Content is king within today’s marketing landscape, as brands increasingly replace traditional advertising with innovative cross-channel media strategies that drive engagement in new ways. Connected online social platforms are transitioning from places to participate in conversations into fully fledged content marketing channels, while the addition of new commerce tools and capabilities is transforming the content these popular platforms host into valuable storefronts to facilitate sales. Simultaneously, the ascension of influencers and creators with large, highly engaged audiences is changing the ways and methods brands and retailers are able to deploy their marketing efforts in order to engage with their customers, inspire loyalty, and drive purchases.
Within this new and evolving marketing landscape, “As seen on TikTok,” or other comparable online platforms, has become the new “As seen on TV.” And these platforms may be an even more powerful driver of commerce than TV or traditional content-based media ever was. Brands are taking notice, turning what were once simple discovery occasions into newly shoppable moments. By facilitating casual interactions, brands and retailers are able to leverage a broad array of ecosystem touchpoints into important drivers of purchase and streamline the path from inspiration, to consideration, to checkout. As content itself becomes a form and engine of commerce, the production of marketing campaigns and collateral that doesn’t feel like advertising and increasingly breaks the fourth wall is allowing brands to make more thoughtful and meaningful connections with consumers while at the same time enhancing and expediting their sales funnel.
It’s an exciting time for retailers and brands to explore the expansive content landscape and begin experimenting with the various buying and selling formats. For the moment at least, this is where a growing majority of consumers, particularly those in the younger demographic, are spending their time and attention and increasingly their dollars.
In the following report, the PSFK team looks at five key trends in content marketing, bringing them to life for our members with a number of recent examples from the marketplace.
Building on the idea of community ownership, marketers are leveraging brand influencers and fan bases to drive engagement, develop products and even unearth new brand ambassadors within rewards-based activations and competitive series. Hosted over social media channels and streaming platforms, these reality TV-esque programs encourage fans to watch along, vote and access special perks as their peers and favorite artists or influencers complete tasks and compete in various branded activities.
The next evolution of digital advertising is furthering the connection between content and commerce, providing consumers with greater control over their ad viewing experience, and blurring the line between programming and commercial breaks. Rather than disrupting the viewing experience of a show or game, media platforms are integrating advertisements directly into the show, creating content that features favorite characters, and even layering passive advertisement over live games, streaming experiences, and gaming platforms.
To complement and expand beyond their product offerings, retailers are partnering with creators, experts and lifestyle-adjacent businesses to develop content libraries, membership programs and additional services for fans to enjoy. By creating accessible channels and platforms for consumers to participate in shared activities, enjoy brand-centric content, and engage with retailers, brand ambassadors, fellow fans and their communities, these digital offerings add a greater connection point to the brand community at large, while providing additional value for consumers.