The world of digital and content marketing has been experiencing a complete upheaval, owing to emerging technologies and the changing dynamics of consumer tastes and demands. Given such a turbulent and rapidly transforming environment, a pre-emptive, research-led overview of the expected trends would help organizations gain a foothold in this highly competitive domain. Here are the primary trends expected to dominate and shape the world of digital and content marketing in 2018.

Local Focal

Growth of regional content: Content in languages such as Telugu and Kannada will gain precedence, aided by the opportunities digitalization creates. Increased experimentation and cross-platform-sharing will allow original content to flourish, as customers are opening up to a wide variety of content in various languages and topics.

Regional content penetrating international viewer market: A vast, untapped market of non-residential Indian viewers are not catered to in the market. Capitalizing on this, regional content will soon be tailored to appeal to the nostalgia factor of the Indian diaspora, while it gains momentum in an unexplored competitive market.

Growth of foreign content: Foreign content has been making its way into the Indian market, with subtitled international shows finding audiences in Lucknow and Coimbatore, resulting in the growth of the market of the probable ‘subscription’. Dubbed international content, including Korean shows, have also become highly popular in the last few months, and will continue resulting in new market discoveries.

Exploration of new Indian markets: The content industry primarily focuses on select parts of the country, including the likes of Maharashtra, Karnataka and West Bengal. However, States such as Punjab, Odisha and Gujarat still remain untapped. Now, aided by the growing viewership, it will be become easier to tap into these markets as well as new ones.

Technology Transformation

Customized content: There is a fast-growing trend of brands deploying data to personalize creative messaging and leveraging the right metric to predict the behavior.

Advancements in technology have helped make getting to know a consumer a lot easier. Content marketing businesses have already started catering to the specific tastes and preferences of customers on a mass scale. The year 2018 will see customized bespoke content being offered on a large scale.

Large-scale production of content on digital streaming platforms: The emergence of Firesticks, dongles, and other internet video content devices has allowed shows such as Game of Thrones to push the boundaries of television shows. Indian originals will soon pick up speed as well. The underwater shots and locales used in the Everest – IcanYouCan campaign by Nicotex is a clear indicator of the increase in the potential marketability of the platform.

Sponsorship to Partnerships

Increase in collaboration and partnership models: The growth of the content industry has led to a shift from sponsorships towards partnerships. Advertisers and investors will soon start partnering with platforms to create sustainable long-term IPs, while the increased experimentation will lead to a rise in investments in the segment.

Content as currency: ROI will move beyond views and reach redefining engagement. Only a small percent of marketers can link their content to incoming revenue, and the majority of them struggle to prove the content’s impact on their business. The right metrics should move from output to outcome.

OTT 2.0

Sharper OTT: Over-the-top media, distributed through online streaming services, are still categorized on broad levels such as drama, comedy and thriller. This will give way to more precise targeting of customers, based on narrower sub-genres such as friendship, cricket, police shows, defining what they stand for and specializing in the same, in terms of positioning, genres, and audiences.

Original long-format movies in OTT: Several high-quality indie movies, documentaries, and shows face difficulty in garnering attention because of the dominance of big blockbusters. However, now, owing to the opportunities provided by the digital and OTT formats, they will be able to efficiently leverage the full potential of the platform. We will witness a trend of OTT movie-first here as well. – The Hindu Business Line