4 Consumer Trends That Are Revolutionizing Content Consumption [Marketing]

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This article is part of CMO.com’s September series on the state of media and entertainment. Click here for more.
The media and entertainment (M&E) industry has seen firsthand the ripple effects that new technology has had on how people consume content.
Indeed, digital, mobile, social, and emerging technologies, such as virtual reality and voice, have sparked a marked shift in consumer behavior, particularly among the under 35 crew. New research from Adobe Digital Insights has bubbled up four important consumer behaviors that M&E companies are advised to factor into their plans.
1. Smartphones Are The Preferred Method For Consumption Smartphones are driving overall traffic growth for M&E companies, ADI found. As a whole, the industry has seen an 8% growth in smartphone visits this year, while overall growth in visits was down 5%. A possible contributor to mobile’s success: Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), an open standard for any publisher to have web pages load quickly on mobile devices. Nearly every leading M&E website (84%) can credit AMP for boosts in traffic.
The national news site portion of M&E, specifically, has seen a 52% lift in smartphone visitor growth and a 20% increase in overall visit growth—likely driven by today’s political turmoil, according to ADI director Taylor Schreiner.
“We believe that the growth in smartphone traffic to media and entertainment sites has a lot to do with consumers’ need for on-demand content,” Schreiner said. “People want to consume content while on the go, on their own terms. We’re getting to the point where it’s no longer about having a mobile-first mentality. Today you need to be mobile-dominant.”
Also important to note: The majority of consumption happens on M&E sites and not within apps, ADI survey data found. In fact, only 6% of consumers leverage apps (e.g., Flipboard, Apple News) as their primary entertainment news sources.

2. Bigger Screens Are Losing Share As smartphones become the media consumption device of choice, tablets, and desktop devices are paying the price. Overall, M&E brands have seen a 20% year-over-year dip in tablet traffic and 14% dip in desktop traffic.
This decline doesn’t mean M&E companies should shy away from those channels, according to ADI’s Schreiner. Instead, a shift in strategy is in order.
“What we are seeing is that we are no longer looking at mobile, tablet and desktop when thinking about the web strategy,” Schreiner said. “The tablet should not be its own strategy because when it comes to media consumption, we’re looking at small screens vs. big screens, and the latter is declining.”

3. Facebook Is The Leading Social Platform For Mobile Referrals Overall, Facebook accounts for 16% of referred traffic, while Google accounts for 61% on a smartphone. Within that 16%, M&E (45%) and national news sites (41%) have the highest rates of Facebook referrals when compared to other industries.
“We’re finding that social navigation is a large and increasing way of how people discover, engage with, and consume news and entertainment content on their phones,” Schreiner said. “People are talking about content on Facebook, they’re experiencing news on Facebook, discussing it, and that’s why media and entertainment companies need to have a strategy when it comes to broadcasting their content on Facebook, both from a paid and an organic standpoint.”
Despite the high reliance on Facebook for news discovery, over 80% of consumers across all age groups said they are not willing to pay for news via social media in the future (which Facebook is currently testing), according to ADI’s M&E Survey.

Generally speaking, social media referrals for news and entertainment content is on the rise. Age, however, is a factor. More than half of consumers under the age of 35 said they get the majority of their news via social media as opposed to TV, news platforms, or newspapers. However, less than 25% of consumers over 35 indicated the same.
Looking forward, 35% of those 35 and younger said their use of social media tools for news content will increase in the next two years.
4. TV—As We Know It—Is Dead According to ADI, consumers are increasingly looking to online streaming and other types of entertainment. In fact, traditional TV has seen poor growth since 2014. These days, two-thirds of consumers under the age of 35 reported regularly using online-streaming subscriptions to watch television.
Binge-watching is another trend, brought on by on-demand services, such as Netflix and Hulu, and driven by the younger generation of consumers. Over 50% of consumers between the ages of 13 and 22 said they prefer to binge watch TV series, while a little more than one-third of consumers over the age of 35 prefer to watch one episode per week.
While M&E websites are seeing growth in web traffic from smaller screens, over one-third of consumers said screen size is the biggest differentiator between a movie and a TV show. What’s more, over 75% prefer a 35-inch TV or larger screen to view shows or movies while at home. The average TV screen size has shifted from 43 to 45 inches from 2016 to 2017 (4.5% YoY). Additionally, sales of 46- to 85-inch TVs increased by 6% YoY, while sales of 6- to 45-inch screens decreased by 7%.
Gaming devices, smart TVs, and cable boxes are the most popular devices used to access entertainment at home among those 13 to 34 years of age. Consumers 35-plus most often use a cable box, smart TV, or Blu-ray disc player.

“The media and entertainment landscape is changing—that’s no secret. On top of that, so is technology, which is impacting people’s consumption habits,” Schreiner said. “It’s important to stay on top of these trends and figure out viewers’ preferences in order to deliver the best possible customer experience.”
View the full “Mobile Metric Refresh” report from ADI, below, or click here to view it on Slideshare.

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