From personalisation and automation to content for mobile devices – content marketing trends

Content personalisation, automation and Microsoft’s Tay chatbot

Personalisation’ and ‘automation’ – two content techniques that are increasingly on the lips of leading Humanoid robot representing content for mobile devicesmarketers worldwide. But, in reality, they’re just two sides of the same coin.

Long gone are the days of firing off a bombastic mass email in the vain hope of attracting a meagre percentage of the recipients to your website.

Consumers have become more savvy to content personalisation – they expect to be addressed by name and with a selection of goods or services that match with their interests – and we know it. That’s why content marketers are becoming increasingly reliant on software that can personalise text based on a broad pool of variables, such as basic information, buyer behaviour and feedback interpretation. With this info, an email campaign can speak to individuals by name, with a package of products that they’ll love, in an engaging tone. But, segmenting audiences at such a granular level is likely to require time and resources that most companies just don’t have.

So, how can this be reconciled? Automation is key to managing the workload generated by content personalisation. Software is becoming increasingly adept at identifying customer trends, and AI bots can now instantly pen an individual email or article to appeal to a person’s specific interests. But, as Microsoft learned to its embarrassment last week, there’s still some way to go before AI software can truly be made smart enough and sufficiently protected from malicious influences. Plus, potential customers still seem to be distinctly turned off at the thought of being sold something by a machine, so personalisation in automated content is more important than ever before.

Content marketers that manage to combine these mysterious elements are likely to find a rare alchemy of email marketing success, with open rates up to 75% higher than those that don’t combine automation with personalisation, according to a recent study from Econsultancy.

Trust more important than price for B2B content

The proportion of B2B content marketers who believe gaining their customers’ trust is more important than offering a cheap price has jumped from 39% in 2015 to 58% at the start of 2016, according to Marketing Week. This is a watershed moment, signalling that authoritative trust is now a more valuable sales commodity than price in this area of the market. This has several implications for content marketing.

Technical business professionals, with one foot in the corporate sphere and one in the world of technological advancement, are often an effective barometer for the rest of the market. 71% of technical professionals will visit at least six sites per week for work purposes, with 85% attempting to find additional product information via search engines at the research stage of the buying cycle. And, B2B companies that are recognised as adept at customer engagement tend to achieve revenue/sales rates in the region of 50% higher than those that don’t.

Content marketers who want to earn the trust of their customers will need to cultivate an intimate understanding of their motivations and pain points. They must create the sort of content that answers specific queries or equips the audience to solve a problem. This means fewer advertorials that focus on price and more in-depth white papers and lengthy blogs that develop trust between a B2B brand and its audience.

Designing content for mobile devices requires diversification

People now use a whole range of devices to view content. But, did any of us quite realise the extent to which designing content for mobile devices has become a fundamental part of content marketing strategy?

The latest figures from Adobe outlined how the average web consumer utilises five devices as part of their regular routine. They also use an average of 2.23 devices simultaneously. And, according to PR Newswire, 44% of consumers use their mobile devices to aid the decision-making process.

Content strategists are still deciding on the best ways to adapt content for mobile devices, with some opting to target specific platforms and others simply stripping back their default content. The latter will fall by the wayside in the near future, as it doesn’t correlate with the over-arching trend of content providing a tailored service to the end user. So, that leaves us with platform-specific content design.

Collection and interpretation of customer data has thrown up some interesting trends that copywriters should take note of if they are to truly nail content for mobile devices. For instance, according to Econsultancy, consumers who research a product on a mobile device are more 45% likely to complete a purchase within one hour of first viewing a product. Therefore, the supporting content should take the consumer through all stages of the sales funnel in order to facilitate this journey.

Then there’s copy length. While the prevailing wind is towards longer, more informative content, it turns out 41% of people would bounce from a site if the content is too long when viewed on their device. To combat this, you need to understand the difference between a consumer looking for a quick, objective piece of info regarding product specs on a mobile device, and a company CFO looking for in-depth insight on their tablet or laptop. Then, you have to develop a content strategy that creates and contextualises every kind of copy that is needed at each stage of the sales funnel. Designing content for mobile devices will be an idea that copywriters are set to wrangle with for a while yet.