. Despite an overall drop in the percentage of American web users watching video, (85 percent in September, compared with 87 percent in August), 2012 has been a milestone year for web video. With the holiday shopping season approaching, the potential growth of video marketing may reach even greater heights.
The need for branded content and the challenges in creating it
Last Friday, Brafton highlighted data from MarketingSherpa that suggests brands lagging behind others in terms of web content marketing adoption may find themselves struggling to compete in the near future. Forty-nine percent of survey respondents said they will invest fewer resources in offline lead generation strategies in 2013. Meanwhile, 62 percent will invest more heavily in web content.
With a strong web presence so critical to brand success, marketers are actively pursuing content types that engage prospects and guide them toward conversion. Shifting resources toward web marketing was inevitable, and 2013 may be the final tipping point for brands in all industries. Brafton recently reported that 33 percent of Americans will conduct all or most of their holiday shopping on the web.
Shifting resources toward web marketing was inevitable, and 2013 may be the final tipping point for brands in all industries. Brafton recently reported that 33 percent of Americans will conduct all or most of their holiday shopping on the web.
Offline marketing still has its value in some industries, but web content marketing with an eye to building authority and thought leadership is competitive necessity for brands.
Part of building web presence is understanding SEO and gradually improving SERP standing. According to a report from Forrester, there are several elements of search marketing holding brands back. Making search part of an integrated strategy troubles 65 percent of brands, while 51 percent said keeping up with changes to search algorithms and other SEO best practices is a problem.
Other frequently cited issues included staffing, budgetary woes and assessing ROI.
Companies that struggle with new search marketing strategies often lack certain capabilities internally to make SEO as successful as it can be. Aside from knowledge of SEO and search engines in general, it requires regular creation of high-quality website content. Many brands struggle to develop content due to lack of time. Finding a third-party vendor to put together a strategy and execute content creation can help brands achieve the search success they desire.
SEO and search user behavior continue to evolve
Google’s Matt Cutts provided some insight that clarified a minor concern for brands using SEO. The question of subdirectories versus subdomains has plagued some marketers and webmasters in the past. In a Webmaster Help(9) video, Cutts said that previous advantages present when using subdomains are no longer relevant. Essentially, creating multiple subdomains gave brands the opportunity to appear more often on results pages. Some adjustments from Google’s search team took care of this, and Brafton reported that multiple subdomains from the same site are no longer listed separately on SERPs.
As such, webmasters and marketers fretting over which site structure to use should consider Cutts’ advice to choose whichever option was easier for them.
With search engines evolving, the way people use search itself has changed as well. In recent years, the rise of smartphones and tablets has led to many of these changes. According to a report from YP and Street Fight, consumers who access the web using a personal computer, smartphone and laptop conduct more than 21 local search queries every week. These people use their collection of web-connected devices to find store locations and hours, but they’re also browsing the web to learn about products and services they plan to buy.
Brafton highlighted the data last Tuesday, reporting that 40 percent of consumers use local search every day.
This week, Brafton will have even more insight on SEO and other web marketing strategies coming live from ad:tech New York. Taking place on November 7 and 8 at the Javits Center in New York, the conference will host a series of speakers and presentations discussing the latest in web marketing.