One term has come to define the content world during the COVID-19 pandemic: digital disruption. And, as the Omicron variant upends the world yet again, it is clear that the move to doing just about everything online is here to stay. Businesses, nonprofits, and schools alike have to continue adapting to this new digital playing field. To help you evolve your content vision and strategy for success amid rapid digital disruption, we have put together a list of essential content facts, statistics, and quotes.
Each year, Content Science releases these content statistics in the updated infographic 50 Crucial Content Facts. We thoroughly research and collect these content statistics and facts from Content Science studies as well as other reliable resources such as Forrester and Pew Research Center.
The facts are broken into five categories:
Here is our analysis of the content facts and statistics from this year’s updated fact sheet.
The pandemic continues to push more people to consume content online. Cisco predicts there will be 5.3 billion total Internet users (66 percent of the global population) by 2023.
The amount of time adult social network users spend on social media platforms—which grew by 13 minutes in 2020—will remain higher than before the pandemic, at 1 hour and 35 minutes per day in 2021, according to eMarketer. And podcasting consumption is growing too, with 41% of Americans ages 12 or older saying they listened to a podcast in the past month in 2021, up from 37% in 2020 and 9% in 2008.
However, content professionals are refining their strategies amid the ongoing pandemic to avoid overwhelming audiences. For example, as email messaging booms, nearly 40% of senders have simplified their emails to increase authenticity and nearly a third have also adapted their tone to become more human.
Unfortunately, as online content has increased, so too has online 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.
Many organizations are still struggling to adapt their content operations to the new pandemic-influenced digital world. In fact, Content Science’s 2021 Content Operations Maturity Study found that operations maturity has suffered during the pandemic. Forty-six percent of organizations are at levels 1 and 2, the earliest stages of content operations maturity. Compared to our 2017 update, more organizations are at these low levels.
Our content operations research has repeatedly found that content leaders and their teams face no shortage of challenges when it comes to maturing their content operations. But content leaders whose teams are thriving employ specific strategies to overcome problems such as siloes, lack of clarity, and technology struggles. “To mature your content operations you need to know what you’re trying to achieve, always be willing to learn and iterate, and figure out what your team does best,” says Lymari Morales, Associate Dean for Communications and Marketing at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Content Science has also found that leaders who communicate a clear vision for content are five times more likely to report success than those who do not. A comprehensive content analysis effort is also key. “To scale operations for your content marketing program use data to optimize your content planning and production,” says Content Science founder Colleen Jones.
Many organizations continue to grapple with content measurement. Content Science finds that a content measurement plan is a good place to start. It provides a framework for measuring success that you can use across your organization to inform decisions around strategy and execution. By having this in place, you can: Validate your content strategy and support meaningful conversations around it, Configure your owned channels for effective analytics, and Identify gaps in analytics you may need to fill.
Several key facts remain the same or similar to last year when it comes to content intelligence. For example, most teams are missing the boat completely when it comes to content intelligence. Only 35% of content teams regularly evaluate content effectiveness or impact. This has significant consequences. Content Science has found that when there isn’t a lot of thought to strategy only about 20% of content gets 80% of the results.
Not knowing whether your content is working for your customers or users brings real costs and risks to your business, including wasting money on content efforts because decisions are not guided by evidence. Once you start measuring, you can start making impactful changes. For example, we have found that the vast majority of people who said that content [in a digital experience] was not relevant indicated the content was too general, according to ContentWRX data. Insights such as this, can empower your content team to create more sophisticated and targeted content.
Developing a content strategy today is as much about where you are publishing the content as it is about the content itself. You need to understand your user journeys, know where your audience is, and how they consume content on each different platform.
For example, millions of people now look to influencers on specific channels. By 2022, the influencer marketing industry could be worth up to $15 billion, up from as much as $8 billion in 2019. And “89% [of marketers] say ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels,” according to MediaKix.
Email also continues to be a powerful content channel. “Email generates $42 for every $1 spent, which is an astounding 4,200% ROI, making it one of the most effective options available,” reports HubSpot. Knowing how your customers respond though is key. Marketers who send fewer than three emails receive a reply rate of just nine percent. But if a marketer sends between four and seven emails, their reply rate jumps to 27 percent.
Journalists are still an important content channel, but knowing how to pitch is essential. Muck Rack found when it comes to pitches, 91% of journalists prefer pitches under 200 words.
Even as long-existing channels such as email and social media continue to play important roles, companies need to keep an eye toward the future. For example, more than half of consumers are willing to use artificial/virtual reality (A/VR) technology to assess products.
More organizations are moving toward automation. The latest Content Operations Study from Content Science finds that 22% of organizations are using AI or machine learning in some capacity related to content; up from 15% in our 2017 study. The study also reported that almost half of organizations are trying to offer personalized content experiences, up from 38% in our 2017 study.
Moving towards automation and personalization is one way organizations are dealing with digital disruption. “AI is the only way we’re going to be able to deal with the fact that the demand for content is increasing exponentially. We’re going to have to automate the production of certain aspects of content,” says Noel McDonagh, director of information development at Dell EMC. And Gartner has found that companies fully invested in online personalization will outsell companies that have not by more than 30%.
Importantly, Segment reports that “if brands fail to offer a personalized experience, 45% of consumers say they’re likely to take their business elsewhere.”
How does your company achieve content personalization and automation? Garnter reports that: “Creating personalized messages and experiences requires intimate knowledge of customer journeys, relevant content that drives action, and technology that helps deliver and measure experiences. Brands need to be extremely thoughtful in how they personalize their content today…focus on showing customers you can help them first.
Even if you’re not ready for automation right now, there are ways to set up your content today to make it easier to automate tomorrow. “When we engineered and architected GovHub, we kept content fluidity as a goal,” says Georgia’s Chief Digital Officer Nikhil Deshpande. “Even though websites are our primary way of delivering information, we need to be future-ready. Now you don’t need a special Alexa skill to read georgia.gov content because Alexa or Google Home automatically reads information from georgia.gov or GovHub hosted websites. The way we changed and modified our content made it machine visible and readable.”
Still, even with advances in automation and personalization, content professionals continue to play the most important role. “Marketing AI can take you a long way, but it’s up to humans to do the work of making the content, promoting it well, and connecting with an audience,” says Brandon Andersen, chief strategist at the content intelligence software company Ceralytics.
Last Updated: January 13, 2022
You know content is important to marketing for your business. You might have piloted content marketing and seen success. Now what? It’s time to get strategic so you can sustain and scale. This whitepaper will help you start.
Frustrated by content evaluation? This whitepaper explains an approach and a tool, ContentWRX, to make evaluating content easier.
Content that uses emotive language performs nearly twice as well as purely factual content. Learn more in this guide from Acrolinx.
Learn why one page is rarely enough to rank for competitive topics and how to build a content cluster that positions you as an authority in this MarketMuse whitepaper.
You've reached the article limit. Please login or sign up to continue.