Immersive content has been hailed ‘the future of content marketing’ in a new study. Have you started exploring the benefits technologies like VR and AR can offer for your B2B strategies?

The future of content marketing? Immersive content 

Next year, immersive content such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality and 360 will account for a growing proportion of the content marketing space, states a new study conducted by Kaizen cited by TechRadar.

Immersive content is proven to significantly boost user engagement, due to its novelty and the interactive element of the experience. Here are some tech-specific stats: 

  • VR is a great way to showcase products and allow people to ‘try before they buy.’ It drives a 17% higher emotional response compared with 2D experiences, and people are 29% more likely to watch a video in VR than in its traditional format.
  • AR also helps to firmly root content in the user’s own life and unlike most VR content, there isn’t a need for specialist hardware. 88% of mid-market firms currently use some sort of AR within their strategies.
  • Mixed reality combines real-world experiences with the fantastical, and is set to be the next natural step for mobile devices. Spending across all three ‘realities’ peaked at £12.8bn last year, and this is predicted to increase to £143.3bn by 2020.
  • 360 allows users to explore stats or video content to a greater extent. A study by StoryUp VR found a 28.81% hike in viewing times for 360 videos compared to their fixed-frame counterparts.

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Only 30% of business buyers prefer to carry out individual research

The path to purchase for B2B buyers has become longer and deals increasingly complex, explains a Benzinga article reporting on Showpad’s global report, The New B2B Buyer Experience

The study shares interesting stats and insights on the B2B buyer experience – here are the highlights: 

  • The buyer journey is longer. 54% of respondents say their buying cycle has grown longer over the past year, with 22% reporting that it’s grown significantly. 
  • More decision-makers are involved. 25% say B2B purchasing involves over five decision-makers, one-third say one or two people are involved, and another third say three or four are involved. The number of stakeholders was found to rise along with purchase price. 
  • Content plays a pivotal role in the sales journey . 32% say they are unable to make a purchasing decision when information is too hard to find, 86% feel frustrated when there are over ten pieces of content to view, and 38% would use AR to accelerate the buying cycle.
  • The role of the modern seller. Buyers still want to interact directly with sales reps (38%) over doing their own research (30%), while 32% prefer a combination of research and conversations.

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Bridge attention gaps with short videos 

To appeal to consumers, advertising must achieve two things: it must entertain viewers, and inform them. But Harvard Business School professor, Thales Teixeira, argues that on social media, marketers don’t have time to do both. 

Exploring the subject some more, Business 2 Community explains how short videos that stick to one, key message will inspire viewers to understand what your brand is about, and in turn make them more likely to act on that knowledge later on. So, what’s the optimal video length? The article breaks it down by platform...

Snapchat: 8-10 seconds

A study from MediaRadar found the average Snapchat video length to be eight seconds, though some marketers made videos that lasted between three and five seconds. The World Wildlife Fund’s short-and-sweet video campaign, which performed particularly well, featured just one image accompanied by one line of text. 

Facebook: 10-30 seconds

Not long ago, videos lasting 30-60 seconds performed best, but this has shortened to 10-30 seconds. An important trick is to put your message at the start of the video; a study from Facebook and Nielsen uncovered that the majority of a video ad campaign’s impact was delivered in the first ten seconds of viewing. 

Instagram: 30 seconds or less/15 seconds or less 

First up, Instagram feed ads can be up to a minute, but the ads that perform best don’t last this long. HubSpot data revealed that 26 is the magic number if you want your ads to pack a punch. For Instagram stories ads, the maximum time is 15 seconds, though you can create a carousel of ads up to a minute (so four ads).