content marketing

Analysts predict that by 2020 UK content marketing spend will reach £349 million, that’s more than double what it was three years ago.

Many marketers are recognising the opportunity that’s emerged for brands as consumers demand ever-more useful, creative and engaging content.

But this brave new world continues to flex and shift as new ideas, platforms and technological developments present new opportunities and methods of execution and evaluation.

Here are three trends to watch:

#1Converged media and the agency model
It’s been the best part of a decade since Sean Corcoran published research that defined the categories of ‘earned, owned and paid media’, providing prescriptive advice for marketers to categorise the media landscape.

Now widely adopted globally, it’s the convergence of these media that has regularly been at the centre of debate.

For the holistic marketer the concept of integrating earned, owned and paid media has seemed obvious. After all content and a big brand idea is at the heart of a successful omnichannel approach. But we continue to see advertising, PR, digital and media agencies work in isolation.

The world of several strategies working remotely is in decline. Brands and agencies must move to a more integrated approach and put the creation of a seamless shopper-focused experience front and centre.

This means working to the same brand strategy to conceive the right type of customer-focused, problem solving content and strategically placing that content through owned, earned and paid media.

We must remember that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

#2 The rise of print
Rising like a phoenix from the ashes, old-school printed content is enjoying resurgence.

Airbnb recently partnered global publisher Hearst to launch Airbnbmag. Content for this 32-page twice-yearly magazine cleverly taps into the expertise of Airbnb hosts.

And later this year we’re expecting a ‘show-it-off-on-your-coffee-table’ magazine from creative social networking site, Ello. The new ‘Not for Print’ publication will feature work from 50 of the site’s talented community.

According to the Content Marketing Institute use of the print magazine tactic has been steady for the last couple of years. I expect we’ll see more brands follow the print content trend over the next few years as a way to stand out from the rest of the digital clutter.

#3 Ad blocking
There’s no getting away from the current panic around ad blocking, and it’s easy to see why.

Ad blocking matured in 2016. Experts at PageFair reported that at least 309 million people are blocking ads on mobiles.

Ad men and brands are scrutinising their content as consumers are turned off by intrusive, irrelevant ads elbowing-in on their private time and eating-up their data.

But let’s not over-hype. People have always blocked ads in some way. What’s important is that marketers focus on creating the right type of helpful, problem-solving, authentic and engaging content. And that it is delivered through the most appropriate channel.


Adam Tregaskis, Head of Retail, The Behaviours Agency


More expert opinion and data can be found in our ‘Future of Marketing’ report launching next week.