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Trends for 2013: Content, Context Vie for Supremacy

Social media is top content marketing strategy

One way marketers can contend with nonlinear media consumption and a reformulated path to purchase is through content creation. Consumers not only respond to content, but also seek it out. In effect, content is the grease that turns the wheels of media.

Most content marketing aims to drive pre- and post-sales activity, according to a November 2012 Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs report. However, in the same study of B2C content marketers in North America, 55% of respondents cited direct sales as a key metric of content marketing success, second only to increased web traffic.

If content remains king, in an increasingly mobile-centric world, context—where consumers are, what they are doing and thinking, and how receptive they are to engaging with marketers—shares the throne. A union of the two can help drive commerce. It’s why in addition to features important to mobile shoppers such as store locators, local deal finders and inventory search functions, retailers have begun to add instructional and product videos and rich imagery to their sites—to provide inspiration, elevate the value proposition and create more avenues for engagement.

And the notion of content is expansive, comprising owned, earned and even paid media. In fact, in the CMI/MarketingSherpa study, social media ranked with articles on brand websites as the leading content marketing tactics, used by 84% of respondents each. Both consumer-facing and business-to-business marketers put social media at or near the top of their lists of most effective content marketing types, again proving social media’s worth at driving brand metrics and forging emotional connections with customers.

In spite of the expansive possibilities, marketers would do well to create actual content, however, not ads disguised as content, for which consumers have been shown to have a low tolerance. For example, mobile advertising solutions provider MediaBrix found in October that 86% of US internet users had been misled by videos that appeared to be content but turned out to be sponsored ads. A nearly identical share (85%) said encountering this type of video ad either changed their opinion of the brand for the worse or, at best, had no effect.

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Check out today’s other articles, “Marketers Seek Metrics to Evaluate Digital Video Ad Success” and “BBC's Olympics Win Moves Transmedia Coverage Forward.”

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