Three key content marketing tips for 2016


Another year of learnings comes to an end. I am sure, like my social feeds, yours too must have been full of shared content rather than general status updates. Based on what I have observed, I am making a few educated guesses on the content marketing trends we can expect in 2016. These views are personal, although I have tried my best to share research or market data to substantiate my claims.

Image credit: Shutterstock

I think content marketing is going to get really crazy. Crazy, because a study sometime earlier this year by Microsoft Corp found humans can no longer boast of 12 seconds of coherent thought. Online user attention span has fallen to eight seconds now! It also found that users are more easily distracted by multiple streams of data. Now that’s a serious problem for a content marketer. You don’t get your point across quickly and you’ve lost it in less than eight seconds. But it also presents an opportunity to innovate your storytelling. Let’s see what can help you there.

Videos all the way

Videos are already dominating our feeds. In fact, Limelight's 2015 State of the User Experience report finds that watching videos online was #1 activity for the millennials. It is also one of the top activities for other segments.

Year 2016 will be no different and in fact you will see more of it. But you’ve got to get your storytelling right. Some important tips:

  • Keep it short, if possible less than 30 seconds
  • Engage the user immediately, within the first five seconds
  • Produce native to mobile video content
  • Focus on messaging and not on who is in the video or where it is shot

New content distribution channels

Instagram, WhatsApp and Snapchat are already favourites among millennials. Instagram reportedly has over 75 million daily active users. Snapchat reports that 8,796 photos are uploaded every second. Even live streaming video apps like Periscope and Meerkat are gaining popularity. In fact, Facebook also announced the launch of Facebook Live recently. So far, Live was available only to celebrities. So, Youtube and Facebook are still important but no more the only channels to distribute your content. So keep these channels in mind when planning out your content strategy.

For example, when planning your content strategy for Instagram, keep the following tips in mind. These tips are curated from several sources including a research paper published by Aditya Khosla, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • Apparently, hues of red tend to grab more attention than other tones. Who knew? Fifty shades of red is the way to go with viral images.
  • Pay attention to what’s featured in the image. Lingerie, mini skirts, perfumes, revolvers are shown to have strong positive impact on your image virality. 
  • Emphasise on meta data such as tags and geo-tags. It is found to have positive impact.
  • Dynamic compositions (what we call 'busy images' with high energy levels) attract tons of viewers' attention, while scenes of monotony are easily overlooked.
  • Don’t ignore your social feed on Sunday! Apparently, most optimal day for posting images is on Sunday. This, of course, is from a research done in 2013, but for lack of other evidence, we’ll go with it for now.

Virtual/augmented reality content

Gut feel says virtual reality (VR) should become mainstream by the end of next year. Imagine how crazy you can go with storytelling and user engagement with a 360-degree experience. Google Cardboard project and Facebook’s Oculus Rift push should help this cause. According to a new report by Business Intelligence, VR shipments will create a $2.8-billion hardware market by 2020. It also finds that many consumers claim the VR experience will drive them to shop more online rather than in stores.

While technology has been associated mostly with gaming, the platform offers new opportunities for video, e-commerce, and more. I think there is a great opportunity in this for the brands to give the users an experiential and entertaining engagement. So have you got your rift yet?


When people engage with your posts by liking, commenting or sharing, they consciously or sub-consciously see a social currency in doing so. So don’t bore them with the same old run-of-the-mill content. Keep experimenting.

If you have any thoughts on what you think could rule content marketing in 2016, please share your thoughts in comments section.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory) 

About the author

Manjunath Padigar is a start-up enthusiast and new age marketer. He features in World Marketing Congress and CMO Council’s “100 Most Talented Marketers”. He consults on start-up product strategy & development and enterprise mobility strategy.


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