Four behaviours that affect content marketing and how to combat them


Louisa McSpedden, Strategic Content Planner

Human behaviours are changing all the time as new technologies, platforms and formats are created. This can be bad news for content marketers who have locked in their strategy and are unsure how to adapt to the ever-changing digital world.

These four behaviours all affect content marketing, but never fear! There is always a smart solution to maintain audience engagement and keep your content marketing activity relevant.

1. Mobile use

Smart marketers know where their audience is and Australians are increasingly accessing content via mobile. 21 per cent of Australians are mobile-only internet users without a fixed internet connection at home. Consuming content on mobile is a very different experience than a laptop or desktop. If you haven’t considered the mobile-only audience then you are missing out.

The solution: Dedicate a portion of your budget to creating mobile-first content.

BuzzFeed’s massive success with its Tasty cooking videos shows how a mobile-first strategy can be successful. The videos are made for Facebook: short, snappy and watchable without sound, using the format of auto-play video with mute as the default. Instead of retrofitting video to sit on Facebook, BuzzFeed creates videos with Facebook user behaviours as the foundation.

2. Multi-screen activity

Rather than just watching television for a few hours each night, Australians are doing so while accessing Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram. 75 per cent of Australians aged 16 and over have accessed the internet while watching television. People also access information on their phone and then jump on a desktop to further their research or vice versa. People’s attentions are split across multiple devices, so reaching your audience in a meaningful way is more difficult than the traditional advertising approach.

The solution: Create a seamless experience across all marketing assets, regardless of whether it’s digital or above-the-line advertising. Make your mobile experience mirror your desktop experience. If the UX across all channels is streamlined then your user will have better brand association.

Using Facebook Custom Audiences allows you to retarget content to Facebook users who have visited your website. You can match visitors to your website on desktop and serve them content in their newsfeed on mobile, tackling the cross-device divide.

3. Banner blindness/ad blocking

Banner blindness was the original audience behaviour that took a swing at digital advertising effectiveness. However, the rise of ad-blocking software has the advertising industry sweating. If banner ads linking to your brand’s website are ignored or blocked, how can you maintain traffic?

The solution: Use content to attract the right audience instead of banner ads. Custom native content is a way to build brand awareness and encourage new audiences by reaching users on a website when they are already consuming content. A banner ad doesn’t give value to a reader, but a custom native article can – especially when the topic, publisher and execution are all top-notch. Netflix has partnered with The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times to create rich native online experiences that reflect and promote the latest series.

4. Shortening attention spans

The people of today are experiencing waning concentration levels, with an average attention span of eight seconds – less than a goldfish. We are quick to judge things and disregard what we think is not important thanks to social media and the endless scroll of the newsfeed. The average person picks up their smart device 1500 times a week! So how can you market to an audience that might just scroll past or click to the next animal video?

The solution: Truly engaging content is the best way to beat the attention-span slump. If a reader is interested in the content, they will either commit to reading it or come back when they have more time. Make your UX simple and easy to navigate. And if you create videos, consider making a 15-second teaser to gain interest before publishing the full-length version. Ensure the first eight seconds are attention-grabbing and get the main message across early.

If your marketing tactics are not as effective as they used to be, think outside the box. There are creative solutions to reach your audience and give them relevant content in the right place, time and format.