Monday January 23rd || by Inbar Yagur

Every December, pundits in industries from interior design to children’s toys predict the big trends for the coming year. Taboola even posted a few of our own here.  

When we took a look at some of the big predicted trends for content marketing, we saw some that wouldn’t make the cut. There are three predictions in particular that we think marketers and publishers shouldn’t bank on.

Suspect prediction #1: Influencers will go pay-to-play

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Another predicted trend is the devolution of influencer marketing into something akin to paid sponsorship.

The Content Marketing Institute, citing CNN’s purchase of Casey Neistat’s YouTube channel, stated that influencer marketing will “shift a bit from partnering with content creators and distributors to flat-out purchasing them.”

While there may be some pay-to-play scenarios in influencer marketing, there will still be great value in building lasting relationships with media outlets and their reporters. Effective influencer marketing is built on trust and requires the authentic commentary of industry influencers whose opinions are valued by their audiences.

In other words, relying solely on pay-to-play relationships has the danger of defeating the purpose of influencer marketing as a whole – which relies on trustworthy and independent voices.

We don’t see these relationships trending towards a paid-only environment.  Paid distribution of earned media through channels like Content Discovery is a vital part of any marketing mix, mixing honest and objective outside opinion with clear ROI goals.

Influencer marketing should continue to play a vital role as well, and compromising the authenticity of that seems self-defeating.

Suspect prediction #2: Marketers will abandon social as a way to distribute content

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Another common prediction is the end of social media as a distribution platform for content marketing, in part because of constant algorithmic changes and in part because of the inherently closed nature of the major social platforms. A lot of talk about social media’s credibility in light of continuous fake news scandals hasn’t helped either.

With billions of active consumers accessible on Google, YouTube, and Facebook properties, it’s unlikely that content marketers will abandon these fertile, if walled, gardens anytime soon.

What we will see, is a more diversified distribution of content marketing dollars, with some spend diverted from social media to more open distribution platforms and ecosystems where data, pricing, and a person’s individual news feed is not autocratically controlled.

Few marketers will abandon social altogether, but more will be looking at alternatives to expand reach, connect with interested audiences, and rise above the social din.

Suspect prediction #3: Marketers will blindly invest in video because of its growing popularity

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Some industry analysts posit that in 2017, content marketers will be spending huge amounts of money on video just for the sake of video. It’s true that most recent surveys indicate content marketers plan to increase video production, but creating content without an ultimate goal in mind is not sustainable. Online advertising is rarely successful when it can’t be tied to true results.

Video, done right, will continue to deliver excellent return on ad spend (ROAS), and marketers who are producing well-thought-out, high-quality and wisely targeted videos can get excellent payback.

Quality video content, targeted to interested audiences in a relevant context, provides a powerful vehicle for product and brand discovery.

For example, video ads served to mobile devices receive top scores from app advertisers and measurement firms for their ability to attract a steady volume of quality users, according to eMarketer.

Advertisers, particularly in the gaming category, are doubling down on video ads because the experiential nature of the format is so effective. In other words—watching the product in action (in this case, a game), makes a user more likely to buy into the product.

New advertising channels and mediums will always be relegated to fads if true ROI isn’t proven. The effectiveness of video as a medium will, in the long term, depend largely on results. In this case—those results are incredibly promising.

Taboola is the world’s leading content discovery platform, serving 360B recommendations to over 1B unique visitors each month on the web’s most innovative publisher sites. To find out how we can support your content strategy, contact us or start your campaign now.

Inbar Yagur

Heading up the Creative Strategy Team at Taboola, courageously defying time zones to support brand success from Australia to Seattle, and structuring Taboola best practices. I'm a rabid consumer of pop culture and politics, reciter of 90's SNL skits, mother, and a film school survivor.