Digital content trends for 2015

By Michael Brenner

Originally posted on The Guardian.

In 2015, we’ll finally realise that content is a strategic asset across the enterprise. Content and data are the important components flowing across the digital, social and mobile web. So content will become targeted and more personal! Content marketing will take a seat at the table, with budget and someone with authority to drive strategic content programmes.

CMOs will begin to instill a culture that is focused on customers. Budgets will shift away from paid promotion and into brand content that their audiences actually want to consume. Marketing organisations will move away from silos based on channel or functional ownership. Branding, advertising, PR, demand generation – all will begin to dissolve into three areas: data, technology, and content.

And as video and visual content continue to dominate the consumer landscape, brands will focus more on entertaining and informing their customers through visual storytelling.

Marketers will build deeper relationships with customers
Alex Cheeseman, head of brands and agencies, Outbrain UK and Ireland

Next year will see marketers taking a more holistic view of their customers, using richer enterprise software that will join up their siloed data and provide their customers with a seamless experience. With better data and insight, marketers will move budgets away from transactional marketing, into a longer-term content marketing strategy – building deeper relationships both pre- and post purchase.

Publishers will start to leverage programmatic platforms to drive meaningful ROI
Bob Lord, chief executive, AOL Platforms
Programmatic platforms have more to offer publishers than the automation of their operations and workflow. While streamlined process efficiencies enabled by automation are valuable from a cost-savings standpoint, programmatically-charged data will begin to empower publishers to boost their inventory return.

By leveraging sophisticated targeting, frequency capping and brand safety to more precisely identify and segment key audiences, publishers will be able to entice a greater number of premium brands. Programmatic data optimisation capabilities can especially help mid-long-tail publishers capture more premium buyers.

Used on the sell side, programmatic technologies will continue to transition from being used as an “efficiency/savings” assist to a dominant means of driving further effectiveness. Smart publishers will employ techniques like audience extension and re-targeting to augment their offerings. At the end of the day, publishers who can best plan, execute, analyse and report — across audiences, screens, ad formats, and content types – will see the greatest ROI.

Content marketing will continue to mature
Karen Webber, marketing director, Axonn

Content marketing is maturing, and marketers need to pick up their game to get, and stay, ahead.

The majority of marketers don’t think they’re effective at content, and it’s no surprise when you find out only 38% are working to a documented strategy. The rest? They seem to be making it up as they go along, and failing in the process.

In 2015, content needs to be a lot more strategic if it is to cut through the noise. Marketers need to develop audience personas and be single-minded about delivering value in the form of relevance and quality of their content.

Technology can help deliver results. Whether that’s through marketing automation, sophisticated content management software or something else, marketing technology has great potential for content marketing. I expect we’ll see some solutions merge in 2015 to give marketers access to varied functionality without having to buy or log in to multiple platforms.

Businesses will join up their comms channels
Jon Wilks, freelance content strategist and consultant

Towards the end of 2013, digital marketeers began talking about integration – about making what they do more organic. While some started making moves towards that this year, I don’t think it has been perfected yet. So my prediction for 2015 is that we’ll see real success from brands that insist on improved interaction between various digital communications departments, whether they’re in-house or agency-side.

In fact, I’d go a step further and suggest that stripped-down content departments – small bands with each discipline represented, from strategy to production to distribution – will become more common. It seems to me that good work gets done more often when the unit is tight.

Too often, one hand has no idea what the other is doing, and I hope we see a movement away from that. Until recently I worked with Havas, and they operate a really effective “Newsroom” model along these principles. I hope we’ll see more of that.

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