Evolution is inevitable, and this is very true in regards to technology. As we continue to interact with technology in different ways, we must adapt how it ultimately functions for us. As the use of the Internet changes, so must the way that we create and present content.
Early adopters of Internet-based information were interested in detailed and lengthy content. This demand helped to outline what has become the average blog post. An average blog has a word count between 400 and 800, usually including multiple tags and links, for SEO purposes, and graphics and images for aesthetics.
Because the majority of current Internet use has been adopted by a new audience, many aspects have changed. Rather than demanding all information, the new adopters request only the most valuable information. As a content marketer, I have noticed the rapid increase in Internet use to be attributed to two current trends, social and mobile.
With two of the highest visited sites being Facebook and YouTube, and with 75% of the world having access to mobile devices, it is obvious that the functionality of technology is changing. These trends will dictate the way that content will transform in the near future.
Though there has already been a notable shift towards microblogging, with the great popularity of platforms such as Tumblr and Twitter, content will continue to move toward a shorter format. This content evolution is due to:
1. The Rise of Scrolling
- Even though there has been a large rise in Internet views from mobile devices, there has been a significant decrease in time spent on individual sites and content. This is due to users naturally wanting to ‘scroll’ (literally) rather than read on their personal devices. Because 80% of mobile time is spent on Apps, many companies are developing their own to try to combat this issue and attract more users.
2. Shorter Content Attention Span
- With the rise in content and constant updates on social, users encounter vast amounts of accessible information daily. This has lead to users exhibiting shorter content attention spans, otherwise known as Social ADD. A symptom of this recent digital illness is lower user comprehension and its main effect is a large decrease in content effectiveness.
3. Emphasis on Unique Content
- The rise in scrolling and increase in Social ADD have lead to an emphasis on unique content. Rather than having to skim through information, users want to immediately understand the main concepts and purpose. When a blog post is around 500 words, you can expect there to only be between 100 and 200 words of actual unique content. By eliminating non-unique content and creating a much more concise format, you can ensure that users will have an increased understandability.
For instance, in the near future you could read this post as:
The use of Internet has changed, due to a shift in audience and increase in social and mobile. These trends have led to a rise in scrolling and Social ADD, which in turn have led to a need for shorter content. To ensure that your content is most effective, begin to write more concisely by eliminating anything that is not necessary to the main purpose.
Writing ‘snippets’ is nothing new to content creators, as we are use to forming meta-descriptions and even short blurbs, when broadcasting content on social, to entice readers. Much like this strategy, the full content will be linked and accessible for those wishing to read further. Other than being more effective, this will help to differentiate between ‘brand advocates’, those that like the brand, and ‘brand operators’, those that actually engage with the brand.
It is evident that the change in technology functionality and audience needs will lead to an evolution in content. As current trends continue, solutions for these content problems will need to be formulated.