Content marketing has emerged as a well-accepted practice, blending brand-beneficial messaging into a nonadvertising package in order to fit in with modern media platforms like social media, digital video or mobile search, according to a new eMarketer report, “B2C Content Marketing 2014: More Money, More Pressure to Perform.”
But in a marketing world driven ever more by data, content marketing remains very much an art form, especially in the business-to-consumer arena. The difference between a viral hit and an invisible flop is still a coin toss for agencies or brands to predict. And, trickier still, there are no universal principles for proving return on investment to justify growing content marketing budgets.
In lieu of standardized measurement, brands and publishers have instead rushed to innovate their content production processes and modernize distribution to cater to the universal demands of consumers for high-quality, free and widely available content.
Cross-device functionality is critical for successful content marketing. Top content marketers are making sure their content can be consumed on virtually any screen—making content available to the most people possible means making the content flexible enough to present properly across multiple devices. Furthermore, adaptive web design has put a one-size-fits-all solution for many campaigns and brand sites into reach of most marketers.
Marketers risk missing consumers for broad chunks of time if they cannot push content to a digital device. eMarketer estimates that for 2014, those with access to the mobile internet will spend, on average, 2 hours 14 minutes on a smartphone, 2 hours 43 minutes on a tablet, and 2 hours 39 minutes
on a desktop.
But content that works well on Facebook may not work on Twitter or Pinterest, or as an organic search result—or perhaps a consumer only uses Facebook on mobile and Pinterest on desktop. In a February 2014 survey of Fortune 500 CMOs by Mass Relevance and CMO Council, reaching consumers across digital touchpoints was the second-biggest challenge among respondents for this year.
“Across different formats, you have different expectations. It’s the same story, the same content. But it has to appear differently in the way that consumers expect, and that means different apps, different devices, different types of day—whatever it is,” said Eric Korsh, senior vice president of brand social.content at DigitasLBi. “Technology has moved much faster than marketing infrastructure and our marketing dollars and understanding. The industry is catching up to the velocity of these new platforms and channels.”
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