There is a substantial divide between top and bottom funnel content. While marketers can efficiently advertise bottom funnel content via PPC, display, and other online advertising mechanisms, these forms of advertising hold no reward for top of the funnel content such as blog posts, podcasts, and videos.
In a recent podcast, Relevance Co-Founder and VP of Audience, Chad Pollitt, predicts several ways this divide will be bridged in 2016.
The Crux of the Problem
Most of today’s content marketers rely on owned content (their own websites, blogs, and social media pages) to distribute top of the funnel content. They capitalize on earned media, to a limited extent, via social shares.
By in large, they miss out on distribution from paid media via native advertising and earned media from influencer promotion. These types of distribution are essential to brands that rely on vast numbers of top of the funnel conversions in order to eventually generate adequate numbers of conversions at the bottom, because owned media is no longer adequate for distributing top of the funnel content at scale. There is simply too much content out there, and too much competition for audience.
In 2016, these changes should help bridge the divide:.
Expected launch of the Google native advertising network
Native advertising looks like the publisher’s content on a website, but it is actually advertising. When you read an article on the Huffington Post, for example, you will see several recommended links under the article. Those links are courtesy of Gravity, which is the native advertising network of AOL, which owns Huffington Post. The article you read after you click the link is native advertising, just as a boosted post on Facebook is native advertising.
Google has had a native advertising syndication network in beta for more than a year. Once it launches, Google hopes it will make paid distribution of top of the funnel content, in the form of native advertising, a common practice among brands.
One of the stacks will acquire an influencer marketing platform
Influencer marketing platforms like BuzzSumo, Little Bird, and Group High help content marketers reach influencers and earn distribution. Marketing stacks such as Adobe, HubSpot, and Marketo put several marketing functions together in one stack.
Unfortunately, the two don’t talk to each other. Yet.
The marriage of marketing stacks and influencer platforms is a natural. Look for it to start happening in 2016. When it does, the stacks will be able to conquer yet another online marketing problem.
Look for improvement among content recommendation networks
Content recommendation networks publish links (often linked images) on content intensive websites. Quite often, the headline is nothing more than click bait, and the article rarely has any relevance to the content on the webpage.
Some content recommendation networks are making an effort to change that. Rev Content rejects 98% of the companies that approach them because of the low quality of the content, while another recommendation network, Inpowered, has dropped CPC altogether. They now measure the level of engagement on the linked content and charge by what they call CPE, cost per engagement.
As recommendation networks clean up their acts, or get replaced by those networks that have, brands will begin to use them more, and top of the funnel content will reach a larger and relevant audience.
Big Changes for 2016
These three improvements in the content distribution landscape, all expected to start happening in 2016, will help bridge the divide between high and low funnel content.
Chad discusses these and three more predictions for 2016 in the podcast. Take a listen and get ready for 2016.