First, a word on bingeing. Many people associate bingeing as the way viewers stream video services such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, and YouTube to watch multiple pieces of episodic content in a single sitting. But the truth is, bingeing behavior isn’t limited to streaming entertainment. The vast majority of B2B buyers—93%—want bundled, bingeable content, according to a 2016 content preference survey. And if we think about the way B2B buyers buy, this makes a lot of sense. With buyers now conducting their own buying journeys digitally through self-directed learning, long gone are the days where B2B buying was about a series of sales meetings and phone calls. Whether buyers are in a passive or active buying mode, they research a particular product or solution for a period of time, trying to gather as much information about categories and vendors as they can, to move forward in the buying process quickly and effectively.
Despite the way most marketing programs are set up, buyers don’t wait for weekly emails from vendors to do research (although weekly emails may trigger the bingeing process, and thus remain a useful communication tool). Instead, buyers block off a period of time to conduct research and analysis. In the same way that streaming video providers keep feeding their users relevant content as soon as one video has ended, it’s the job of vendors and brands to feed their prospects as much relevant content as they can while a prospect is actively researching. This tactic allows the prospect to binge on content for extended periods of time with little or no friction—as easily as you would binge-watch an entire season of your favorite show. It’s essential that B2B brands build content journeys that allow their buyers to binge on their content.
Three things to remember:
1. We want prospects to binge with a purpose. If we think about why Netflix encourages bingeing, it’s not really because they want their users to stay up all night and watch the latest series. They want their customers to spend all of their viewing time on Netflix, and not go to another streaming service or, even worse, back to the cable provider whose cord they just cut. Bingeing, for Netflix, leads to loyal customers. Similarly, B2B companies should ensure that their prospects’ bingeing behavior moves this prospect further along their buying cycle.
2. You must optimize your content. Prospects won’t binge for the sake of bingeing. They need to perceive value, which means high-quality content that keeps them wanting more and progressing in their journey. Keep content relevant and make it available in multiple formats. A long, in-depth piece is great to establish a position on an issue and support the brand above the funnel, but you shouldn’t rely on it alone. It should be part of a portfolio of content that spans from longer deep-dives to snackable atomized pieces.
3. Don’t forget to optimize your scoring. If a prospect starts to engage heavily with your content in a short period of time, this is likely a sign that they are in research mode. This signals active buying behavior and you should score it as such. Scoring people higher for multiple actions in a short period of time is called velocity scoring. Many organizations degrade scoring for lack of actions over time, but they don’t increase scores for the opposite behavior.
How to optimize your marketing for bingeing
Plan and build content journeys. To build a bingeable journey, map content touch-points across multiple channels into your buyer journey for a given target buyer and identifying linkages between them. Linking strategies should identify clear next steps for buyers, so it’s easy and obvious for them to take the next action. Make sure that there are no dead ends and only one or two paths a prospect can take. TIP: Most journeys will end with “contact sales” or a free trial. In these cases, offer a subscription to blogs for tips, tricks and thought leadership while they wait for a call back or experiment with your software.
Recommended next content. Recommend next pieces of content when someone is nearly finished or finished consuming content. You can do this using various channels:
- Web Pages – on scroll, recommend a next piece of content
- Videos – auto-play next content piece
- Webinars – offer a report, video, free trial or phone call at the end of the webinar
- Blog – recommend next blog post
TIP: Timing is important. Recommend content when a prospect is at least 75% through the content. Avoid distracting them too early with content they may not yet see as relevant. Netflix offers a great model for this: keep in mind how Netflix recommends content automatically once you’ve reached the credits of the current show and counts down to the next episode.
Package content. In our content preference survey, 93% prospects say they want packaged content. Experiment with packaged offers containing two or three pieces of content.
Don’t interrupt the bingeing process. Minimize the number of gates you use. As a rule, gate 20% of early content and 50% of midstage content. Use hidden forms and form prefills if you have prospects’ contact information. Investigate lightweight gating that prospects can ignore if they aren’t ready to provide contact information or don’t want to interrupt their content consumption. TIP: Resume the bingeing process where the prospect last ended it. The bingeing process very well may be interrupted, but you want to make the experience as seamless as possible for the user to pick up where they left off.
Thank you pages with next piece of content. Keep the conversation going even when someone has downloaded a gated piece of content with additional related content recommendations.
Monitor your page load times and browser testing. These tasks often get overlooked, but you may be surprised at how often landing pages don’t render correctly in major browsers or take too long to load. Slow-loading content or degraded resolution will disrupt the bingeing process. Pages that load within two seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%, while pages that take five seconds to load have a bounce rate of 38% (Pingdom).
Experiment with AI and content recommendations. Several personalization platforms and web CMS provide recommendation functionality based on past user behaviours. These tools continuously learn and optimize for you, and can help support bingeing while reducing manual work.
Platforms that can help you
Before continuing onto your next piece of content, consider the platform PathFactory. They’ll take your content, personalize the experience for each of your buyers, and tell you exactly how they engage.