Why the decline of the dot-com is making way for the rise of content
MBA’s Libby Wright takes a look at how content can only be great if it works across the digital ecosystem…| October 20th, 2015
To be clear, we’re not predicting another dot-com crash here – you won’t find us parading “The End is Nigh” banners down the streets of Silicon Valley.
No one would argue against the 800% growth in digital spending in 10 years, us included. In fact, we’re a firm advocate of it and the myriad of opportunities it provides us to be innovative in how we connect our clients to their audiences.
What I want to talk about is the fast-emerging trend of cross-platform content consumption, moving away from a single content hub, and the importance of recognising it within strategy and execution.
This is media planning five years ago. Driving to brand owned hubs or a campaign microsite. A ‘build it and they will come’ approach, which made complete sense when Google was the main gateway to content, easily controlled or influenced through search.
However, we know that for most brand activity (DM excluded) this is no longer the case. Search plays a role but consumer behaviours are now split across a multitude of social and curated platforms. Distribution is now about putting your content where people are – not expecting them to come to you.
And although most brands are embracing digital wholeheartedly, this latest shift can be a tough one to adopt as it challenges traditional concepts of planning and switches our focus to content itself rather than the platforms where it lives.
As marketers, we rarely want to admit that other things are more interesting than the brands we work with, but when those other things are Facebook and Twitter, we have to concede the point.
If we look at our own behaviours as we go about our daily lives, whether it’s the commute or filling time in ad-breaks, if we have a spare five minutes, for most people Facebook is our destination – and interacting with a piece of content is just something we do while we’re there. We don’t traverse the web and seek out content we go straight to our favourite places, Facebook, Twitter, Imgur or Tumblr, and consume vast amounts of content within these native platforms.
The evidence for this is in the data.
Publishing sites like BuzzFeed and The Economist are seeing a dominant share of content traffic coming through social, not to mention the way they’re seeing content travelling across platforms through content advocacy using mechanics such as shares and likes.
And we know it’s not easy to know how best to respond – encouraging people to spend more time on Facebook or Tumblr feels like you’re doing these Silicon Valley giants a favour by encouraging people to spend even more time with them, not to mention the potential compromise on brand attribution within non brand-owned environments.
But that’s not the case.
Content strategies, creation and distribution needs to be designed to live, and thrive across platforms, delivering a clear and consistent brand message as part of the content, we can make content work well in this new world.
For us, this is about building a system that recognises, adapts and leverages new consumer behaviour rather than fights against it. The new reality is not about where the consumer is when they consume your content – it’s getting them to consume your content at all. If that means meeting them where they are, that’s what we need to do.
And we’ve already made a start.