Zach Michonski

With this year’s record-breaking ecommerce sales during Thanksgiving weekend, content marketers are focusing on maximizing their end-of-year campaigns to attract holiday shoppers and business buyers. Some of the latest content trends can help your brand get a competitive edge. Check out my take on how you use the latest industry updates to improve your content marketing strategy.

Videos and graphics drive engagement this holiday season

This holiday season, web content is in high demand! Google data shows 49 percent of consumers use search to shop and 37 percent call search engines their “go-to” source for gift ideas. Brand sites aren’t far behind in shopping research, influencing 30 percent of consumers.

nRelate data

Stand-out content will help companies get in front of these audiences. According to new data from nRelate and Harris Interactive, 92 percent of adults read content online. Consumers average 3-4 articles and 2-3 videos per session, showing audiences look for diverse media experiences in a single sitting. Plus, 39% are more likely to click an article if there is a visual associated with it.

Most brands are already using visual content to fuel web presence. Complimenting its earlier B2B content marketing report, the CMI released new B2C data that shows of the 86 percent of consumer-facing companies using content marketing, 70 percent publish branded videos and one-third invest in infographics. This puts B2B and B2C at near equal footing with these tactics.

Sales-oriented content marketing metrics: The new norm for 2013

The competitive demand for content continues to rise, as the CMI finds 54 percent of B2B and 55 percent of B2C companies will increase their content budgets next year. Meanwhile, data from the Custom Content Council suggests 79 percent of brands are moving “moderately or aggressively” into content creation.

CMI Customer Acquisition data

Companies are also developing more defined lead generation and sales goals for content. The Custom Content Council found upsells are a top content marketing goal, along with brand loyalty and audience education. Meanwhile the CMI reports that 74 percent of B2Bs aim for customer acquisition with content, as do 75 percent of B2Cs.

Calls to action for micro-conversions pay off

Any content format can present visitors transaction opportunities when marketers remember – conversion optimization is a core component of successful content. “Buy now” CTAs get readers to take action, and Brafton has always encouraged marketers to also provide prompts for readers to check out more relevant content. nRelate data shows this practice pays off, as nearly half of respondenets click “related content” when they’re reading an article.

More Panda updates: Only top content has SEO appeal

Panda announcementAs content efforts ramp up, marketers must remember the demand for premium quality is at an all-time high. At the beginning of the month, Google announced Panda 21, which impacted 1.1 percent of queries.

The search engine released Panda 22 on November 21, continuing to push its algorithms and marketers to yield only the best content.

Marketers should keep reading the latest content news for December developments that can help inform last-minute decisions about their 2013 campaigns. Stay tuned for next month’s end-of-year recap.