Speaking at Publish Or Perish: The Content Conference, Dr Mairéad Brady, Assistant Professor of Marketing in Trinity College School of Business, claimed that marketing managers need, above all, to be “futurists”.

In keeping with that line of thinking, we’ve sifted through the content marketing trends of 2017 and examined the current standing of the industry, to bring you some of our predictions for the year ahead.

Here is part 1 of our predictions for the year ahead:

Transient/Short-lived content

Temporary content is a well-established concept in the psyche of the average social media consumer, pioneered and converted into a mainstream format by Snapchat as far back as 2013 and ‘borrowed’ in the past 18 months by Instagram and Facebook, with each respective platform incorporating the posting capabilities of short-form video and image content that disappears, like Snapchat, after 24 hours.

Generally speaking, brands and publishers have struggled with using the Snapchat temporary format to creatively communicate with their audiences in a similar fashion, (although some have nailed it, a great example being Oak’s ‘one-second coupon’ in 2016).

Since the launch and rise of Insta Stories however, it’s clear that the transient content format is well-received by the masses. If your competitors haven’t started publishing in temporary format yet, they will soon.

Expect to see:

1) Transient social posts and ‘mini’ campaigns that capitalise on the urgency the time limit creates – either from a ‘blink or you’ll miss it’ perspective – using the second timer as per the Oak’s example – or from the 24 hour ‘countdown’ angle.

Podcasting

While a lucrative monetisation model for podcasting is likely still a way off for brands, there’s no sign of the steady surge in podcast consumption wavering on either side of the pond (as discussed in detail by our podcasting panel at Publish Or Perish: The Content Conference).

As we know, where the mass audience migrates, the brands will follow, and podcasting is no different. 

Of note is the acquisition by Google in October of podcasting app 60db, a sure sign that Google sees the medium as valuable currency and its intentions to compete more seriously against Apple.

The other key development is the availability of Apple’s podcasting analytics on the IOS 11 that will give publishers and brands hitherto unavailable insights and measurement capabilities into the listening behaviours of podcast episodes – although not on a level that will enable a switch to programmatic buying and selling – yet.

Expect to see:

1) An uptake in brands advertising on popular podcasts (‘popular’ being the operative word);

2) A couple of the big guns (with big spends) dipping their toes into unfamiliar waters by commissioning podcasts as original content –  beginning with a set number of episodes in a single series as an experiment.

Micro-influencers

The trend of influencer marketing shows no signs of dissipating in 2018, but it will evolve, like any trend.

The concept of ‘influencer’ referred initially to someone who (relatively speaking) had a sizeable following on social media platforms, whom they can reach or ‘influence’, rather than a celebrity in the traditional sense.

Only now the line has become increasingly blurred between influencer and celebrity and the same faces are appearing across the board in advertising and social campaigns,

Expect to see:

1. Brands realise that the ‘big name’ influencers are saturating the market, meaning their brand or product is blending in rather than standing out. This will cause a gradual shift from using the same faces to using more niche ‘experts’ or micro-influencers in their place. The aim here will be to stand out.

2. More emphasis on audience engagement, as opposed to audience reach. While the ‘micro-influencer’ has a smaller audience, proportionately speaking, they are likely to have more sway over their audience. After all, their niche audience has shopped around for something different and put some thought into following the micro-influencer.

3. More transparency in 2018 with influencer endorsements: the jig is up! We know what influencer marketing is, and we’re growing wary of your contrived blanket enthusiasm for brands and products you pose with. A move to content curation by micro-influencers, who know their stuff and express an opinion or a preference, is inevitable – and advisable.  This will also come in the form of content created by the micro-influencer and hosted on brands’ owned channels, as opposed to a straight product endorsement.

Like what you see? Disagree with any of the above? Feel free to share, comment or contact us with any queries. Stay tuned for part 2 of our trend predictions for the year ahead.