The Case for Content Marketing

Exhibit 1: Agencies will shovel $1B of manure (AKA mobile banner ads) on clients in 2015.


by Peter Coish

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In the US, 79% of marketers say that their organization is making a move into content marketing. Of those, 90% says it’s an essential element in their marketing strategy. And 60% are even using content marketing on a weekly basis.

But here in Canada, marketers have been slow to embrace what we think will be the future of advertising. As content marketing evangelists, we want to change that. So here’s our case for content marketing.

1. The Whole World Has Gone Mobile

In 2014, Canadians reached an important milestone: we now spend more time on our mobiles than we do on our laptops.  This has important implications for marketers.

If the use of ad blocking software is any indication (there are now more than 150 million people using AdBlock), people find banner advertising on their desktops annoying. Push those same banner ads onto their mobile devices, and they are seen as not just annoying, but an invasion of personal space. And worse still, up to 50% of clicks on mobile banner ads are accidental (called Fat Finger Syndrome). Yet, mobile banner ad sales are growing faster than the Kardashian clan, and this year media agencies are going to shovel close to a billion dollars of this fraudulent manure on their clients.

So how is a marketer to reach prospects on mobiles if banner ads suck so bad? With content that users welcome on this most personal and intimate of screens – content they like, comment on, and share.

2. Content Marketing Changes the Click Equation

Advertising has to seek out users—intruding on TV shows, interrupting YouTube videos, and blocking screens with pop-ups. Content marketing does the opposite—it invites users to seek it out. Obama rolled in the clicks for by partnering with Zach Galifianakis for this video, and it worked precisely because people like watching Zach Galifianakis more than they like watching commercials about health insurance.

3. The Whole World Has Gone Social

We don’t don’t have to tell you that that the app we spend the most time with on our mobiles is Facebook. Or that tarting up ads as social media content simply doesn’t work.

Consider the aforementioned Zach Galifianakis video. It racked up 10 million views when its channel, Funny or Die, only has one and a half million subscribers. That’s because unlike ads, great content marketing is built for sharing—Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter are places where people hate seeing advertising, but guess what? Those users will happily—happily—share content marketing like the Galifianakis video.

4. Content Marketing Lets You Tell Your Story

When’s the last time anything meaningful was said in a thirty-second TV spot? Or in a banner ad? Or on a billboard? Because content marketing is sought out by users, it can take its time to make its point. It takes five minutes for WestJet to sell you on the joy of Christmas. The Balvenie is going to use an entire series to celebrate the joys of handcrafted things. Acura doesn’t need to sell you anything—they’re just happy to have fun poked at them by Jerry Seinfeld and his battery of amazing comedians.

5. Google Loves Content

The good ol’ days when you could game Google by stuffing your website’s pages full of keywords and then watch the organic traffic roll in are gone.  These days, if you want to get ranked by the world’s most important search engine you better be publishing good content. And by “good”, Google means content that is fresh, original, diverse and “textually rich”.  Furthermore, recent research indicates that social signals – the likes, comments, shares that your content gets on social networks – are becoming increasingly important in determining search ranking. The only way to get these social signals is with great content.

We rest our case for content marketing.