Over the past year and a half, much has been made of Mark Schaefer’s theory of Content Shock, the idea that we are incurring rapidly diminishing returns on content marketing. Part of the reason is the explosion of content being created by everyone. A bigger part of the diminishing returns in the Content Shock theory is the fixed amount of time people have to consume content:

Content Shock

Let’s take a look at this slide from KPCB’s Mary Meeker and her annual Internet Trends report:

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What do you see here? Do you see Content Shock? It’s a little difficult in the original version, so let’s separate out the three device form factors and their hours per day of usage:

Screenshot_5_28_15__4_25_AM.jpg

Look at points 1 and 2. These represent the inflection points in the curve of mobile device usage. Between 2010 and 2011 is when mobile content consumption really took off. 4 years later, in 2014, that trend is tempering. What if we looked at the data in terms of change? If we asked, how many hours per day MORE each year are people consuming content? Are we approaching the hard limit of time people have to consume content?

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In a word, yes.

If you project out a bit, the likely number of hours people will consume content, given existing form factors of devices, appears to be about 6 hours per day.

Give that a moment’s though. 6 hours a day encompasses a fair amount of work. It encompasses binge viewings of House of Cards and Game of Thrones. It encompasses chatting with friends, reading, playing video games, taking and viewing photos and videos. Your content marketing has to share the same 6 hours as the activities people love to engage in on their devices.

This is Content Shock. Can your content earn even a few minutes of that 6 hour block of time? Does it deserve to?


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