New social conditions often spark new patterns of behaviour. In the strange year of 2020, our need to stay informed; coupled with isolation and extra time in front of screens has pushed content consumption through the roof.
As we adapt to doing life differently and abandon what no longer fits, 2021 is shaping up to be a very different year in the world of content. Read on for 5 of the most interesting changes that are shaping this brave new world.
1. Global content consumption has doubled
In 2020 people are spending twice as much time online consuming content compared to previous years. These are the findings of a global survey conducted by DoubleVerify, which found that the average consumption has increased from 3 hours 17 minutes, to 6 hours 59 minutes.
2. The year of many firsts
2020 has been a year of many firsts that have accelerated content consumption even further. If before this year you (or maybe your parents) didn’t know how to look up instructions on YouTube or watch a live stream event, you probably do now. Even as things are returning to normal, many will stick with their new behaviours which have proven to make life easier, save time and increase the opportunities for connection with loved ones.
3. Content consumption is exploding on social and average time spent on social media has gone up in Australia
Globally, social media was the primary source of content consumption in 2020. According to the L&A Social Census, the average Australian’s time spent on social media grew by 30 per cent between January and June 2020. In stressful times, for many users social is the one-stop shop for news and information about what’s happening in the world as well as connection with loved ones.
4. We are increasingly aware of the dark side of social media, but it’s not stopping us
A significant 1 in 4 Australians identify as being ‘addicted’ to social media, continuing to spend more time on their favourite platforms despite feeling that they are spending too much time on them or comparing themselves unfairly to others. Netflix’s ‘The Social Dilemma’ highlighted how companies like Facebook and Google manipulate users with algorithms designed to make the platforms addictive and harvest personal data to target users with ads.
Time spent engaging on social platforms is still at an all-time high despite these concerns, indicating that for most Australians the benefits and utility of social outweigh the cost, especially during the pandemic.
5. How-to content consumption has spiked on YouTube
2020 has accelerated the guided content trend, especially on YouTube. With many Australians finding themselves at home and wanting to make positive use of their time, the key content trends reported by YouTube include yoga, guided meditation, nature sounds, home workouts and home cooking.
This is ripe territory for brands to come to the party on this trend with helpful instructional content that meets audiences in the intersection of their passion points and products.
Another area of growth is the #WithMe genre which exploded on YouTube, with views growing by 600%. A twist on the how-to video, in voyeuristic ‘With Me’ videos a content creator will film processes from their everyday life such as “Get ready with me”, “Study with me” or “Clean with me”.
YouTube hypothesises that the demand for this type of content increased during lockdowns due to people in the audience being lonely and seeking comfort in new forms of social connection.
As we move into 2021 and life becomes (hopefully) normal again, we will have to wait and see how content consumption behaviours continue to shift. Will they drop back to previous levels? Or have audience habits and behaviours been changed forever?
What do you think? We’d love to hear from you.