The ways that brands interact with consumers through content is constantly evolving.

As social media trends, platforms, and topics change, digital content marketing must adapt and move with them.

2020 saw huge upheaval in the ways people consume content, with most platforms seeing a rise in the use of ‘live’ and streaming features, and inventive user-generated content moving to shorter and easy-to-consume content platforms.

Content marketing trends need to keep up with consumer habits, social media changes and technological innovations. We’ve looked at 2021’s popular strategies, and the emerging trends that will stand out in the future.

 

Content marketing trends in 2021

Social media

While LinkedIn is still the main platform for B2B marketing, many users have turned to other platforms to access more easy-to-consume content. Whether it’s endlessly scrolling through constant short videos on TikTok or swiping across stories on Instagram – image and video heavy platforms have become key for B2C content marketing.

In 2020, TikTok saw user growth increase 75.2% in the UK, 85.3% in the US, and a massive 248.7% in Norway. 500 million people use Instagram Stories daily, with users spending an average of 30 minutes a day on the platform, which is a 13.8% increase compared to 2019.

 

Video and live streams

Many video and streaming services have seen an increase in viewers and content creation since March 2020. Twitch, YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming saw an average of a 71% increase in average concurrent viewers between 2020 Q1 and Q2, with Instagram Live, TikTok, Facebook Live and YouTube Live also experiencing user growth.

Video is more engaging than written content, and live streaming provides opportunity for live feedback and interaction with consumers, creating an environment for trust and ‘in the moment’ connection amongst consumers. 

The most important media for marketers today is video, as it can easily be utilised by B2C and B2B content marketing, and content creation is extremely adaptable to different strategies and sectors.

 

Topical authority

With changes over the past few years to Google’s algorithm, the focus has shifted away from backlinks to the content and depth of expertise of a domain.

While link building still plays a significant part in SEO strategy, the quality of a website’s content and authority on broader topics and subject areas has become a key factor in search engine rankings.

More brands are publishing more long-form content that shows their knowledge in areas related to their business and answers user’s intent more accurately. Building content on specific topics builds keyword networks, which in turn meets more user intent searches and makes the page or domain more likely to be linked to, or shared on social media, improving a website’s ranking.

Google’s search engine market share is more than 90%, and there are nearly 4 billion people who use it across the world. So, learning how to rank highly in searches is crucial for marketing success.

 

Upcoming trends in content creation and digital marketing 

Personalised content

Our ability to collect and understand data has grown immensely in recent years.

In the past, customers usually expected basics such as fair pricing, and quality customer service. However, as content and products improve and evolve, customers want to see this reflected in the sites they visit, through personalised interactions, connected experiences through other digital channels and social media, and proactive service.

Brands are beginning to use collected data to create and market content that is tailored to the user, through reordering lists, recommendation systems etc. This data enables brands to understand more about individual users, for example, what they will want to see and how many times they’ve visited the site.

 

VR/AR

Experts predict that the market size for Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) will skyrocket to $72.8 billion by 2024, as the technology becomes more accessible, as well as becoming more advanced.

With the market growing at such an immense speed, it creates brand new content marketing strategies as consumers and marketers adopt new technologies.

VR and AR have been around for several years, however it’s only recently that businesses have begun to utilise them. The slow growth in the market in the past has been due to cost and not being very user-friendly. However thanks to falling hardware and software costs, companies are beginning to explore and take advantage of these alternative marketing trends.

 

User-generated content

While not a new trend, consumers will always want proof of products before they buy them – and with the continued popularity of video and photo-heavy social media platforms, user-generated content (UGC) is a trend expected to sky-rocket through 2021 and beyond.

During the pandemic, UGC enabled brands to generate lots of content, and to interact with consumers – generating trust and improving their brand authenticity, as users tend to trust other consumer’s experiences more than a brand’s own content.

 

Future content marketing trends

Content for the Internet of Things

Smart watches, smart speakers, smart fridges etc. and of course, smart phones, are prevalent in society, and have been for several years now. As more ‘smart’ devices become available, a whole new channel has opened up.

Consumers will start to find more content that is optimised for voice search, and other innovative and new Internet of Things (IoT) products that will be on the rise to meet the demand, and inventive content marketing strategies will follow.

 

Utilising AI

As the hardware and devices become ‘smarter’, the software must follow.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made strides in the past decade, and research behind it continues to further its reach and possibilities. More brands will begin to use AI for web analysis and content optimisation, as well as A/B testing.

People may be unaware, but AI is already everywhere – it recommends products, predicts searches, and suggests songs to you whenever you need it to.

As consumers are constantly exposed to AI, businesses and marketing should utilise this and integrate it with their websites to help make a user’s experience even more streamlined.

 

Unique research

Did you know that 500+ hours of content is uploaded to YouTube every minute? That’s over 720,000 hours of content daily.

As more content is uploaded to the internet every minute, it becomes increasingly difficult to offer something unique and valuable to the market. Therefore, the future of content marketing becomes brands being able to offer new and truly unique insights into their areas of expertise.

Customers could also become a potential source of content, creating unique and independent insights on products and services.

 

It’s certainly safe to say that content marketing will continue to adapt and evolve as technology does – staying ahead of the curve will really help businesses soar.

What do you think about the content marketing trends coming up? Will you be willing to take the jump and try out something new?

Let us know your thoughts, opinions, and any trends you think may be on the rise, on our socials: Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Get in touch with us and see how we can take your brand to the next level.