Back at the beginning of 2018, we made some pretty bold predictions for what we at Itch thought was in store for content marketing in the coming year.
So, like Michael J Fox I thought I should go back to the future and see if we got anything right (you would hope so!). Strap yourself into the metaphorical DeLorean and see where this goes….
1) No-one will sell anything anymore
My first prediction of 2018 – no more ads! In retrospect, this was a bit of an obvious one. Everyone has become their own broadcaster and the focus has shifted towards building a loyal audience and making sure they keep coming back. As a brand, you’re not going to do this by creating adverts and pushing your product in peoples’ faces.
So yes, content really did become much more audience-driven in 2018. Brands are becoming more focused on who they want to target, who their ‘tribe’ are – and are producing engaging content that speaks directly to them.
A good example of this: we worked with Bombay Sapphire over the summer to produce a social media campaign for their ‘glasshouse project’. As a brand, they knew the audience they wanted to speak to (artistic, young, millennials) and we helped produce a suite of social media content (predominantly for Instagram) that delved into ‘creativity’ and what inspires creative people. It was content that their audience wanted to watch and, as a result, it had a brilliant reception.
2) Brands will stand for something
Yes! More and more brands are picking a side. Nike made a bold statement with their advert featuring Colin Kaepernick – the American football player who ‘took a knee’ during the national Anthem starting a movement (and becoming one of Trump’s many Twitter enemies!).
And, most recently Iceland’s 2019 Christmas advert, ‘No Palm Oil’ became an instant internet hit (despite it being banned on TV).
Big brands know their tribe and know what they stand for. Watch while the smaller brands catch up in 2019.
3) Virtual Reality
VR continued to grow in 2018 and some brands started to get involved. It is still not at mass adoption stage – simply because it remains expensive to produce great VR immersive experiences. The VR headsets are now affordable, but to create a true VR experience still relies on high end camera equipment and time-intensive editing.
The best VR immersive in 2018 in my humble opinion, has to be the Star Wars ‘The Void’ experience – a ‘hyper-reality’ experience where you are in a physical space built around a VR experience (trippy!). It’s only a matter of time before brands get involved and create their own ‘experiences’.
On a more affordable level – a 360 camera has recently hit the market – the Insta360 ONE X – we have one here at Itch and for 360 capture, the results are fantastic. 360 videos are certainly on the rise – and, with the right content, this type of content produces very high brand engagement.
4) Kit just keeps getting better
Well this is definitely true – the cameras are getting much more advanced and more affordable. At the end of 2018, all the main camera manufacturers – Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, etc – brought out mirrorless cameras that all did 4K at 50/60fps. All with fantastic colour profiles. The camera geeks out there will argue over which is best – but all of them are great for the price point (around 3K).
5) Long-form content will make a comeback
Ok, so let’s face facts – short-form content exploded in 2018! Video length reduced to 15-20 x seconds and everyone spent more of their marketing budgets on short-form content – mainly because everyone focused more on Instastories (with great success in a lot of cases).
BUT – long-form is by no means dead. With brands focusing more on their own tribes and creating content that speaks to them – longer, documentary style content (12-15 x minutes or more) is becoming increasingly popular. Just look at the content kings, Patagonia.
I’ll be saying more about long-form content in our predictions for 2019 – which will be published this week! Keep your eyes peeled.