As millions returned to the office, travel, and real-world shopping last year, companies had to readjust their content strategies yet again to meet customers and employees where they are. Nobody knows exactly what 2023 has in store (although we do have expert predictions). So, to help you figure out how to navigate the content world this year, we took a hard look at the latest research and data to highlight essential 2023 content facts.
Content Science releases content statistics in an updated infographic, 50 Crucial Content Facts, every year. We thoroughly research and collect these content statistics and facts from Content Science studies as well as other reliable resources such as Pew Research Center.
The facts are broken into five categories:
Here is our analysis of 2023 content facts and statistics from this year’s updated fact sheet.
Sixty-four percent of people are now online. And, as internet usage continues to increase, so too does the percentage of users who are accessing it through mobile devices. About 60% of web traffic is flowing through mobile at this point.
Not only are more people online, but more people also are spending even more time online. For Americans, the time they spend online every day has risen to about eight hours. But that amount doesn’t even take into account “time spent on passive activities, such as streaming music or video in the background while doing other tasks,” according to a survey from HighSpeedInternet.com.
So what are all these people doing during all of this time online? Watching video content of course. But also: Nearly 40% are listening to podcasts, about 31% are reading news on Facebook, and almost all teenagers are using TikTok.
Unfortunately, increasing online content consumption has come with worsening disinformation. Nearly two in three American adults (64%) say fabricated news stories cause a lot of confusion when it comes to the basic facts of current news and events.
Implementing strong content operations remains a challenge. “Fifty-eight percent of CMOs report that their teams lack the capabilities needed to execute on their strategy,” according to a Gartner report. And, a study from the DAM software company Canto finds that “only 21% of those surveyed describe their content workflows as ‘very efficient.’”
This is in line with what Content Science found in its most recent Content Operations Study. In that study, we found that operations maturity had declined during the height of the pandemic. Forty-six percent of organizations were at levels maturity levels 1 and 2, the earliest stages of content operations maturity. Compared to our 2017 update, more organizations are now at these low levels.
So, how can content leaders improve their operations? Content Science finds that focusing on content vision and increasing organizational capacity for creating high-quality content—such as through a center of content excellence—are essential in maturing content operations.
The most mature content operations are effectively measuring their content. Our Content Operations Study has found that all of the organizations that regularly evaluate content effectiveness are at a level 5 in our content operations maturity model—the highest level. And organizations at any maturity level that report measuring content are more likely to report success.
“Content effectiveness is hitting the sweet spot of overlap between your company’s goals and the goals of your customers or users. So, it makes sense that a strong correlation exists between measuring content effectiveness and content success,” says Content Science President Colleen Jones. “If you have a good handle on how effective your content is, you can make better decisions faster.”
Developing a content measurement plan does take effort. “Getting started with content evaluation—setting up the process—takes a significant amount of time. To do it right, you need to be very intentional about what it is you’re evaluating against,” AT&T Associate Director for CX Content Strategy, Tracking, and Measurement Cory Bennett told Content Science Review. “You also need to be mindful of the content goals for your customer/end-user,” said Bennett.
The pandemic changed a lot about how, when, and where people want to communicate across content channels. “One of the biggest shifts we’re seeing is in how customers want to communicate with support teams…prior to the pandemic, messaging [SMS, WhatsApp, mobile chat, etc.] was ranked fifth overall in terms of channel usage. Now, it’s second,” according to research from Intercom and Forrester.
Shopping via smartphone also saw a pandemic boost. Pew Research Center finds that about 90% of Americans ages 18 to 49 say they ever buy things online using a smartphone, compared with 69% of adults 50 to 64 and 48% of those 65 and older.
Another major factor impacting content channels is the ending of third-party cookies on browsers. The U.S. ad industry has lost “approximately 50% to 60% of the signal fidelity from third-party identifiers” because of changes to Apple and Firefox’s browser, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
Although marketers are losing an important channel, they are also gaining a new one. Web3 continues to grow. Salesforce finds that about half of marketers say they have a Web3 strategy. And, the top elements in their Web3 strategies are virtual products, VR and / or AR, and cryptocurrency.
When it comes to content tech in 2022, it is hard to remember anything aside from the launch of ChatGPT at this point. And with it has come many, many, many predictions about the impact of AI on the content industry. But Content Science President Colleen Jones puts AI into perspective:
“Artificial intelligence is living up to its potential for content. These tools can accelerate creating content at a high level of quality. I think of it as these tools take you to 80% complete, leaving you with about 20% to do…usually final polishing or refinement.”
Many other companies are now entering the AI-writing space as well. Since we launched our Content Technology infographic last year, the area of AI-generated content has grown at a rapid clip. This year we are listing 17 different AI tools that either offer AI-powered writing, image, or video creation.
Organizations also continue to grapple with personalization efforts. Our latest Content Operations Study found that almost half of companies are trying to offer personalized content experiences, up from 38% in 2017. And try they must. Nearly 90% of participants said they are more likely to continue shopping on a website that offers a personalized experience, and this includes 96% of Gen Z and 97% of Millennials, according to an Elastic survey. And, importantly, 84% said personalization influences their purchase choices.
The bottom line is that as digital disruption marches forward, AI, machine learning, and personalization are becoming essential for content teams to understand and adopt.
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