Topics that will be dominating content marketing conversations in 2018
So that’s Black Friday done and dusted. The CMA awards are a day away and our last digital breakfast is next week. Yes, we have almost called time on 2017. It has however, as is reflected in the standard of entries in our awards, been a fascinating and innovative year for content marketing.
It is time now then to look at what 2018 will bring. So here are the topics that we think that content marketers will be focusing on in the next twelve months.
GDPR – The introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR as it has become more colloquially known) is now just six months away. On May 25th the regulations are enabled across the continent and there are severe penalties for companies who haven’t complied with its statutes.
GDPR’s big challenge to the marketing world is that the collection of the data, which fuels the marketing and advertising industries, will have to be ‘consented to’ by consumers.
Many big companies aren’t too concerned about the introduction of GDPR largely as their processes for harvesting email addresses and other contact details have always been consent based. For some companies though it may mean having to tweak or even re-construct databases to comply, as well as introducing ways to ensure that the collection of user data stays the right side of the law.
It is possible that GDPR will create opportunities for content marketing companies as it may cause problems for advertising companies. Might it be that brands turn to content rather than than more traditional digital display method to connect to their customers because of the regulations? We will have to wait and see.
Fake news – There has been a spate of articles this week looking at how Facebook is likely to face challenges from governments as the result of investigations into its impact on political decision making in the last two years.
Some brands are already asking difficult questions of the platform, concerned about how working in an environment where fake news has run unchecked and unchallenged. The theory is that as consumers become ever more distrustful of the content they see on the platform, how can they be sure that what brands share with them is also not fake?
Facebook has the financial resources to solve this issue, and it is clearly a priority for the company, yet every move it makes on policing disinformation is likely to be scrutinised very closely by both governments and organisations like the EU. Ironically Facebook shares are at an all time high at the moment, so it will be interesting to see if they maintain that momentum next year.
Video content – One of the most surprising developments of recent months has been the challenges that is now facing ad -supported digital-only media brands. For example both BuzzFeed and Vice Media confirmed that they are going to miss revenue targets for the year, while Mashable was acquired by Ziff Davis for $50 million – a fifth of the figure it was valued at last year.
One of the reasons why digital media brands might be struggling is that they have focused strongly on developing their video strategies. It is quite possible that we may see a backlash against this, as media companies realise that creating video content may be too costly and not delivering enough ROI. It may once again provide an opportunity for savvy brands to fill what could be significant emerging gap.
Augmented and Virtual Reality – In many ways 2017 was the year that both VR and AR hit the top of the hype curve. There was a real buzz about new hardware and software alongside some interesting experiments from brands in immersive tech.
Next year is likely to be the time that brands weigh up whether the cost of the two technologies outweighs their potential. There are plenty of ways that brands can harness both AR and VR in fascinating and innovative ways. Ultimately though can they deliver the ROI to make that investment in time and resources worthwhile? Might AR and VR seem more gimmicky too and less impressive to consumers?
Artificial Intelligence – Could 2018 be the year that the robots take over? There has been a lot of discussion about the potential of AI in content marketing, but not many real world example of how the bots are changing the way that brands work. AI is likely to come to the fore into 2018, but not in a ‘robots replace content creators’ type of way. The opportunity for brands to is to harness AI to spot data patterns and then use those insights to craft stories.
What is likely to happen in 2018 is that more and more brands will experiment with AI in this way – initially via startups and third parties. However we are likely to see a coming together of both data analysts and content creators in 2018 as brands seek ever more accurate ways to target their consumers.
Ashley Norris, Consultant Editor, The CMA