The Future of Digital Content
In 2022, the average American consumed nearly 500 minutes of digital content each day, and understanding the forces that drive and evolve digital content will ensure a brand’s success in the coming years. From strategic planning to development to customer engagement, digital content is impacted daily by a wide variety of trends and forces that not only change how consumers interact with content, but how brands must produce content to stay relevant in their industry.
Through interviews with digital content experts at CourtAvenue and research about the evolution of the digital ecosystem and leading brands within it, we identified six key trends reshaping digital content: Each of these trends has implications for both brands and digital content itself, from planning to development to customer engagement.
Hyperpersonalization is a reality if done right. Hyper-personalization provides each customer with a unique experience across channels to meet specific needs. While hyper-personalization is possible, brands run the risk of losing their voice or creating unrelatable experiences. Content teams must find a way to meet unique customer expectations while maintaining a strong brand identity at every step of the user journey. Netflix uses first-party data to deploy one of many thumbnails to viewers that is most likely to garner a click based on viewing history. While these thumbnails are all different, they maintain consistent branding and accurately represent the content itself.
Storytelling within digital content must surpass visual limitations. While storytelling is a baseline expectation of content, brands should consider developing a true voice, enabling content to be shared auditorily with a memorable personality. Brands who expand their breadth to include audible content can reach consumers in places they would otherwise not be accessible while becoming a part of their lives and their culture. Harvard Business Review now allows their articles to be listened to, increasing the ways users can take advantage of their content and consume their information.
Content must be, and promote, conversation. From tone to tools to types of engagement, digital content will increasingly drive and promote conversation to build a relationship at a human level. Creating a true back-and-forth relationship through digital content ensures that, throughout the user journey, the brand is on the mind of its customer and can use dialogue to deliver even the most dense content in an easy and approachable manner. An unstoppable force, Disney balances interaction with customers across multiple audiences to create ongoing relationships and conversations with customers who are likely to continue engaging as they grow.
Digital content is not enough; connection and likeability are king. 89% of customers are loyal to brands that share their values while disengaging from brands they don’t relate to. A consumers’ likelihood to convert stems more from connection and likeability than ever, so content needs to reflect customer values, priorities, passions, and personalities. Brands such as Patagonia do this in a variety of ways, including sustainability and social initiatives, ethical prioritization, and transparency.
Immersive reality is changing the definition of content. The future of digital content is immersive, blending AR/VR and the digital experience and allowing customers to see content through a different lens and drastically changing how customers interact with content. Brands, like Gucci, must take initiative to be present in and capitalize on this new market while maintaining brand and product value in the physical world as well.
AI is reshaping everything everyday. The AI industry is expected to see more than 200% growth from 2022 to 2026 and will consistently reshape how brands bring content to life. As this new technology integrates into workstreams, brands will need to implement the right people and processes to continually evaluate how generative AI affects the entire lifecycle of digital content. Some brands, like Coca-Cola, are leaning into AI for content creation, and time will tell how other brands take advantage of this ever-evolving technology.
Digital content will never cease to evolve. Staying abreast of ongoing forces within the digital ecosystem ensures that a brand can capture, retain, and engage their customers beyond a first encounter and throughout the entire user journey.
To ensure that your brand outperforms competitors, you must meet customers in their preferred reality and medium, provide them with unique and personal experiences, all while taking advantage of advancing technologies and maintaining a brand voice that prioritizes values, ethics, and connection.