Much has been said about the pace and volume of online activities. With over 3 billion people on social media, we expect activity volume to continue increasing. Lori Lewis and Chadd Callahan have illustrated what happens – on average – every 60 seconds on the internet. For instance, there are over 973,000 logins on Facebook and 3.7 million Google searches every 60 seconds! To put that into perspective, that’s 42 billion Facebook Logins and 159.84 billion Google Searches a month! I have analysed the growth trends of these platforms and what it implies for content marketing. In this blog, I will highlight some considerations for content marketing based on internet use in 60 seconds between 2016 and 2018.
Internet Use in 60 Seconds: Average Growth Rate, Activity Volume & User Accounts (2016-18) [INFOGRAPHIC]
Internet use in 60 seconds: High Growth-High Volume – Google Searches & YouTube Video Viewed
Google isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it guaranteed its position as the online search capital by buying YouTube for $1.65 billion in November 2006. Google searches and YouTube videos viewed had a 60-second usage growth rate of 26% between 2016 and 2018. Both platforms command over 3 million actions each (searches and videos viewed) in 60 seconds!
There is no ignoring the impact of search and video on content marketing. As a business, your content makes to be relevant and engaging. Organic search overtook social media for web traffic in 2015. The bottom line is people are looking for information. This includes how-to content, trends, in-depth knowledge of complex topics and entertainment.
If you don’t have a content marketing strategy, you’re missing out on the opportunity to engage a huge audience. With 56% of B2B marketers admitting that search is the most effective channel for driving early-stage engagement, relevant content is the anchor for building brand awareness.
Internet use in 60 seconds: Low Growth-High Volume – Emails Sent & Facebook Logins
Email and email marketing continue to be vital communication channels for business. Recent research by DMA reveals that email marketing receives more than 30 times ROI. As of 2018, there are over 5 billion email accounts! Email has been around a long time but its growth rate is the lowest (12%) of the internet channels reviewed here. The younger generation is less and less on email so consider your target market. However, emerging trends around email marketing could see future increased growth in usage.
It’s tricky mentioning Facebook (young and cool?) and emails (old tech, needing a refresh?) in the same breath. At 2.196 billion active users, Facebook has the highest number of users of any social media platform. But recent times has brought slowed growth for the social media giant. In the first quarter of 2018, Facebook grew by 3.14%, down from 3.39% of the prior quarter. The reasons for this slowed growth could be a range of recent changes such as modifications to its algorithm. In addition, the company has endured scandal after scandal in the last 18 months. With data showing new daily active users being its lowest quarter-over-quarter growth since early 2011, has Facebook’s user growth hit a wall as suggested by a recent Recode article?
Email marketing remains a key channel for reaching a known audience and it reaps significant ROI. Review and refine your email marketing strategy to include email-enhancing techniques such as basic segmentation, optimising for mobile devices and re-marketing to name a few. For Facebook, make a call on whether investing in advertising is worth it to reach your target audience. If it is, keep resourcing it. Remember it owns Instagram too so it probably won’t hurt to keep active on the platform.
Internet use in 60 seconds: High Growth-Low Volume – Instagram Scrolls
While Instagram has the smallest number of activities per 60 seconds, it’s had a massive usage growth over the last 3 years. The platform went from 38,194 to 174,000 scrolls per minute between 2016 and 2018. When Facebook bought it in 2012, it had around 50 million users and wasn’t making any money. Now, Instagram has risen to 1 billion active users per month!
As a result of Instagram’s development, it has become a crucial element of business-to-business marketing. Companies like Hubspot, Business Insider and Dell have thousands of followers by regularly engaging with target audiences. The launch of Instagram’s long-form video feature (IGTV) has added to its popularity among businesses. For instance, Hubspot often creates tutorial videos to educate its audience on topics such as Facebook audience targetting and SEO.
The future of Instagram is bright in the world of content marketing. To continue to grow, I foresee the platform enhancing its search capability to be similar to Google and YouTube. As far as I know, you can’t effectively search for specific content on IGTV. Adding this feature could further boost growth for Instagram. If you haven’t already so, get into IGTV and be one of the first few companies to use it. I’m having a blast with it!
Internet use in 60 seconds: Low Growth-Low Volume – Tweets Sent
Overall, the number of tweets sent on Twitter every 60 seconds has grown by 18% between 2016-18. This is a relatively low growth rate compared to Instagram, for instance. It also shows the general slow down of Twitter and its struggle to engage users on its platform. Recent stats show another struggle: Attracting new users.
In 2016, Twitter’s user growth rate almost halved from 7.8% to 4%. Growth is expected to slow down by 2% each year until 2020. Yet, Twitter is a widely used platform for B2B sectors with 77% of B2B marketers using it compared to 73% of B2C marketers.
There have been suggestions about what Twitter could improve to make its platform a more enjoyable experience. For an amusing list, check out this Mashable blog by Tyler Schmall where he offers improvement ideas such as automatically filtering out Hitler praise and labelling which trending topics are depressing.
The increase in character count is the most recent of its updates but in my opinion, it’s not significant enough. I’d call it a “tweak” rather than anything that changes the game. Twitter appears to be the only social platform yet to make video a core feature for users. Current video use seems to be mainly for GIFs rather than serious content. There’s also the passive, attention-deficit nature of the platform and how easy it is to target abuse at other users. I wonder if an additional video capability will aggravate these issues or improve professional use. What do you think?
There are many places you could be on the internet. For marketers and everyone else, it is often overwhelming. Below is a summary of how I believe each platform/internet use might impact your content marketing goals.
- Instagram is growing. Get involved with new features for engaging your market.
- Videos and search are the now and the future. Establish your brand with it to build your online presence.
- Facebook and email won’t disappear just yet so watch trends and technological advances. Don’t be left behind – keep active.
- Twitter is key for some industries but if you are short on time and resources (and your target audience isn’t even on Twitter), do the minimum if you do it at all.
What I suggest in this article is based on my take on what is happening on the internet and its likely impact on content marketing in general. However, aspects of this might not apply to certain industries such as retail and media/news. That said, I’d love to hear what you think about the future of content marketing on the internet. Tell me in the comments!
**% growth are CGR