The future of the digital marketing is content. Sure, banner ads, text ads, popups, and the like will never go away entirely, but their effectiveness has been showing significant decline.
Digital ads are reaching a shrinking number of visitors worldwide as ad blocking technology becomes more ubiquitous. Even when not blocked, statistics on ad effectiveness show that digital ads are drawing fewer prospects than they used to. In the 90s, when ads started appearing online, banner ads typically had a clickthrough rate of about 3%. Today, that number is down to .06% and has caused a tremendous shift in ROI for online marketers.
Disruptive marketing efforts are inefficient.
We refer to these methods as disruptive marketing because they pull a user’s attention away from the content that they want to interact with in the first place. This is antithetical to creating a good user experience and can cause a lot of missed opportunities for both the website owner and the advertiser. If you ever hit the browser ‘Back’ button because the website you visited hit you with an annoying popup the second you arrived, you know what I’m talking about. For now, an ad-free experience is the premium option for many content websites; it’s only a matter of time until it becomes the norm.
Those issues aside, the deeper problem is that disruptive marketing efforts rarely align with the way consumers typically shop today. In general, people don’t want to be sold to. Instead, they seek out information from online research, recommendations on social media, and comments on review websites to make more informed decisions before they purchase. Disruptive marketing needs to convey a sense of urgency to prospective buyers to be most effective, and that often works against what are the preferred habits of online shoppers today.
Content marketing offers engaging solutions for brands.
With content marketing, your company creates quality, engaging content that is specific to your target audience and places it on your website and others. The content can be an article, a video, an infographic, or any other format that clearly gets the point across. In fact, it’s better to have variety in the formats you use for your content as it creates more opportunities for brand exposure and can open more opportunities for your content to be shared by others.
If there’s any catch to content marketing, it’s this: You must create content that will appeal to your target audience and you need to do that with little to no mention of your brand or its products. Your content needs to have value as content, and without that focus your content becomes just another ad in the eyes of your audience. So instead of talking about your company or its offerings (as great as they may be) your content should focus on your audience, their needs, and the issues that their niche or industry may be facing.
This is the key to effective content marketing. And while it may seem counterintuitive, it is actually what makes content marketing work. Content marketing elevates the audience’s perception of your brand. It is an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and interest in the concerns of your audience (aka your customers). When done genuinely and with attention to quality, content marketing wins hearts and minds while endearing audiences to your brand—which makes for great long-term customers.
Future advertising will rely more on content.
Another great thing about content marketing is that it breaks past both the technical and psychological barriers that people put up against advertising in general. It’s not a method to get around those things—it avoids them altogether. Good content that is strategically planned can also give a significant boost to your company’s social media and SEO efforts because it provides material for you to leverage for social interactions and improving your Domain Authority.
Best of all, studies show that content marketing aligns with the how consumers make their purchase decisions today, especially for B2B businesses who may have difficulties with ROI on paid media. A 2015 report by DemandGen showed 67% of B2B buyers rely more on content to research and make B2B purchasing decisions than they did a year ago.
Brands looking to improve their marketing across digital channels should give serious consideration of the benefits and effectiveness of content marketing. In conjunction with a comprehensive strategy, content marketing is generating results where other digital options are losing both their impact—and significant ROI.