Google has a unique perspective on what practically everyone is doing online. Recently, they analyzed their search data and compiled some information that is very useful for content marketers. Combining observations from search data with industry research, the team at Think with Google predicted three basic trends and content opportunities to watch out for in 2015:
- Connected life platforms are emerging. In other words, the Internet of Things (IoT) is here.
- Mobile shapes the “Internet of Me.” Mobile devices are where consumers are getting their experiences, and they are fast becoming the hub of the connected life.
- The speed of life gets even faster. Consumers want information, entertainment, and services at the moment they want them.
These trends mean that content marketers have to bring their A game…and have the right content in the right place at the right time.
IoT, Mobile and Real-time: 3 Content Opportunities you Can’t Ignore in 2015
Internet of Things
As the technology improves, the network of smart physical products able to connect and take in and share information is growing. According to Gartner, in 2015 consumers globally will be using 2.9 billion connected things, with 4.9 billion connected things in use in all markets, consumer, business, and industry. That is a 30% increase over the number of smart, connected objects in 2014.
For marketers who market smart, connected products there are ample content opportunities by creating useful and relevant customer info. For one thing, these types of products are relatively new to mainstream consumers. So consumers need a lot of education about these types of products. Marketers need to create content that answers questions such as: How does it work? How easy is it to set up? How do users interact with this product? How will it really benefit a user?
Hue lighting by Philips is a perfect example. If you never imagined there could be value in a smart, connected light bulb, take a look at Hue. The primary content explains how to use the light for a variety of purposes, such as security and health and wellbeing. This is content marketing 101—provide your audience with basic education about how the product benefits them, and help them see the product in their own homes and lives.
Like all good content marketers, the folks at Philips know that a lot of the value of good content comes with engagement. They have a strong social media presence, drawing in the audience with interesting, fun, and timely posts, such as a how to use hue lighting to create the flicker of candlelight for Valentine’s Day. With more than 17,000 Twitter followers and 53,000 likes on Facebook, they’ve done a good job of piquing the interest of consumers.
In terms of engagement, they do not discount the power of fun. The Apps & more page links readers to other smartphone applications that connect with hue lighting. Take a look at Hue Disco, which enables Android users to turn a room into a dance floor. Or Ambify, which let iPhone users set their hue lights to react to the music they play. Just reading this page sparks the imagination. And a quick review of their social media sites or the rest of the website leaves the audience wanting smart lighting in their own home.
Smart products create a higher level of engagement between consumers and manufacturers. The company can capture data from consumers, about how they are using the products and what is working and what can be improved. This is another great opportunity for identifying useful content. In addition, the fact that smart products share information with the manufacturer, apps, or other products, opens up the conversation to security concerns, something marketers would do well to address through educational content.
According to Millward Brown’s AdReaction 2014, Americans spend 151 minutes on their smartphone every day, more than they look at the screens of their televisions or laptops. Read: content opportunity.
This makes it all the more important that marketers understand how their audience is consuming their content. Do they view the content on laptops, smartphones, or tablets? Is there a lot of cross-platform viewing? For example, do consumers start looking at your website or app on a smartphone and then switch to a laptop for other parts of the experience? If so, are the platforms connected—if a consumer changes platforms, does he or she appear as a brand new user?
The trend toward consuming more and more content on mobile devices means that marketers have to think mobile first. Think about how your content is viewed on a small screen, in small bits and pieces. Can you shorten long content? Can you create a way to view longer content that is compatible with the mobile experience? This holds true for dedicated applications, as well as your web presence—is your site responsive to enable easy viewing on a mobile device?
My favorite mobile experience with a brand is the Zappos app for iPhone. It has all the content of the full website, with a very easy to navigate menu and interface. In fact, I find the content so much easier to navigate on the app that I deliberately start searching there to identify products that interest me and read user reviews. Then I go to the full website on my laptop for larger views of the products and to watch videos.
In this hyper-connected world, consumers want what they want when the want it. According to Google’s data, searches for the phrase same day delivery doubled between February 2010 and February 2014. Of course, not every brand can offer same day delivery or wants to. And most brands that offer it aren’t able to do so in every market. For example, both Nordstrom and Barnes and Noble have same day delivery options, but in very narrow geographic areas.
However, if it is in the realm of possibility, it’s a fabulous way for a company to take advantage of this strong desire among some types of consumers. Because same day delivery is typically quite expensive compared to regular delivery options, this is a chance to use content to highlight the benefits and help consumers feel comfortable paying more. Think of content such as videos of satisfied customers or of how the process works, user-generated content like reviews and videos, or social media and blog posts with testimonials.
The speed of life is getting faster. Consumers are spending more time on their mobile devices, managing their lives and checking in with their connected devices. All of this strongly impacts the type of content consumers want, how they want to interact with it and amazing content opportunities for brands. Marketers who find a way to ride these trends will create a strong brand experience, entertain and inform their audiences, and reap the benefits with engaged and loyal customers.