Creative Content Trends for 2022 & Beyond

In-housing is becoming a mainstream strategy for brands as marketing models continue to evolve, according to a new report by We Are Amnet. Many brands are reshaping how they produce and deliver content to achieve the best results at the lowest cost.

The State of the Industry: Producing Creative Content Now and in The Future looks at the potential of internal agencies and the future of in-housing. The findings show how quickly the in-house model is maturing to face the challenge of producing consistent, personalized and engaging content at scale. And it’s no small feat, since the average consumer uses eight social networks or messaging apps a day.

The in-house agency model examined

The report finds that the perceived challenges to in-housing are mainly operational. Workflow, prioritizing projects, and expanding capabilities scored the highest among the challenges respondents face. Some teams are also concerned that a lack of outside perspective can negatively impact creativity.

These issues don’t seem to outweigh the benefits experienced by most organizations who’ve made the leap, however, or their satisfaction with the outcomes. Eighty-seven percent of respondents were happy with the in-housing model, with the majority citing increased brand knowledge, better integration, and up to 30 percent cost savings.

Content at scale is critical but how it’s produced is changing

One of the most telling findings was that 70 percent of people prefer to receive information about a company from articles rather than ads, with 80 percent appreciating when that content is customized. Producing content at scale across multiple channels is the new marketing keystone, with content marketing spend now surpassing $42 billion.

The future of content will be steered by increased digitalization. Many content producers adopted digital-first strategies to survive the recent pandemic, and some agencies that lagged behind this trend have disappeared. With the pace of technological change sometimes moving quicker than agencies can keep up, the use of digital transformation agencies is on the rise.

We Are Amnet’s report also suggests not just a continuation of the evolution of the methods of content production, but changes in the messages themselves. Customer retention is likely to be a key focus of content, with producers leveraging tech to deliver messages one-to-one through, for example, Augmented Reality (AR).

Such an approach requires data-driven content, so the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for data analysis and predicting customer behavior is likely to surge. Content marketers will keep applying best practices like SEO for as long as they can. But given a 70 percent preference for info over ads, brands have also begun adjusting their messages to position themselves as authorities in their fields, focused on the needs of the customers.

How much do brands spend on production?

No industry has been immune to marketing budget cuts, despite that $42B overall spend figure. We Are Amnet’s report finds that while there was confidence in 2020 that budgets would quickly rebound to pre-pandemic levels, this has not been the case. What money is available is being reallocated to social marketing, SEO and digital marketing as CMOs race to keep up with digital tech advances.

What’s on the agenda for 2022 and beyond?

Producing personalized content at scale in increasingly complex, highly interactive digital channels points to an increased decoupling of what have always been regarded as highly specialist functions. With AI and AR on the rise and the hard sell increasingly ineffective, brands are jostling to position themselves as sector experts—and using every piece of tech at their disposal to do so.

Download the full report from We Are Amnet, a global production studio and IHAF supplier member.

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