Content marketing distributors confirm trend to visual media

Digital marketing trends for 2016 look set to continue the long-predicted shift toward visual and audio/visual media. Figures for 2015 compiled by Lionbridge for the Content Marketing Institute and eMarketer show a significant increase in the use of visually-based social media for the distribution and promotion of content.

In particular the survey indicates that the proportion of content marketers using Instagram has almost doubled from 2013 – by far the biggest proportional increase. While some of this reflects consolidation within social media the bulk of the increase, as this blog predicted some time ago, is also because of the major brands now regarding Instagram as a serious and effective channel for brand promotion alongside the growth of the network under the ownership of Facebook since 2012. Go behind the figures, however, and an even more fundamental trend is pushing these figures. Instagram has always been primarily a mobile medium. It’s no surprise then that it should grow and be seen as more important by marketers as mobile devices account for an ever larger share of internet access.


The continued growth in the use of YouTube and, to a lesser extent Vimeo is in line with the desire to engage through video content. However, while more people are using video there remain serious questions about how well they are using the medium. The overwhelming majority of self-produced video content deployed on the internet remains virtually unwatchable. Webinars have the same problem. The significant growth in SlideShare – acquired by LinkedIn some time ago is hardly surprising. Sticking to the devil you know, the PowerPoint deck, offers an achievable means of distributing content with a minimal learning curve. Pinterest, where the user really needs to search and seek out content rather than have it offered on a feed, offers a more haphazard channel an one that seems altogether more difficult to measure – as marketers seem to be discovering. Pinterest seems set to remain ‘niche’.

As for the other networks, the level of use of Twitter and Facebook means there is only one way to go – and we should expect a decline at some point as marketers, still experimenting with social media refine their mix of channels. Google plus, however, continues to grow despite its change in direction, its usefulness in assisting search being central to its appeal. However Public Impact’s experience talking to businesses using social media in Newcastle upon Tyne and in Berkshire suggests that there is a long way to go before UK businesses and not for profit organisations use content marketing and social media marketing to their full potential.

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