[INFOGRAPHIC] How We Consume Content Now (& What It Means For Your Marketing)

Content Marketing: Full Meal Versus Snack

How we consume content marketing - info snackingChances are you have one or more devices within arm’s reach. We live a four plus screen world that includes smartphones, tablets, e-readers and televisions. Depending on your lifestyle, this list may be expanded to include gaming devices, car-related devices and/or out-of-home screens. Each screen transmits information where we as marketers wish to integrate our message in a way that will grab consumers’ attention. The good news is consumers trust content marketing.

The problem is that US adults now spend about 11.5 hours a day with media according to data from eMarketer. Here’s how the data breaks out proportionally by media format. [Note: As of April, 2014, time spent with content has increased to 12 1/4 hours.]

Since most people do more than sit in front of a device all day (despite how it may feel to some of us), people have found new ways to efficiently process content. (For more detailed research from Performics and ROI Research, here are charts showing how we consume content across devices.)

How we consume content

As a result, we now have four distinct ways to consume content. To facilitate content consumption, provide a mix of the 5 basic content types.

 Tweet ThisINFOGRAPHICContent Marketing- 4 Types of Consumption - INFOGRAPHIC by Heidi Cohen

  1. Focused use. This is where we concentrate all of our attention on the content from one device at a time. For example, reading a book on an e-reader.
  2. Dual consumption. This is where we use two or more devices at the same time since the information we’re receiving from one device is either not sufficiently engaging or we have down time between activities. For example, people have their smartphone near their work computer to monitor text messages or other important communications.
  3. Information snacking. This is where we make use of otherwise wasted time with content we might not have read otherwise. For example, reading email on a smartphone while waiting for mass transportation or a meeting.
  4. Time shifting. This is where we consume pre-scheduled content when we’re available. For example, television shows are downloaded to watch on tablets and smartphones.

With these changes in content consumption behavior, marketers and media companies must think about the amount and format of content they present. Specifically, is your content a full meal or a snack? Further, marketers must also consider whether they’re going to create their own content or integrate their message into third party content through a form of advertising.

To help you better understand the difference between full meal content and snack content and how to select them for your content marketing plans, here’s a table of content formats. While this list of digital options isn’t exhaustive, it gives you the basis to create tailored content marketing offerings based on your target market and your products or services.

 Tweet ThisIs Your Content Marketing a Full Meal or a Snack?

Full Meal


Email Text  message or Alert
Email newsletter Social media shares
Blog post Social media comments (such as Facebook or other platform)
Video (also includes podcasts) Photo
Infographic Data chart
Twitter chat Tweets
E-book Series of articles or blog posts
Webinar Slideshare and/or blog post
Live event or conference Slideshare, live streaming, live tweeting, and/or live blogging

©2012 Heidi Cohen – https://heidicohen.com -All rights reserved

Bear in mind that just because you intend for your content to be a full meal, doesn’t mean your audience won’t snack on it. Further, content that you consider to be an information snack can lead prospects to seek a full meal of related content.

When you create content marketing, it’s important to consider where your target audience will be when they look for it, what type of device they’ll use to consume the content and how much time they’ll spend on it. By doing this, your content marketing will be more effective at breaking through the other information it’s competing against for attention.

What other forms of content marketing would you classify as either a full meal or a snack and why?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Note: You have permission to use this infographic only if you link back to this article. Any other use without specific permission is prohibited.

Here are some related articles on content marketing you may find of interest.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8656572@N04/3206663967/

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  • content writers

    on these observations it would seem to indicate that content marketers need to
    produce material to suit all four types of consumption. Most people will have
    developed habits for how they consume information and may not devote much time
    to focused or time shifted consumption, so smaller bites will suit them whilst
    other readers may want more detailed and focused information. This creates an
    opportunity for a more holistic approach to content marketing.

  • joel

    the eMarketer numbers do no confirm to accepted standards. TV and radio is way understated and internet access is way overstated