Content marketing is an ever transformative medium. What began as strictly a written form of communication, primarily through thought leadership pieces and how-to guides, gradually evolved into a more visual medium. Visuals then gave way to videos, allowing marketers to engage with audiences with more dynamic formats.
The trend towards video has continued to develop. Consumers now place a premium on high production original content, rewarding marketers who invest in high-quality custom content with their business.
As a result, marketers are allocating resources towards the creation and management of high production materials to provide more engaging experiences for their consumers.
There are many creative solutions your team can implement for 2018, depending on the unique needs of your situation. But let’s look at some of the trends heading into the new year.
Big players are making bigger investments
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The world’s global brands are often ahead of the curve and possess large marketing budgets that make them capable of investing in high-value content creation.
Take, for example, Facebook. The social networking giant has over 2 billion active monthly users and strives to accumulate as much financial value from each person on the platform. Therefore, Facebook is committing up to $1 billion towards the development of high production original content in 2018.
According to public details of their plan, Facebook is developing both short and long-form high production content in the new year. Up to $35,000 will be spent on each short script show while upwards of $3 million will be spent on each episode of long-form content.
Facebook has reportedly partnered with content creators like BuzzFeed and Vox Media to produce the content. Both companies have built reputations of credibility and authenticity among millennial consumers, which is the demographic most sought by Facebook’s initiative.
This massive commitment to high production content is part of an attempt to challenge brands like Apple, Amazon, and Netflix. According to VC Firm, Loup Ventures, Apple will ramp up production of high production original content to the value of $4.3 billion by 2022.
Believe it or not, this investment is actually dwarfed by commitments from both Netflix and Amazon as you can see in the chart below.
The numbers tell the story. Brands are undoubtedly investing more resources towards creating high production and original - or custom - content.
Obviously, brands like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix are global behemoths with some of the world’s largest creative budgets. But regardless of your own brand’s marketing budget, you need to make high production content a priority as you prepare to kick off 2018.
Why the demand, and the massive commitments, you might ask?
High production content resonates with millennials
There’s a difference between video content and high production video content that has a profound effect on consumers. The quality of the content is clear to see and greatly appreciated by the people consuming that content, especially the millennial audience.
An interesting content series developed by Facebook is called Shifts for 2020. Facebook’s team outlines how technology is changing the ways that brands and consumers interact, and what these new methods of communication mean for marketers.
Among the most informative insights are:
The growth of the millennial generation
How the concept of omniculture influences self-identification
The breakdown of geographic borders impact on global business
Millennials are the most populous demographic in the workforce
Facebook anticipates that half of the global workforce will be from the millennial generation by 2020. This follows the trend within the US where millennials have already surpassed Gen X as the largest segment of the working population.
Millennials have the highest amount of disposable income among working professionals, which makes the demographic a prime target for your marketing initiatives. To bring people into your orbit, the content you produce should primarily cater to their needs and their interests.
According to Facebook’s data, conversations relating to user experience have accelerated over 5 times since the end of 2015. Millennials are the most common participants, and often initiators of these types of conversations.
This data aligns with some of the other research Facebook has collected:
Consumers are 1.14x likely to shop based on geographic convenience over price
Approximately 50% of people will pay a little more for a product to ensure free shipping
Despite potential for price surging, 28% of millennials use ride-hailing apps like Uber
What you should glean from all of this data is that the value of a positive user experience is now more important than ever before. Millennials have high expectations for your brand, and you need to meet those expectations with frequency and consistency.
Investing in high production original content shows people the simplicity of your products or services; the convenience of shopping with your brand, or insider knowledge about the industry. Any or all of these options, presented through high production content, incentivize people to learn more about the value of your brand, your products, or your services.
The simpler reason to make this investment - high production content is just fun to consume.
Millennials consider themselves part of a global community
People may live within specific countries, but borders have little to no influence over how millennials define their place within society. Technology allows people in all corners of the world to connect with each other. People are more open and inclusive, and willing to embrace the idea of multiculturalism.
Facebook’s own studies accentuate the way millennials feel about defining identities in the marketplace. The numbers showcase how much millennials value the idea of an open and inclusive idea that embraces the idea of multiculturalism.
High production content that illustrates omniculture, and how any person from any background is ultimately part of one global identity is an important concept for your brand to pay tribute. Show your audience that your brand’s values align with their values using high production content that tells the story you want to be told.
If you can prove that both brand and consumer share common inherent values, you’re on your way towards nurturing a healthy relationship.
Millennials connect to your global brand on a local level
The idea of going local to become more global is a recurring theme in the custom content slice of the world. There’s a reason for that - it resonates with millennial consumers.
Many people want to feel they have an intimate relationship with your brand to consider purchasing your products. If you create and promote content that aligns your brand identity to the concerns and locales of a particular community, you can forge those connections and develop those relationships.
The physical location of your brand is secondary to how millennials perceive your brand within their community. According to Facebook, of the 65 million brands on the social platform, 35% of people connected to those brands live in a different country than where the brand is physically headquartered.
That’s hundreds of millions of people who engage in cross-border shopping.
It’s incumbent on you as a marketer to drive those shoppers towards your brand and your products. That means ramping up content creation with agile creative solutions.
Go one step further by investing in high production original content. High production content helps break through your brand through the crowded online clutter in a format that’s creative and entertaining.
If you have the right creative process in place, you can localize the perceptions about your brand and establish a scalable foothold within the communities that will earn the greatest value for your efforts.
High production content is consumed, not skimmed
This is a screenshot from a webinar we presented on how to create custom Facebook videos to engage your audience. The numbers highlight the dichotomy between the types of content that consumers will skim compared to the formats they will actually take the time to consume.
You can see that videos, social content, news articles, and market research are the most likely types of content that people will take the time to actually consume. Guess what?
You can put high production to work and further improve engagement with each type of content that consumers want.
A video is already an interactive piece of content. Take a little extra time and spend a little more money to make the video a high production piece. You’ll notice a difference in the quality of the content and so will your consumers.
Video performs admirably strong on social media. If you’ve invested in developing high production videos, make sure you’re promoting them. People are using social media to consume content published by brands all over the world. Make sure you push your content to as many platforms as possible and increase those engagement rates.
The same goes for news and primary market research. If presented in the form of high production original content, the data and insights are designed to sustain attention spans as information is fed to the human brain.
Consumers want brands to create custom content
At the end of the day, this is your incentive to invest in high production original content. It’s simply the direction that consumers want you to go.
Time Inc. surveyed thousands of people across multiple demographics - millennials included. The numbers show that 90% of respondents prefer brands that use custom content to engage with them, and 89% believe that custom content is the best way for brands to break through the crowded online clutter.
This is perhaps the most important piece of data from the survey.
Over 50% of people feel that custom original content is how brands share cool or interesting information rather than pushing a hard sell.
Consumers want your content to be thoughtful, to be informative. They don’t want to be subjected to such a hard push to buy your products. Content should be entertaining and engaging rather than presenting features or benefits of products and services.
High production original content is the best format to present a unique position in both an entertaining and educational format. You’ll capture people’s attention, improve engagement with your content, and inspire them to take the next step of the journey with your brand.
Utilize technology to create content at scale
Given all of these insights into high production original content, how do you effectively create all that you need at agile and cost-efficient rates?
What’s great about technology is that, in addition to simplifying how people consume content, it also helps brands streamline how to create content. The right technological platforms and digital asset management tools can help you optimize your creative process, establish consistent guidelines for production, ramp up deliverables at scale, and manage all of your content with easy and convenient access.
The new year is the perfect time to make high production original content an integral part of your marketing objectives. Make use of these creative insights and transform your working process into a high production content machine.
This is the time to start planning your content capabilities for 2018. Listen to our webinar on smart content investments you can make for 2018 for great tips and insights on how to apply creative solutions best suited for your unique needs.