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‘The era of content going viral is over’

The era of brands relying on content going viral and giving advertisers a free kick is coming to an end, with content distribution channels the key to the future of connecting audiences with branded content, claims a new report into the local landscape.

Air New Zealand has moved to an always on branded content strategy

Air New Zealand has moved to an ‘always on’ branded content strategy

The 2016 Best of Branded Content Marketing Report said the budgets for branded content would continue to increase, but that brands needed to invest in getting their content seen rather than simply relying on audiences to share it organically.

“Going viral is a thing of the past,” the report said.

“More brands will create and develop their own content platforms, which has the added benefit of aligning internal business silos. However, with technological changes, algorithms now decide what content holds someone’s attention for how long, so there is also a rise in distributed publishing where the publisher no longer cares where the content is consumed, so long as it is.”

The report also predicts that the rise in investment in experiential channels now underway in the US is also likely to play out in Australia.

At the same time, the traditional metric of reach, which has been the standard measure of success, is being eclipsed by distribution and success in the social space.

“Branded content will be tailored to advocates,” the report predicts.

“Monitoring where content goes online and how people react to it is a growing area of focus.”

Adam Ferrier, global chief strategy officer at Cummins & Partners, said the ability for work to go viral was dwindling.

“The work led by Dr Karen Nelson-Field shows that branded entertainment spreading purely organically via being shared is still extremely rare,” Ferrier said.

“It’s tough for things to go viral. There’s a lot of branded entertainment out there that’s very high on the former and very low on the latter – and that starts to look and smell a lot like advertising.”

The report goes on to list five key trends in Australasian content marketing, including the explosion of ‘always on’ content strategies as brands move away from scheduled campaigns, the increase in social media collaborations, the rise in the use of low cost and fictitious content and the push to use emotive storytelling rather than simply parroting brand messages.

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