Have you ever been to a restaurant, looked up from your plate, and realised that you’re surrounded by families tucking into their own dishes and looking down, not at their food, but at their phones? With so many publishers, brands and social media channels at our fingertips, this situation is becoming more and more common.
Ironically, you’re probably reading this on your own phone, or at least some sort of connected device. In fact, whether you’re reading this on a smartphone, desktop or tablet, this article is no doubt one of many that you’ll read today. But the amount of time we actually spend engaging with content—whether it’s from friends, family, publishers or brands—might just surprise you.
According to our latest research on the UK’s content consumption habits, Millennials are spending 8.5 hours—over half of the average waking day (53 percent)—reading, watching, liking, creating and sharing content across their devices, while Gen Z are clocking in a staggering 10.6 hours daily. The total average across the UK is 6.9 hours, with smartphones taking the lion’s share of content consumption.
The vast volume of time spent online means that brands have more opportunity than ever to reach their audiences. But as the results found, content marketing comes with its own set of challenges.
The double-edged sword
While the rise of fake news and “clickbait” means that three quarters of the consumers we surveyed (77 percent) are more cautious of the content they choose to engage with, our research revealed that relevant, authentic, and well-designed content can bolster brand loyalty. Just under half of our respondents (46 percent) said that well-executed content would inspire them to make a purchase, a quarter (24 percent) would share it with their friends, while a fifth (21 percent) would subscribe to a brand’s email database.
So far so good, but how do consumers respond to content that doesn’t improve the customer experience? In short, branded content that is irrelevant, poorly written or badly designed has an adverse effect—so much so that it would prevent 71 percent of those we surveyed from making a purchase.
For marketers, branded content is the ultimate double-edged sword. Getting a content strategy right results in an uplift in customer loyalty, but brands that miss the mark will inevitably watch as customers switch off.
So how can brands refine their content strategies to ensure that their blogs, emails and social posts are included in the 6.9 hours’ worth of content that the UK reads each day? Using our research, we’ve pulled together our content “Dos’ and ‘Don’ts” for brands.
- Looks count: Whether it’s a website, app, or email, content must display well on all devices. This was the biggest priority for three-quarters of those taking part in our research. This means ensuring that images are quick to load and are suited to the device type, that the layout is responsive to different screen sizes, links work across different formats, and text is snappy enough to engage mobile readers, while satisfying those on a desktop. Bear in mind that smartphones are consumers’ favourite way to consume content, but keep the experience consistent across desktop and tablets, too.
- Give the audience what they want: With consumers receiving branded content on a daily basis, brands must ensure that they’re serving content that is relevant—half of those we surveyed (49 percent) cited relevance as their biggest priority. Brands must use data in order to achieve this, and ensure that the data they have on file is genuine. For example, don’t share promotions that are taking place in one city if the consumer is based in another, and don’t send offers based on in-store purchases if they’ve historically purchased online. Likewise, if you know that a consumer has been eyeing up a particular product, send them a personalised promotion, but make sure you connect the dots. There’s nothing worse than receiving a targeted offer for something you’ve already purchased!
- Be authentic: While customer acquisition and sales are the end goal of many content strategies, this does not mean that content has to be overly promotional. Whether it’s an informative guide on how to choose the best product, or a blog post inspiring consumers to try something new, marketers should consistently question how the content improves the customer experience and goes beyond selling products.
Introducing Adobe Experience Manager 6.4
With brands increasingly challenged to produce relevant, personalised content, we’ve introduced significant updates to Adobe Experience Manager 6.4. These innovations include a new tool enabling brands to use Artificial Intelligence—powered by Adobe Sensei—to generate personalised web layouts and content to individuals at scale; a Fluid Experience offering that allows brands to adapt messages to situational contexts; as well as Smart Imaging capability which can detect a customer’s available bandwidth and device type to streamline the delivery of experiences.
While the challenge for marketers has never been higher, we’re excited by these latest innovations, and how these will define the next wave of content driven experiences. To find out more about Adobe Experience Manager 6.4, click here.