2020 has finally arrived, prompting media professionals everywhere to examine and test new industry trends. So how can one possibly predict which ones will help businesses grow and which ones will not? With so many budding media trends to sift through, be sure to keep this in mind: those that reel in, engage and retain consumers are the ones that will ultimately pay off in the long run.
“The race for consumers’ attention is becoming ever more competitive,” writes an industry expert in an International News Media Alliance article. “It’s increasingly important to be relevant to create a meaningful connection with an audience.”
In other words, audience engagement will be business-critical in 2020. In order to attract and engage consumers to your brand, understand and implement the fast-rising media trends below.
Over the past few years, consumer trust in media has taken a serious nosedive thanks to all the misinformation and fake news spreading around social media. But with revenue models moving towards subscription and membership-driven programs, trust between brands and audiences must be re-established.
As a result, journalists are beginning to put their audiences at the forefront of the content they produce, and even involve them in the content-production process. One media trend in particular known as engaged journalism — the process of building content with audience members — is picking up steam since it gives brands the opportunity to truly listen to and engage their audience members.
Solutions journalism has also been inching its way into 2020, which is where journalists go beyond covering a story by suggesting how to resolve the issues at hand. And with 57% of Americans expressing that reading news affects them in a negative way, solutions journalism could prevent audiences from becoming overwhelmed by your content.
Personalizing the User’s Experience
According to NiemanLab, first-party user data will become increasingly significant to media organizations in 2020. Brands will need to rely on the data they can scrape from their own platforms in order to identify audience appetites and trends.
Linsday Leaf, VP of experiential marketing for POPSUGAR, explains why her brand sees so much audience engagement: “We really listen to our audience — what they react to, what makes them tick and then we serve the trends, topics and experiences we know they crave.”
User data is also becoming more important now than ever before to video-streaming platforms. This data allows OTT platforms to serve up relevant content to their audiences, enhancing the user experience.
First-party data insights open up a world of opportunity to media organizations, including the ability to target meaningful content to known users, push highly engaged users to your paywall or send special offers to inactive subscribers about to churn.
Thanks to the GDPR and CCPA privacy laws, as well as the countless data breaches that have taken place online, your audience members want to know how their data will be used and handled.
Being open with your audience about how their data is being used will help them feel more comfortable to hand over their personal info. Reassure them even more by telling them exactly what kind of premium experience they’ll get in exchange for their data.
Investing in Audio Content
In 2019 alone, over half of Americans listened to a podcast, showing massive growth from 2018. Spotify also noted that its listeners have consumed almost 40% more podcasting hours compared to its last quarter. Clearly, audio content is catching on for media organizations.
Not only is audio equipment an extremely inexpensive investment, but FIASCO podcast host Leon Neyfakh also notes “that podcasting is a distinctly intimate medium, [where] people form a special connection to podcast hosts because they have us in their ears while they’re walking around and living their lives.”
That special connection between podcast host and listener is a solid way to build loyalty towards your brand.
2020 will be the year that video takes on a whole new meaning of the word ‘engaging.’ More specifically, media organizations have started incorporating interactive elements into their videos to fascinate viewers.
Take Netflix’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch film, for instance. The video-streaming platform tested this interactive movie in 2018, where viewers could influence the plot by making decisions for the film’s protagonist. After the film produced a successful response from its audience, Netflix announced that it’ll be “doubling down” on interactive video in the future.
Other media organizations are also testing out video content and ads that consumers are able to shop through. In these cases, eCommerce crosses over with media content to deepen audience engagement through a shoppable, content-viewing experience.
Staff as Influencers
From Buzzfeed, and Bon Apétite to a variety of podcast hosts, media staff from all walks of life will be upping their efforts to engage audience members directly in 2020. This includes staff members starring in regular videos, attending meet-and-greet events, running live chats and responding to user comments.
By creating a direct connection between audience and staff, brands are able to transform users into dedicated fans. Your audience is the lifeblood of your organization — this means that the most useful media trends in 2020 will consistently engage and monetize consumers.