I saw a report from the Center For Media Research in the middle of August that threw me for a loop.
Here was the jaw-dropper:
"Content replaces communications as primary Web use... Internet users are spending nearly half their online time visiting content, a 37% increase in share of time from four years ago... A dramatic shift has taken place... with consumers now spending 47% of their time with content and only 33% with communication.â€?
Did you compute that news?
You and I are now using the Internet more as a channel to get content like the news, videos, etc... than we are are for communicating with one another.
While it should come as no surprise that text messaging and the glory that is the Blackberry have also had an impact in our online communications, I think this study marks a new era for Marketers when it comes to developing a strategy and better understanding of what consumers want.
In a recent article in Marketing Magazine entitled, Content Is Finally King, Pam Horan, President of the Online Publisher's Association says: "what we're finding is that people are using the Web first now, whether it's as a source of news or entertainment."
I think all Marketers interested in the Digital Marketing landscape prayed for the day when we could point to the Web and say, "see, we knew this would be the first place people would have as their touchpoint with your brand." Now, with news that content is taking over from the communications side of the Web, we can rest assured that creating great content and applying it in the right context could well be the Internets next killer app.
Who needs Web 3.0 now?
When I speak in public on the topic of Digital Marketing, I have one slide that says, "Content Is Media." It's a glorified call to Marketers that it is no longer just an advertising game. It harkens back the Seth Godin ethos from his book, Purple Cow, that for something to spread, the product (in and of itself) must be remarkable. No advertising campaign can save a crappy product or service in the long run.
Layering Seth's thoughts on top of this new development in online behaviour should facilitate the creation of a "Content Is Media" model in Marketer's minds.
Now, the challenge will be in scaling our business models for a world where we must become dynamic content creators while balancing it with mandates for mass advertising. One thing is for certain, we can't see what the next six months will bring, so all we can do is encourage our clients to create better products and develop supporting stories for these online channels. After all, that's what consumers want... and we know this to be true. Finally.