3_Media_IntegrationIn the white paper The New Content Marketer, Brightcove paints a detailed picture of a new marketing ecosystem, with permanent shifts in consumer behavior and the challenges this poses.

Asian e-Marketing summarized the insights for your convenience.

Marketers typically think about media strategy in terms of three distinct channels: paid media (advertising, SEM, paid search, and email marketing), owned media (website content, apps, and official social media channels) and earned media (generated independently by consumers, journalists, and other third parties).

While these channels have traditionally been seen as separate elements of media strategy, the lines among them are increasingly blurred. Instead of thinking about advertising in a vacuum, as a mechanism for driving awareness, consideration and sales, marketers also seek to make it a catalyst for engagement with owned media channels by adding links to special landing pages, invitations to “like” the company’s Facebook page, and so on. Website content can spark conversations among fans and beyond, and if you’re lucky, even generate press coverage.

In part, this shift reflects the rising importance of earned media, as people increasingly look to non-traditional media outlets for content. Meanwhile, audiences for linear TV, cable, and print continue to shrink. Search and social media are now primary forms of media discovery, as well as a means for people to share their own interests and discoveries with others.

Recent figures from leading social networks show truly stunning growth:

  • Facebook has over 845 million users posting a billion items every day;
  • Twitter has over 465 million users tweeting 175 million times every day;
  • Google+ has 90 million users and adds 635,000 new members every week;
  • Instagram is adding 10 million users every 10 days;
  • Foursquare has more than 15 million users and is growing 50 percent year-over-year;
  • Pintrest has nearly 19 million unique users visiting the service every month.

What all this means is that marketers have to work harder than ever to earn peoples’ attention and make themselves part of the conversation—or risk being ignored on traditional channels.

Content marketing plays a key role in this effort, as marketers use direct-to-consumer channels to deliver high-quality, relevant information that generates awareness, deepens engagement, strengthens loyalty, and motivates action.

According to a recent Marketing Profs and CMI Survey, nine of out 10 marketers surveyed plan to use content marketing in 2012, and 60% plan to “increase” or “significantly increase” content marketing investment in 2012. More than half of B2B marketers plan to use video for content marketing in 2012 (up from 41% a year earlier) and the adoption of social media for content marketing increased 15 – 20 % from 2010 – 2011, including 70 % for Facebook and 56 % for YouTube.

Challenges posed by digital media transformation

At the same time that marketers are seeking to capitalize on the power of content marketing, social media, and online video, they have also to face shifts in consumer behavior that add tremendous complexity to their task.

As the web becomes increasingly ubiquitous, social, and integral to our daily life - anytime and anywhere, digital consumption is moving from traditional PCs to mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. Last year, smartphone and tablet shipments surged past desktops and notebooks for the first time. Within the next four years, more consumers will access Internet content via mobile devices than PCs.

In one sense, the explosion of the mobile web creates a tremendous opportunity for content marketers, giving them more ways to reach consumers in more places, but it has been accompanied by significant fragmentation, which greatly complicates the development of an effective cross-platform strategy:

  • Adobe Flash has long been the dominant standard for Windows and MacOS web experiences, with 99% penetration on desktops, laptops, notebooks—but it doesn’t run on iOS, and runs on only a segment of Android mobile devices.

HTML5 is rapidly emerging as the new standard for video across all devices, but in terms of maturity, HTML5 today is where Flash was in 2002: a young standard with as much quirkiness as potential. HTML5 offers limited support for third-party plug-ins such as analytics, limited capabilities for DRM and content protection in video environments, inconsistent performance on adaptive multi-bitrate streaming, and significant variation in how video performs based on OS version, browser, and device. Marketers face a nightmare of technical tweaking and viewer disappointment.

  • The rise of apps is similarly a double-edged sword. On one hand, native apps enable a high degree of personalization and can leverage rich device capabilities (push notifications, camera, geo-location, contacts) to offer the immersive experiences consumers crave. As the content distribution ecosystem “appifies” and the consumer electronics industry promotes new types of Internet-connected devices, apps are quickly transforming the way consumers engage with content.
  • But taking advantage of this rich new customer touch point is neither simple nor cheap. Browser-based and app experiences each have their own strengths and role to play in the customer lifecycle: mobile web for discovery, awareness, consideration, and conversion; and apps for engagement, loyalty, and advocacy. As a result, marketers must now work through both channels, each with its own distinct standards and technologies, development cycles, and required skills.
  • Analytics become hard work, too. In theory, the rich behavioral data, now available, can provide valuable insight into what content works for what audience, and what audience works for what content—but most companies still don’t have an effective way to leverage it. With more screens, more destinations, and much more data, managing analytics across platforms is a major challenge for any marketer.

For online video, marketers need to be able to access and work with metrics pertaining to:

  • Awareness and community-building, such as new and repeat viewers, referral source, onsite vs. offsite viewing, and geographic distribution;
  • Engagement, including viewing time per session, drop-off and completion rate, referral segment engagement, and the interaction between video and other types of online content;
  • Conversion and loyalty tracked by on video viewer segment and KPIs;
  • Performance of video content across browsers, mobile devices.

Content apps come with their own set of required metrics, such as:

  • Awareness and community-building as reflected in app installs, geographic distribution, and device distribution;
  • Engagement, including content popularity and time spend in-app;
  • Conversion and loyalty based on push notification usage, sharing features and social media, and viewer comments and ratings.

Changes in the digital landscape and consumer behavior have created powerful new opportunities to gain and sustain consumer attention. By leveraging social media and online video across the full range of connected devices, marketers can make paid, owned, and earned media strategies more closely integrated and effective at every stage of the customer lifecycle.

By MediaBUZZ