Data Shaping Content Marketing

Date:   Wednesday , February 01, 2017

Yahoo (NasdaqGS: YHOO) is an U.S. based multinational technology company and is known to be one of the pioneer websites in the internet era. Through its web portal, the company enables users to search information on the internet (Yahoo! Search), send emails (Yahoo! Mail), read global news across different genres (Yahoo! News), and get finance related information (Yahoo! Finance).

From email to online shopping, text messages to tweets, photo sharing to following celebrities, collaborating on work or engaging with communities around the world - we end up generating tons of mobile data every single day. The extensive data sets from our online life creates the most comprehensive user profiles and the clearest signals of interest and intent that can be used to benefit both the users and the brands. According to Industry estimates, every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data, and this is at an accelerating rate as 90 percent of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone.

It is therefore not surprising that data analytics has emerged as the biggest enabler in understanding the user. However, the focus has now evolved from the data that is generated to how it is classified and analyzed. Only through the latter do we get information and insights that are useful to brands.

Data is incredibly important for brands today, as the competition for the user\'s attention and engagement has moved from the real-world marketplace to the mobile marketplace. At its core, content marketing is successful when you can give the users content they want or need. Content strategy needs to be powered by relevance and context - both of which can be determined by data insights. By utilizing vast amounts of data at hand, publishers have the ability to define a more holistic picture of the user and what they are interested in. This can inform the brand\'s message and creative which would lead to crafting stories far more relevant to user\'s interests.

The abundance of data and targeting capabilities publishers have built up can help advertisers with the insights needed to successfully reach their customers with the products and messages they\'re most likely to relate to. For example, when Accenture and Yahoo join hands each year for Innovation Jockeys, we tap into the zeitgeist and our data insights to create content that strikes a chord with students who want to drive a positive change in society. This year\'s stories highlighted how innovations can fight corruption, empower women and create a digital India. Inspired students submitted over 3,500 innovations to the competition, further earning a social reach for the initiative.

When brands successfully weave in content marketing with data insights, it is indeed a win-win for them and audiences. Here is a quick look at how data powers content marketing for brands:

Being Contextually Relevant by Cutting through the Clutter

Surfing through tons of content which is not relevant is a frustrating experience for the consumer. As brands turn to publishers, their content strategy needs to be powered by relevance and consent - both of which can be determined by data insights.

Responding Fast by Focusing on Two-Way Easy Communication

Social media has given a voice to consumers, so much so that any dissatisfaction with a product, service or an endorsement gets immediate negative feedback. Brands need to have analytics and tracking tools that surface these instances as soon as possible, and with as much coherence, so that they can shape their responses better.

Being Sensitive to Local Issues

With leaner teams and centralized ways of messaging, sometimes, social media campaigns can lose sight of local issues. For example, a message of condolence in a certain market, which has been subject to a terror attack, cannot be followed by promotional content. Brands need to bring-in data which helps them track and engage with local issues as players with more skin in the game, than only sellers of goods and services.

Personalization: Focusing on \"What\'s in it for me?\"

Content by nature is effective when it is customized to the consumer, context and screen. The mobile screen is an intimate interaction for the user, which needs to be personalized - in tone, content and format. In a recent white paper, Yahoo cited that content personalization represents the fulcrum balancing the consumer \'need to know\' with their \'want to know\'. 78 percent of consumers told Yahoo that they want some degree of personalization, with 62 percent preferring a mix of algorithmic and curated content.

Video Content Marketing: A Rising Trend

With videos, brands can easily communicate their story, build relationships with prospects & customers and explain the value proposition more effectively.

At the end of the day, content marketing is all about contextual relevance. The consumer is likely to want content which tells them how a brand can specifically help them. We at Yahoo believe that data and insights are critical components to an effective content marketing strategy. We have 165 billion data points across search, communication and content consumption. From that information, we can gain people\'s interest, the things they do, the things they buy and we use those insights to help form smart creative content marketing strategies.

Compelling content is a powerful magnet that can draw in audience to not only consume, but also initiate conversations with the brand. This has led to content marketing emerging as a powerful tool for digital marketers to generate a deeper engagement with audiences, and also to reach new consumers.