The Rise of Trust Content

by | Jan 27, 2016

trust content It’s 2016 and you’re doing lots of assessments. What happened in 2015? What is going to happen in 2016? What social network is dead? What new snazzy Snap this or Peach that is something you need to take seriously? As we build the content agenda for the next Social Fresh Conference, we hear these questions constantly. What trends matter? Which ones don’t? The hard truth? Some of these questions just get in the way. The underlying movement that causes trends is more important. Trends are a starting place for a deeper conversation about what marketers and more importantly, what customers, are up to. How their behavior is changing.

The Big Trends

These are the big digital marketing trends in 2015 that got the most attention:

  • A new surge in podcasting by businesses
  • Livestreaming (Meerkat, Periscope, Blab, Facebook Live)
  • Snapchat started to see a growth in brand accounts
  • Facebook went big with video
  • Long form content became more important to businesses

People are investing in these digital marketing trends because of one word: Trust. Collectively I call these trends Trust Content.

trust content defined

n. Media that allows you to spend more time and more meaningful moments with an audience.

All of these topics fall under the headline of Trust Content. If we take a step back, we see this is a response to two problems that, as marketers, we have created ourselves.

The Causes

Trust Content is a response to the consumer’s lack of time and also the lack of trust in advertising and content.
1. Saturation
Welcome to the apocalypse of content saturation.

People now consume 11 hours of content a day (source)

That’s 2/3s of our day Facebooking, Huluing, DVRing, Netflixing, Snapchatting, Tweeting, reading newspapers (ok, maybe not that last one). In the 1920s, we consumed about 2 hours or less of content each day
(If that number goes much higher, we are going to have to stop sleeping. Just kidding, who sleeps anymore?)
Marketing messages have become more targeted and more frequent.
We’ve gotten really good at the SMALL stuff. Squeezing a few seconds of your attention to read a Tweet. Micro-content. Interruptions. Getting through to a person passively watching Netflix.
Even digital video and TV commercial success is now measured in seconds.
2. No Trust
People do not trust advertising.

84% of millennials don’t trust advertising (source)

And a lot of our content, tweets, videos, images, look like advertising. Especially to millennials.
There is a trust gap. Often media content is very polished, overly produced, impersonal, and sales focused. It has an agenda that has become very clear to Millennials.
Younger internet users are flocking to chat apps or closed social networks without brands and without ads.
Millennials lead the way, but all age groups are trusting advertising less and less.

The Solution

Trust Content is the solution.
Think about the people you trust most. Family, best friends, coworkers, roommates (I hope). You spend a significant amount with these people. You have tons of shared experiences.
The trends I mentioned before — podcasting, Snapchat, livestreaming, Facebook video, long-form — are perfect vehicles for spending more time with your audience. More meaningful time.
Let’s compare Tweets and blog posts to podcasting and livestreaming.
Today we’re lucky if anyone sees our Tweets, and when they do, they get a few seconds of attention. Blog posts garner more attention, but not by much. Most blog posts average 30-60 seconds of attention, a few minutes if we do really well.
Podcasts and livestreaming engage audiences for 10, 20, and sometimes 60 minutes or more at a time. Talk about valuable time with the consumer!
Smart businesses are moving past the scale of getting the most fans, followers, and impressions and working on building trust.


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