It’s been two years since Mark Schaefer declared that content shock is here. Since that time B2B brands have continually increased their marketing budgets while technological advances like ad blockers threaten to disrupt the industry.
Still the problem of content shock remains. There’s an overwhelming amount of free content on the web – far more than any rational human being can consume. As a result, people have become increasingly selective about the content they consume. Internet users are coping with information overload by scanning faster and reading with less intensity than before.
This, in turn, makes it harder for B2B brands to reach their audience. To continue connecting with prospects, marketers will have to continually refine their niche. Yet, they face another problem.
Paid distribution costs are expected to rise in response to increased demand for this type of service. The simple answer to dealing with content shock is to move towards paid distribution. But as more marketers rely on paid distribution to reach their audience, competition will increase as will the cost. Platforms that use real-time bidding make it simple for advertisers with deep pockets to raise their bid to excessive levels, outspending the competition.
But it gets worse. Consumers are growing weary of the excessive advertising to which they are exposed to on the web. The interest in ad blocking has increased exponentially over the last year. A KPMG study found that 44% of UK consumers plan on using an ad blocker within the first half of 2016. You can expect to see ad blockers getting better at blocking both sponsored content and native advertising over the coming year.
While some sites have resorted to the controversial practice of blocking the ad blockers, startups like AdLatch aim to engage those ad blocking users. Instead of banning these users, marketers should look for other ways to derive, value either from a mailing list, paywall, social sharing or lead generation.
Social media platforms are constantly changing and eventually reach a saturation point, contributing to even more content shock. Part of your social media plan needs to involve researching new platforms. Smaller platforms may not have as big an audience as established ones. However, their engagement rates are frequently higher.
Analytics are crucial in this rapidly changing environment. Track and analyze your results to see what works best in your situation. Ignore the “rules of thumb” about more content or longer posts. Let your numbers guide you towards a clearer picture of what’s working and what’s not.
Each piece of content needs to have a purpose and a key metric against which to measure. Whether it’s generating awareness, getting more leads, or establishing thought leadership, orient your content towards achieving one primary goal.
Align your content with your buyer’s journey. Relevancy is the key to getting your content consumed by an audience. A prospect who has a problem and is starting their research has distinctly different needs than one who is at the decision stage.
Content saturation has made the B2B marketer’s job all the more challenging. Focus on what you do best. You can’t be all things to all people. Quality not quantity is what works in this era of content shock. The web doesn’t need more content – it needs better content. Again, refer to your analytics and double down on what you determine gives the best result.