The numbers don’t lie: we are in the era of digital, and the growing number of companies investing sizeable chunks of their marketing budgets to digital marketing can attest to that.
With more brands publishing content online, however, audiences have also become more discerning in their consumption. Gone are the days of brands reporting high engagement rates because they’re posting cat memes. As ad blockers become mainstream, how else are content marketers supposed to attract audiences without the help of a few gimmicks?
While we have seen our fair share of innovative and attention-worthy content this year, here are a few digital marketing practices we wish would stop in 2017:
1. Creating branded animated gifs that aren’t value-adding
We get it. GIFs allow us to show a bit more of our brand’s personality. Some of the moreinnovative ones even provide hours of frustrated entertainment (‘mouse in a coffee cup,’we’re looking at you). But seeing that every other post on our feeds involves some useless animation, we look forward to spending our data plans on interactive gifs that offer more than just aesthetic value.
2. Riding on viral trends without thinking of audience retention
Raise your hand if your brand released a PPAP or Pokémon-related post this year (we know we did). While piggybacking on a trend’s popularity builds quick audiences, not having strategic post-awareness tactics will see your engagements drop quite steeply once the trend dies.
3. Misleading audiences with click-bait titles
I think we can all agree that 2017 will be a better year if publishers and content marketers become more honest about their headlines. We can only take so much of reading content that “will change our life.”
4. Boosting ads to everyone
While Facebook made it harder for brands to reach their audiences organically, there is an upside to the platform’s recent algorithm changes: thoughtfully using targeted boosted ads allow the creation of more accurate and relevant consumer bases.
We just wish more brands would take more time to create their audience sets rather than boosting to everyone within a 50-mile radius. First, it’ll be cheaper for them, and second,we’d be grateful to have fewer ‘healthy teas’ on our feed.
5. Still having a “campaign” mindset
Digital marketers need to get over the campaign mindset. The work doesn’t end after a brand publishes an interesting post. In digital, there are no “spots.” The key to success is being “always on,” and that means constantly producing content, optimizing deliveries, and finding ways to keep engaging and growing your communities.
6. Creating and sharing content with unverified sources
Let’s not contribute to the collective dumbing down of society by creating or sharing unverified information on the Internet. Selling lies may have been the go-to tactic of the Mad Men era, but we firmly believe in authenticity. There is a hardworking fact-checker ready to dispel any unverified claims we make.
7. Overstuffing your content pieces with keywords
Google is one of—if not the most—important digital channel you need to master. Search drives 70% of in-store purchases. While it’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to win the search game by stuffing your site content only with keywords, don’t. Not only has Google become more advanced in identifying relevant pages through context, you need to remember that your end-reader is a human and not a machine.
In this era of virality and instant gratification, the challenge lies in strengthening your internal processes and ability to deliver great content, every single day. Now more than ever, digital marketers need to trust that putting in the time and effort to create genuinely insightful content results in work that could stand on its own, without the crutch of trends. You can hold us to this: this is the best way to win yourself an audience that willactually stick around.