5 Content Trends Every Marketer Needs In 2013

Evolving Content Consumption Patterns: What You Need To Know [Research]

We live in a multi-screen world, a fact highlighted at this week’s CES. We have screens designed for use everywhere from public transportation to the bathroom. These screens provide new ways for us to consume content all day long. Now one device can do everything multiple devices did.

The use of multiple screens and different devices has changed our content consumption habits. There are four main ways we consume content: focused use, dual input, info snacking and time shifted. This enables us to consume more information in less time.

Television still dominates US media consumption.

On average, Americans spend roughly six day a month watching traditional television compared with slightly less than half a day on time shifted television according to Nielsen. While these figures are based on a 24-hour day, they don’t take into account the fact that most viewers who time shift shows skip ads making their viewing more compact.

While television viewing remains consistent, prime time television viewing is changing based on research from GfK presented by Business Insider (For further analysis of the Business Insider data, check out Five Trends Guaranteed to Disrupt Your 2013 Marketing Plans). There’s a significant shift away from watching live television.


289 million people in the US have at least one television in their homes according to Nielsen. What’s interesting is that two-thirds of households have three or more television sets.

  • 31 million or 11% have one television
  • 64 million or 22% have two televisions
  • 75 million or 26% have three televisions
  • 119 million or 41% have four or more televisions

For over 90% of owners, the television is no longer a free-standing device only used to view television shows. (BTW- This data doesn’t capture is the number of people who use their televisions as a larger display for their computer to view videos and other content.)

  • 86% of television owners have a DVD player
  • 56% of television owners have video games
  • 52% of television owners have digital cable
  • 47% of television owners have DVRs
  • 33% of television owners have satellite
  • 4% of television owners have Internet enabled television

It’s interesting to note that Business Insider shows a decline in Pay TV subscriptions. Both over-the-top video and pay-as-you-go television shows for mobile devices are contributing factors.

Video starts to matter (Television, movies and other content)

162 million Americans watch online video, averaging 5.9 hours per person in a month. Men spend more time watching video online. Interestingly video viewers use both the Internet (or PC) in similar amounts to mobile phones, specifically, an average of 5 hours and 51 minutes on the Internet and 5 hours and 22 minutes on a mobile phone.

Research compiled by both Business Insider and Nielsen show an increase in over-the-top video. Closer examination shows that it’s not just movies, it’s also television shows. Other firms to watch include Amazon and Apple.

Internet keeps me connected.

On average, Americans spend twenty-eight and a half hours a month on the Internet according to Nielsen. Given how much time people spend on the Internet as part of their work and the increase in tele-communting and people working from home, this seems low.

Social media is where we spend our time

Americans access social media from all of their connected devices. Social media accounts for about a fifth of time spent on PCs and about a tenth of time spent on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). 

5 Content trends marketers need to watch in 2013

Based on this research, here are five content trends that are important for marketers to incorporate into their 2013 plans.

  1. Television still matters. Despite claims to the contrary, television is still a major media force. Actionable Marketing Implication: Marketers still need television for mass reach that’s hard to get via digital. The challenge for marketers is that the market’s become more fragmented and an increasing number of people skip ads, especially in the prime 25-54 year old demographic.
  2. Television alternatives are on the rise. Just as consumers starting cutting their landlines, over-the-top video is growing. Think in terms of those firms that have a lot to loose if DVDs and pay-per-view disappear. Big players include Nefilx, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon and Apple. Actionable Marketing Implication: As a marketer, think in terms of expanding your quality video content. While high production value video content is expensive, can you find ways to provide useful product information and styling cost effectively?
  3. Smartphones are for the masses. 56% of mobile subscribers have smartphones. Actionable Marketing Implication: Marketers must think in terms of mobile first. You need a fast-loading mobile website, mobile app and mobile search. (Here’s how to develop your mobile marketing strategy.)
  4. Ereaders (17%) and Tablets (16%) are neck-a-neck short term. While firms like Amazon will try to make their ereaders evolve to tablet standards, expect tablets to dominate long term since they provide useable ereader functionality and more. Further, the 40+ generation who wear reading glasses find them easier-to-use than their tiny smartphone screen. Actionable Marketing Implication: Think in terms of responsive design so that your content can adjust to the appropriate screen size since, in the short term, there are sure to be a lot of size variability as manufacturers rush into the market.
  5. Social media is everywhere. You can’t escape it. Consumers will use every device at their fingertips to connect with family, friends and social media colleagues. It’s how we communicate now. Actionable Marketing Implication: For marketers, social media is a must have element in your marketing plans.

As devices and related content consumption habits evolve, marketers must adapt their activities to provide the information consumers seek and to place their advertising where it reaches its intended target audience.

What do you see as the implications of the changing devices and our consumption habits?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen


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  • http://www.facebook.com/maranda.saling Maranda Saling

    Great information right off the bat in the morning! Thanks!