In 1997, Bill Gates famously said "content is king." Now, almost 20 years later, the digital marketing world is still scrambling to fulfill this promise, as it shifts its focus to what consumers really want from brands: engagement. Brands are spending billions to create unique content for their marketing efforts, everything from social media channels, YouTube videos and blogs, which all require constant content updating for continued user engagement.
The task of producing all this branded material is evolving with the added necessity of getting this content in front of the right audience. While that audience may vary in taste and demographic from brand to brand, one characteristic is constant across audiences today — they’re digitally savvy and addicted to their mobile devices. In fact, in a Pew Research survey of American adults found that 29 percent of respondents rated their mobile device as something “they can’t imagine living without.”
Today’s tech-addicted consumers are always looking for the next digital convenience that will simplify their lives, while also entertaining them. One exciting new mobile trend that consumers are craving for is shoppable content.
What is Shoppable Content?
Shoppable content is an innovative way for brands to offer consumers direct links to purchase items featured in their content. With shoppable content, marketers can deliver a more engaging mobile experience that directly affects purchases and, therefore, results in a higher return on investment on the content they're investing so heavily in.
For example, a luxury retailer produces high-quality, branded content, including a Twitter account, Instagram feed and fashion blog that all feature pieces of their collection, but it has no way to effectively monetize them on mobile. Shoppable content provides a new way for customers to have instant access to their shopping cart, without having to visit a separate site to make a purchase. The more steps you can eliminate for consumers, the less likely they are to get sidestepped from clicking to make that final purchase. You can think of it in terms of the customer journey. The more interactive and engaging you make it, with the least forks in the road to detour decisions, the quicker the customer can get to their destination — ultimately making for a fun trip, and a happy customer.
Every Moment is Mobile
We can all agree that the platform most responsible for the forward momentum of e-commerce is mobile. In fact, a recent Gartner survey reported that mobile commerce currently generates 22 percent of digital commerce revenue, and by 2017, that number is predicted to jump to 50 percent.
Today, retailers know that they need to not only include mobile strategies in their marketing plans, but they also need to follow best practices to keep them ahead of their competitors in the ever-evolving digital landscape. With this in mind, a mobile content marketing strategy that includes shoppable content tactics intuitively go hand-in-hand.
Get Around the Roadblocks
There's a constant buzz in the marketing industry around ad blockers. In fact, globally the number of people using ad blocking software increased by 41 percent from 2014. For brand marketers, this remains a huge obstacle. The good news is that there are options to get around the roadblocks. By embracing mobile content marketing and directly delivering consumers the customized content they want, brands no longer have to buy pop-up ads and banners to get noticed.
Shoppable content benefits brands and mobile consumers by providing a targeted customer journey and enabling a relevant, personalized experience that caters to their individual tastes. This greatly improves the time spent on their smartphones by alleviating the tedious task of swiping through a variety of mobile apps to reach all of the brand’s relevant content. Shoppable content paves the way for brands to leverage the content they’ve already created and generate higher sales. By incorporating shoppable content, brands are reducing the amount of clicks it takes for a consumer to go from their content to making a purchase.
Content marketing spending is projected to hit $313.42 billion by 2019. The brand pioneers that incorporate shoppable content into their mobile marketing strategy will see not only a rise in customers and sales, but will also gain a competitive advantage. The time to transform is now.
Marla Schimke is the vice president of marketing at Zumobi, a mobile content marketing solutions provider.
Related story: Content and the Mobile Shopping Journey