According to eMarketer, nearly 132 million American adults interact with unrelated content while watching TV, while an additional 46 million consume content related to what they are watching. Consumers spend less than a minute on any given website. Mobile, where short is the name of the game, is responsible for 56% of internet traffic.
Meanwhile, brands are fighting harder than ever to attract and retain consumer attention – even as attention spans continue to shrink. Getting through to an increasingly distracted audience requires a strategy backed by the concept of “content snacking”: delivering small, highly relevant nuggets of information that can be consumed on the go.
Here are four tips for making content more snackable.
Add multimedia in multiple formats
GIFs are of the best example of snackable content that has emerged over the past few years.
Clever marketers are creating GIFs that connect with consumers’ emotions, which make them a shareable utility as opposed to an ad.
“GIFs are an economical way for consumers to express their moods, and smart brands are creating GIFs as a utility for that purpose, making these shareable personal expressions and not just a six-second video,” said Quynh Mai, founder of Moving Image & Content.
There’s a world of snacking possibilities beyond just GIFs. Creating content in multiple formats will help you reach consumers in whatever way is most convenient for them.
Text-based content is the easiest to produce but not always the most effective. Instead, consider creating easy-to-digest charts, infographics, audio, video, or even live video content.
Remember, too, to always tie your content back to your audience. The type of content that works best depends on who your brand is trying to reach. Millennials, for example, are more likely to connect with a funny meme, while baby boomers may be more interested in a data-rich infographic.
When creating text-based content, make it easy to skim. Rather than deliver a wall of text, use bold formatting, numbered lists, and clear, easy-to-understand language to get the message across.
Deliver value to create repeat customers
It’s not enough to deliver a funny meme or GIF and call it a day, particularly if the delivery is disruptive. To create more snackable content, it’s critical that your content is useful. Bombarding consumers with irrelevant marketing messages is like forcing them to eat their vegetables: Sure, you’re putting the broccoli in front of them, but is that really the best way to promote healthy eating habits?
According to research from Google, 51% of smartphone users indicated that they’ve changed a purchasing decision simply because one brand proved itself useful, and 73% of general consumers said useful information was their main deciding factor when choosing a brand.
Sephora is a great example. Last year, the company rolled out a mobile-optimized skincare quiz through an email campaign. After consumers answered a series of short questions regarding their skin types, the quiz delivered a tailored list of products suited to their concerns and needs.
The brand even utilized a GIF that walked consumers through the quiz. Not only did Sephora turn its audience from passive consumers into active participants, but it also delivered personalized recommendations that could inform future buying decisions.
Bottom line: Make it “thumb-worthy.”
Cater to various consumption habits
Different consumers consume content in different ways, so your strategy should be adjusted to deliver on various preferences.
For example, consider allowing audiences to save content for later consumption. Rather than limiting engagement to users who are ready to interact in the moment, integrate content with tools such as Flipboard, Pocket, or Feedly to enhance accessibility and boost user engagement. On top of that, double down on accessibility. Include closed captions on videos for those who might want to watch but not listen, and create audio versions of long-form text content for those who prefer to listen rather than read.
Look for ways to refine content strategy to make it easy for consumers to find your brand. Make sure content is optimized for search engines, including image search, mobile search, and voice search. Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are growing in popularity, and by 2020, Gartner predicts that 30% of browsing will be conducted via voice.
For snackable content to be truly convenient, host it all in one place. Audience members should be able to easily find your brand, regardless of where they peruse. Maximizing content amplification early, such as during the first three days following publication, is critical to long-term visibility
Consider your brand’s owned media, which includes promoting content via its website, email list, blog, and social media pages. Then, work on earning mentions from credible third parties like industry blogs, independent media publishers, Reddit users, or social media influencers. Content creators and PR teams should coordinate their efforts to find effective third-party partners.
Continue distributing content as long as it’s relevant. Breathe new life into older, evergreen pieces of content when there is a surge in relevancy or interest. Use A/B testing to determine what headlines attract the most clicks.
With so much content swirling around the internet these days, the competition for consumers’ eyes is fiercer than ever. Brands can’t rely on long-form blog posts – that’s just not realistic. They need to adjust their delivery methods to cater to consumers’ cravings for bite-sized pieces of content. If your brand can succeed at that now, it will be able to connect with users more effectively as their consumption habits continue to evolve.