Marketers are not preparing for a future where consumers use mobile search, voice search, and AI-driven content marketing to interact with companies, according to a survey by SEO and content marketing platform BrightEdge. The company also found that half of the survey participants rated search/SEO their #1 marketing initiative and that more than 7 in 10 struggled to create content that is actually consumed by their audiences.
The Future Of Content
The BrightEdge survey, which was conducted among 252 marketers in the Spring of 2017, offers a range of insights into the current state of content marketing and how marketers are using content to interact with consumers. It reveals that marketers recognize a future ruled by Alexa, Siri and other intelligent personal assistants, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) driven voice search. But it also highlights that most marketers have been holding back implementing these new technologies into their content marketing strategies. This could leave companies at risk not meeting future consumer expectations because by 2020 over 50% of consumers are expected use AI and voice-activated technology in their daily lives.
BrightEdge reported that while a large share of survey participants (57%) indicated they’re unlikely to use AI or deep learning in their content marketing in 2017, a large minority felt differently. Nearly one-third (32%) said they were somewhat likely to use AI in their content marketing strategy. And an additional 8.7% said they were very likely to do so. Meanwhile, 2.8% said they’re already using AI to support their content efforts. Of those who are planning to use AI with content marketing 61% said they expect that AI will have a significant impact on the creation of hyper-personalized content. Full infographic at the end of the post.
Content Development and Consumption
Companies are creating more content than ever before. The top-3 types of content marketers created most often, according to the BrightEdge survey, were blog content (69%), social media content (62%) and videos (45%). The top-3 success metrics for content performance were conversions, engagement, and traffic.
When it comes to content performance the majority of marketers (72%) said they were struggling to create content that was actually consumed by their target audiences. Slightly less than one-third of survey participants revealed that only between 10 and 25% of their content had engaged their audiences, while 28% said 25 to 50% did. Fewer than 9% of survey participants felt that three-quarters or more of the content they produced was engaged with.
In broad, general terms, content optimization is a process by which a content creator uses various techniques to improve search results and rankings in the search results, boost dynamic landing page performance for desktop and mobile devices, as well as user engagement. More than half of marketers (51%) participating in the BrightEdge survey rated creating and optimizing content for local markets “very important” or “a priority” in 2017.
The majority of marketers (42%) rated the development of micro-content ‒ small custom content elements highly optimized for specific consumer searches and questions ‒ the most important content optimization tactic, followed by contextual content and intelligent content. Indeed, one-third of marketers revealed that developing content that is contextually relevant was their main content development focus for 2017.
SEO and Content Marketing
Search engine optimization (SEO) is critical for creating optimized content that is easily discoverable in search engines, reveals consumer intent and provides useful insights to drive content marketing strategies. It is, therefore no surprise that 48% of survey participants rated organic search/SEO as their #1 marketing initiative priority in 2017. Content development was rated #1 priority by 42% of marketers. An overwhelming majority of survey participants (97%) agreed that SEO and content marketing are converging, or have already converged. Only 3% sees the two tactics as separate disciplines.
Voice Search Adoption
Voice search is being adopted for a variety of purposes, but its main goal is to provide faster, simpler and more user-friendly search, particularly on mobile devices. BrightEdge found that nearly two-thirds (62%) of survey participants have no plans to use voice search in their content marketing strategy, despite the fact that one-third believe it is the “next big thing” and that voice search currently accounts for more than 20% of all mobile searches.
As always, in situations where companies survey the markets they serve, carefulness and skepticism are often justified, although various other surveys support many of the findings in the BrightEdge survey.