Content Marketing in Germany

Approaching A New Market

 

This article is written from our own experiences in utilising content marketing extensively in Germany, and how the German culture can impact the way you approach marketing your product or service.

Throughout Europe, Germany is perhaps one of the most attractive markets for businesses to move into when expanding, and it’s not hard to see why with the largest economy, largest population and stable economic growth (1.7% in 2016).

Despite the attractive economical statistics, Germany is behind in terms of digitalisation. According to a report published by the European Commission, Germany ranks 10th in Europe in terms of digitalisation. This can be seen in the countries use of social media, over 85% of all Germans are online, but only half of those are using social media platforms; this could be due to the countries aging population, with the average age being 45.9 as of 2015.

Every country is different, and as such, you should always modify your content marketing strategy when expanding into new markets to avoid any costly cultural errors.

1. Content Needs To Be Both Mobile & Data Friendly

Many German companies are restrictive on the websites their employees can visit, with social media sites being prohibited regularly in the workplace. This could be a reason why Germany is reliant on mobiles (74% of the population use a smartphone).

On top of that, data plans for mobiles are quite expensive in comparison to other European countries, meaning Germans are typically more conservative with their data usage. As a result, data-heavy content such as videos should be put on the back burner in favour of lighter content; at least until you establish yourself as a thought-leader in your industry.

The first step in creating a mobile-friendly campaign is to ensure that your website is fully optimised for mobile (bonus points for German localisation). If you haven’t done this already then now is a great opportunity; the whole world is going increasingly mobile, not just in Germany.

Some of the best practices for mobile-friendly content that we’ve picked up:

  • Create short but attention-grabbing headlines
  • Keep paragraphs short enough that readers can easily skim the content.
  • Imagery is important, but don’t over-do it
  • Avoid using pop up calls to action that block content

These best practices should give you a good basis for creating content that is easily consumable, quickly and isn’t intrusive.

2. In The Social Media World Facebook Reigns Supreme

Whilst Germany’s ageing population means their social media usage is lower than in most other developed countries, you definitely shouldn’t be ignoring it in your marketing campaigns. 80% of all German millennials use some form of social media, typically Facebook.

Facebook dominates the social media market in Germany with over a 90% share. That equates to 27 million German users. As a result, this is where the majority of your social media attention should be focused. Whilst this is the case now, this could change in coming years as younger social media users are flocking to Instagram over Facebook. The key to any content marketing campaign is to be proactive, if you see your audience heading over to a new platform in droves, switch your attention to there.

For more B2B campaigns, the professional social media sites could be more fruitful for your content marketing strategy. In Germany there are two that are pretty much equal; Xing.com and LinkedIn. Xing was originally the bigger site, originating in Germany, although LinkedIn has now all but caught up to it’s competitor. We recommend testing the waters to see which platform offers you the best results.

3. Your Audience Expects Authenticity & Credibility

Whilst all markets will expect your content to be authentic and credible, we’ve found that Germans place a lot of value in content that is adds value and is credible. If you’re not being honest, they will stop viewing your content and find someone else.

In order to build your credibility, we recommend creating content that has hard facts and data to back it up. Data-driven content, case studies and customer success stories work exceptionally well in Germany as they show your audience that you are authentic and credible.

This is also the case with personal information; Germans are very protective of how their personal information is used, as they should be. If you’re collecting any user information such as names, email addresses, phone numbers etc. then it’s important to be fully transparent in how that information will be used. You need to fully comply with data privacy regulations and show that you are compliant.

The person behind the brand is important in Germany; you need to establish yourself and your employees as experts in your industry.