We are now in a state of content overload. Something that is as much a problem for consumers as it is for brands trying to create a rewarding customer experience through content marketing.

This infographic by DOMO breaks down the amount of content published on the internet every minute; YouTube users upload 48 hours of video, Facebook users share 684,478 pieces of content, Instagram users share 3,600 new photos, and Tumblr sees 27,778 new posts published. These are sites many people around the world use on a regular basis, and will continue to use in the future. Not to mention all the other web 2.0 sites that have enabled individuals – as well brands – to become publishers.

To further exacerbate the problem for brands trying to make their content stand out – whether it be on billboards, newspapers, television or online – consumers are now more skillful than ever at ignoring irrelevant marketing messages. Each of us now has increasing control over what marketing we receive from brands; we can opt-out of telemarketing and direct-mail; unsubscribe from email; skip TV ads; and so forth.

The reason why interruptive marketing like this fails is because it invariably fails to take into account the context of each individual.

Context is all about understanding the unique interests and needs of each consumer at any given time. Context is especially critical in the discipline of content marketing; to cut through the content chaos and develop meaningful relationships with consumers, brands need to not only make and own original content that is relevant to the consumer and truly worthy of their time but also deliver it precisely at the right point so that the consumer will become curious enough to read it.

So how then can brands better understand their customer’s unique contexts to create a more relevant content-based experience?

In an attempt to make our marketing more contextually relevant, marketers have sought insight from every available data pool; demographic, transactional, behavioural and social. Each of these have their problems: I am more than my demographic – a generalisation based on my age bracket, postcode and, perhaps, also my income as well. I am more than the product I’ve bought – indeed, my historic buys are rarely indicative of my future purchases. Social media has been a boon for marketers who have sought to better understand consumers at both an aggregate and individual level, however that too is fraught with problems: our social profiles are rarely reflective of our actual realities, instead we have a tendency to portray, a more flattering, unrealistic ‘curated self’.

I believe the next step for marketers to gain a greater, more faithful understanding of individuals’ contexts will be through utilising content analytics to learn from their online content consumption.

Author Walter Mosley once said, “A man’s bookcase will tell you everything you’ll ever need to know about him”, and it with this in mind that brands are starting to see the value of understanding what customers are reading and engaging with online. By tracking consumer interactions as they browse and engage with content, brands can begin to reveal current and evolving interests, inclinations and needs — sometimes before the individual knows themselves!
Content analytics is the process of structuring previously unstructured content, by extracting new information. It is the process of measuring content. The output – the measurements – is in the form of metadata that describes that content. This can include the topics, people, places, companies and concepts in the content,sentiment towards aspects of the content, and the language of that content. This in turn means computers can track an individual’s interaction with a piece of content and collect and draw trends about that individual’s tastes and interests.

Practically speaking, this means that if you were browsing Rolling Stone online, content analytics would reveal if you were more interested in the topics “Kurt Cobain”, “Nirvana” and “grunge”, rather than topics such as “Craig David” and “UK Garage”. Or, if a major bank sent you an email featuring content around retirement, mortgages or car insurance – they could understand your current situation and needs based on whether you clicked on “Ten ways to decorate your first home” or “How to prepare for retirement”.

This is of real value for brands that are increasingly using content marketing as a means to engage prospective customers around their interests. Content analytics provides a way to make brand’s content marketing measurable, contextually appropriate and useful for insight.

Content marketing will only become meaningful and influence consumers to buy when it’s delivered in the right context. Fortunately, the technology now exists to provide marketers with more context than ever before so that they can create relevant and meaningful content-based experiences.

Jonny Rose is Product Evangelist for personalized content marketing software company, idio. idio believes that content consumption reveals an individual’s needs and interests and our technology enables brands to use this information to deliver relevant communications.

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Jonny Rose is Product Evangelist for personalized content marketing software company, idio. idio believes that content consumption reveals an individual’s needs and interests and our technology enables brands to use this information to deliver relevant communications.

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