When the digital marketing age first dawned, most companies started out their digitized efforts by focusing on things like building websites for their companies, learning how to use analytics, creating digital and social media ads, and figuring out how to rank in search engine results.
Little by little, companies and marketers became more and more digitally savvy. But as their own marketing efforts evolved, so did search engine algorithms — and more importantly, so did the way audiences consume marketing content. Because companies have turned to flooding their audiences with digital ads and popups to create income, consumers have become increasingly resistant to these ads, now finding ways to avoid them altogether.
Around 30% of all internet users are now using ad blockers to remove pesky ads from the websites they peruse — and a large number of those users are younger generations. According to a Deloitte Global survey, more than 17% of consumers ages 18-34 block ads in four or more categories. This means that today’s largest consumer audiences — Gen Z and millennials — probably aren’t even seeing most ads targeted directly toward them.
And so companies large and small began to realize that their audiences no longer wanted loud, in-your-face marketing — they wanted real, authentic and helpful content. This led Google to push companies to create more of this content: In August of 2018, Google turned content marketing into a priority for companies that wanted to improve their digital marketing efforts by creating what marketers now call the E-A-T algorithm update.
The new algorithm completely changed how Google ranked websites in search results, focusing on three core components: Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (hence the E-A-T nickname). By successfully implementing all three concepts into a website, companies can start to improve their SEM rankings within Google.
The expertise component can be achieved through thought leadership efforts, such as being referenced or linked to in news articles. The authoritativeness component can be realized through consistent user reviews and mentions, and the final component, trustworthiness, is accomplished often by posting blogs or FAQs filled with relevant information about your industry and brand.
This algorithm change, combined with the knowledge that consumers want genuine content rather than ads, led marketers to embrace the fact that in 2019, content is king. Blogs, FAQ pages, e-books and white papers all became crucial parts of every company’s website in an effort to master the E-A-T algorithm and provide consumers with the content they crave.
But now, people don’t just want content to read — they want content in the form of videos. Video’s popularity has exploded in recent years: Now, more than 250 million hours of videos are watched each day on YouTube, and it has become the new format of choice for younger Americans: According to a survey conducted by the nonprofit Common Sense Media, the next generation of teen and tween consumers have doubled the amount of time they spend watching online videos every day since 2015.
The piles of statistics and studies across the web go on and on, proving just how much people around the world are embracing video. Now, it’s up to marketers to make sure they’re creating video content in a way that keeps their audiences coming back for more.
One key way of doing this is by making sure all videos have closed captions, no matter the platform. In fact, more people are choosing to watch videos without sound than ever before — a whopping 85% of Facebook videos are now watched without sound. So, not only does offering subtitles on your videos show consumers with hearing disabilities that they are of value to your brand, but it also helps you keep up with multitasking audiences who now prefer closed captioning over sound.
Creating videos for the homepage of your website can also be key to converting leads: A study found that the average internet user spends 88% more time on a website with video — a statistic that no marketer can afford to ignore in a world where the bounce rate of any given website visitor is faster than you can say, “But wait — there’s more!”
Website videos can include tons of content, whether it’s an introduction to your team or an overview of your products and services. However you decide to create a video, having one prominently displayed on your homepage is necessary for today’s marketing climate. I learned this firsthand after creating a video for my own agency’s website — shortly after embedding a descriptive video at the top of our homepage, I noticed that not only did the visitor bounce rate decrease, but our actual conversions increased as well. It was amazing to see how such a seemingly simple step could make a real impact on the business.
Finally, I’d recommend sharing short, snappy videos across social media platforms. This can help to build a strong connection with your audience and thus increase audience engagement rates. These can be funny, behind-the-scenes shots of everyday company life, FAQs answered in video form, client tutorials, or quick service and product overviews. Rather than simply scrolling through more text in a sea of text-only posts, videos are an easy way to catch your prospects’ attention so they can truly engage with your content like never before.
Younger generations of consumers like millennials and Gen Zers crave authentic content — and now, they crave it in video format. For companies and marketers who want to keep up with the rapidly evolving digital marketing arena, it will be crucial to subscribe to this new model of video content on every level.