This Month’s Hottest Content Marketing News – April 2016

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Welcome to April content fans! This month in our roundup of content marketing news we’re heading back to Westeros – pondering the much-debated changes to Instagram’s algorithm, the demise of traditional ads and the return of the promotional email along the way.


Instagram goes “pay to play”

Beloved photo-sharing app Instagram has updated its news-feed algorithm – and people are not happy about it. Instead of appearing in chronological order, posts will now be sorted based on the likelihood that the user will be interested in the content.

Instagram’s beauty lies in its simplicity and inclusiveness – given the right filter and the right content, everyone has the opportunity to become Instafamous. The new update essentially means that robots will decide what to show you and when, the way they already do on parent site Facebook. Good news for big brands, bad news for small fish.

While the general response has been widespread dissatisfaction, the CMI’s Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose believe that the move will open up some “fascinating opportunities” for companies willing to experiment, allowing them to create “unique content experiences.”

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Companies favouring content over ads

The content revolution is finally here. A new report by Rebecca Lib for Scribble Live has revealed that click-through rates on banner ads have hit rock bottom, 94% of online viewers skip pre-roll ads before five seconds have passed and 12% of display ads are never actually seen by human eyes.

All of this adds up to a shocking £12.7 billion of ad waste per year. Brands who haven’t before are being forced to rethink how they spend online. Money previously being thrown aimlessly at banner ads is slowly but surely starting to be redirected towards quality content

While this is great news for content lovers like us, it’s worth remembering that exceptional content is hard to come by. Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute believes the majority of big brands are unlikely to get it right for some time.

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Email is making a comeback

Don’t disregard email as a marketing tool just yet. Consumer research from Epsilon shows that 43% of millennials said they had been checking out retailers emails more often in the past six months (compared with 32% of other shoppers). Savvier than the average consumer, millennials are also using higher than average percentages of printable coupons, daily deals, and price comparison sites.

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Game of Content

Sky Atlantic has always been handy with branded content – past triumphs have included entire TV ad breaks of authentic 60s ads promoting the 2012 series of Mad Men and a giant hyperrealistic polar bear unleashed in London to promote 2015’s Fortitude.

It should come as no surprise that the network pulls out all the stops when it comes to promoting its biggest cash cow. This week saw a fake cover wrap used on the Metro newspaper to coincide with the release of the new series of Game of Thrones. Appearing as The Westeros Gazette, the paper featured spoof ads from the Seven Kingdoms, the Westeros weather forecast and even a missing persons notice for some of the characters.

The campaign was extended into Metro’s digital editions and was enhanced beautifully by an experiential campaign which brought live string quartets from the Urban Soul Orchestra to branded station concourses nationwide. No prizes for guessing the tune they were playing.

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