Last year we asked the team here at Castleford to look into the future and make some predictions about what 2017 would hold for our industry.
Our experts anticipated big things in the year ahead – from an increase in virtual reality to a new emphasis on content strategy. Now, as we close the book on 2017, it’s time to see which of these predictions came true and which we’re still holding out for.
Prediction 1 – Content Strategies Essential To Beat The Competition
Did it come true? – Definitely
We were spot on with our prediction that 2017 would see a whole new emphasis on strategy. In fact, 72 per cent of Australian marketers reported developing or adjusting their strategy during the last year.
Why? Basically it’s getting easier to create great, 10x’d content thanks to the proliferation of tools like Canva and Visual.ly. With so much slick content out there you need to invest in strategy as much content production to ensure your content achieves your goals.
If you haven’t already, make 2018 the year you develop a documented content marketing strategy.
Prediction 2 – Rich Video To Change The Way Information Is Delivered
Did it come true? – Not quite yet
In 2016, we predicted that ‘rich video would become the norm,’ and while the use of things like Facebook Live and 360 Virtual Reality videos did increase over the last year, content marketers still haven’t harnessed their full potential.
Since it was launched in April 2016, Facebook Live has grown in popularity – with 16 per cent of marketers using it in 2016 – but not quite as quickly as we’d forecast.
We’re still holding out hope for this prediction, however, due to the effectiveness of the Facebook Live platform, which gets three times more engagement than traditional videos.
Similarly, Google research has also shown that 360 videos outperform traditional videos in terms of:
Our takeaway on this one? Rich video definitely works, so get in on the action now before everyone else does.
Prediction 3 – Client Collaboration On Content Production
Did it come true? – Yes
In the past, you could ‘win search’ simply by flooding the web with content. Today, however, the game has changed. In a world where nearly 85 million posts are published each month on WordPress alone, standing out means publishing high-value content that positions you as an industry expert.
One way marketers are doing this is by getting more involved in content production through interviews, idea sharing and strategy sessions.
At Castleford, we definitely upped our client collaboration in 2017. In the six months from May to October 2017 the amount of content we created by using interviews with client experts more than doubled.
Prediction 4 – Short Form Video Will Continue To Boom
Did it come true? – Yes and no
Video works and it’s here to stay. Questions still remain, however, around the use of short form video, which we predicted would surge in 2017.
During the last twelve months, some short form video platforms boomed, including Instagram Stories, which reached 250 million daily users, less than a year after the feature launched.
Others, however, were notable flops, including Facebook stories and Vine, which didn’t even make it through the first month of 2017.
Happy 1st Birthday @Instagram Stories!
Over 250 MILLION of you now use Stories every day! pic.twitter.com/pSSgy2QbnL
— Good Morning America (@GMA) August 2, 2017
Before diving headfirst into short form video advertising, there are still a number of questions to answer around how long videos should be, what matters in terms of quality, and who they’re most effective for.
Prediction 5 – Voice-Driven Search To Surge
Did it come true? – Absolutely
Voice-based search queries have been on the rise for a few years now. In 2016, Google revealed that one in five searches in the Google app were done by voice.
This year, voice search has expanded even further with Google introducing their Google Home smart speaker in Australia. Google Home – and similar products like Amazon Echo and Cortana – have the potential to make voice search a part of our daily lives.
It remains to be seen how products like Google Home will affect voice-driven search queries, but comScore estimates that by 2020 as many as 50 per cent of searches will be by voice.
Prediction 6 – Streaming As A Gateway To Influencer Marketing
Did it come true? – Yes
Last year, we predicted that more companies would use streaming video to connect with their audiences – and over 2017 they did just that.
Some of 2017’s most effective live platforms included:
Why do live streams work? Many people like them because of the interactive elements including real time chats and reactions. Others simply enjoy the urgency and suspence of watching something that’s live and unscripted.
Either way, live streams are here to stay and we’re looking forward to see how else marketers use this platform in 2018.
Prediction 7 – Make 10X Content Your Bread And Butter
Did it come true? – Not quite
While 10x content is great, truly employing these tactics can be expensive and time consuming. That’s why this year, we saw a much stronger emphasis on what we call 2x content.
With 2x content, you’re not trying to outdo everything on the web, simply your immediate competition. 2x-ing your content means making simple improvements like adding a bit more depth or improving formatting with images or embeds so that you outrank your immediate competition in a given SERP.
Prediction 8 – Using Data To Personalise Your Content
Did it come true? – Yes
Analytics tools can reveal everything from your users’ age and geographic location to which links they clicked on and when they stop scrolling through your pages.
We predicted that in 2017, content marketers would make greater use of data to create more personalised, targeted content and in the end, they did.
In 2017, 61 per cent of Australian content marketers used website analysis and 59 per cent used keyword research in order to learn about their target audiences and create the right messages.
In contrast, nearly half of Australian content marketers admitted they were unsure how to measure content effectiveness just two years ago.
Prediction 9 – Building Consumer Relationships With Behind The Scenes Footage
Did it come true? – Sort of
While ‘behind the scenes videos’ didn’t necessarily take off, simple, easy-to-produce videos certainly did, as is evidenced by the major increase of the live streams we describe above.
It’s important to note, however, that quality is still essential. 62 per cent of consumers are likely to view your brand negatively if you publish a poor quality video.
Prediction 10 – Increase In B2B Influencer Marketing
Did it come true? – Not just yet
Last year, we predicted that B2B marketers would begin using influencer marketing more, closing the gap between their B2C counterparts.
Unfortunately, this didn’t happen in 2017. While, 55 per cent of B2C companies reported having ongoing influencer marketing programs, only 15 per cent of B2B companies could say the same.
We have, however, seen a rise in LinkedIn use over the last year, with 94 per cent of B2B marketers using it as a marketing tactic. This may indicate that B2B marketers are beginning to see the value of using social media to connect with key influencers.
Prediction 11 – Pinterest To Grow In Popularity
Did it come true? – Yes
Once a platform for sharing cute decor ideas and recipes, Pinterest has evolved significantly since it was launched seven years ago. The Pinterest of today is an online shopper’s paradise and a marketer’s best friend.
In 2017, Pinterest was the second most popular social media platform in terms of influencing purchasing decisions and more than two-thirds of pins showcased a brand or product.
More than ever, pinners are using the platform to:
Prediction 12 – Virtual Reality On The Rise
Did it come true? – Yes, but we’d love to see more
Over 2017, more and more businesses incorporated virtual reality into their advertising campaigns – from digital tours of a property to simulated test drives of a car. The charge has been led, however, almost entirely by big brands.
Among most companies, virtual reality hasn’t picked up as much traction as we predicted last year. Only 8 per cent of marketers report using virtuality reality in 2017.
That said, the wave is still coming. Youtube’s 360 Channel already has 1.3 million users and IDC predicts that by 2020, more than one fifth of commercial media on Facebook will be 360-degree video content.
Don’t miss out – learn about virtual reality now so you can use it before everyone else.
Prediction 13 – Episodic Video In B2B Businesses
Did it come true? – Slowly but surely
Last year, we predicted that more and more B2B marketers would produce episodic video content.
B2C companies have typically had a stronger hold across platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. In 2017, however, we have seen a handful of B2B businesses break into the sphere with webinars, how-to videos, demos and question-and-answer sessions.
Prediction 14 – Out With The Old, In With The New: Content Marketing With A Human Touch
Did it come true? – Yes
Content marketing has the unique ability to be more laid-back, informal and just plain fun than other, more direct marketing efforts. Last year, we predicted that we’d take this even further, creating unique content with a human touch.
You only need to look at our 2017 roundup of some of the best content marketing examples in Australasia to see that this prediction came true. This year, content was fun, engaging and different while still remaining effective.
Take Meat and Livestock Australia’s You Never Lamb Alone campaign, for example. During the campaign, MLA saw a 36.9 per cent increase in lamb sales. The video, however, doesn’t feel like an ad at all, but rather a hilarious piece of social commentary about Australia Day.