Internet Trends 2016:
The Future of Content

by on 8th June 2016

Venture Capitalist Mary Meeker’s annual internet trends report dates back to 2001 and has become a highlight in the diaries of people across the tech industry, including digital marketers.

Taking a close look at users and the growing success of particular features and services, Meeker points to trends that will shape the future of content. Below, we look at what you, content planners and producers, need to know.

Jump to:

  1. The Evolution of Video
  2. Millennials vs Generation Z
  3. The Rise of Snapchat
  4. The Future of Search

The Evolution of Video

Video Quality: Lessons from advertising

Video is one area where both advertisers and content marketers have a lot to learn. Digital audiences demonstrate little patience for low-quality and irrelevant content:

  • 81% mute video ads.
  • 62% are put off by pre-rolls.
  • 93% consider using ad blocking software.

Video ads that do work demonstrate the qualities and functionality content planners and video producers across marketing disciplines need to emulate in their work, taking into account tone, user benefits and user scenarios:

Video Quality Elements

User-generated video: Live broadcasting

One video to recently take the internet by storm demonstrated in practice the potential of qualities outlined above, specifically entertaining, evoking emotion, authenticity and being relatable: ‘Chewbacca Mom’ Candace Payne’s video on Facebook. This video also ushered the ‘Real-Live’ stage of video evolution into the forefront of consumer consciousness.

chewbacca mom

Initially broadcast in real-time through Facebook’s new live video feature, the success of Candace’s video and its impact on both the retailer and product featured in the video sets the tone for the future potential of this format.

Candace became an instant celebrity, appearing on numerous chat shows and going on to receive $420,000 in gifts and freebies. Authenticity pays.

What does this mean for content producers?

Things are speeding up. As stories move increasingly into the moment, brands will need to respond with haste to take part in consumer conversations as they happen. This has hitherto been the case with social media, but we’re now seeing the move from static to video as the format of ‘now’ and ‘anytime’ thereafter.

Evolution of Video

As the number of videos viewed per day quickly rises, this is an area of communication that shouldn’t be ignored.

Millennials vs Generation Z

With 2014 seeing the majority of millennials turn an age between 18 and 33, their growing purchasing power means that brands cannot afford to ignore or overlook the characteristics that define this generation.


What does this mean for content marketers?

The expectations and values of a generation are impacted by the events of their lifetime. As a group, millennials trend towards open-mindedness and empathy, placing greater emphasis on self-development and giving back to the community when it comes to work/life balance than previous generations.

These values and attributes should remain at the forefront of your mind when crafting messaging and content that will resonate with this audience.

Looking further into the future, what can we expect from Generation Z, those who are currently aged 1-20?

Millennials vs gen z

The key takeaway from this comparison is the shift from communicating with text to communicating with images, a trend that we’re already growing extremely familiar with through the rise of Instagram and Snapchat.

The Rise of Snapchat

The digital marketing world has become increasingly excited about Snapchat over the past year, and with good reason. While reach remains lower across millennials than the majority of social media platforms, Snapchat’s engagement levels across millennial users are second only to Facebook.

Why is this? Snapchat content can only be created within the app, and must be viewed within 24 hours, after which it’s deleted, giving users constant reason to check in and encouraging users to create new content on a regular basis to keep their stories going. The app is also engineered for easy yet highly creative self-expression in bite-sized chunks – with all videos limited to 10 seconds.

Globally, and across age groups, the daily number of photos shared by Snapchat’s 100 million users competes with Facebook’s entire portfolio of mainstream image sharing platforms:

Daily Photos Shares

What does Snapchat’s success mean for content?

Advertisers can take advantage of sponsored filters to promote brands via user-generated content, to great effect:


For content marketers, Snapchat needs thorough strategic consideration to pay off, but it’s a powerful vehicle for authentic visual storytelling and has very much become a mainstream network.

Perfect for events, product launches, behind-the-scenes and geo-specific campaigns, brands of all sizes and budgets are picking up the Snapchat gauntlet. Even the White House has signed up.

Snapchat is very much set to be the next big thing in content marketing.

Developments in voice recognition software have seen machines reach 90% accuracy in 2016, up from 70% in 2010, with this rate set to rise towards 99% for certain providers throughout the year.

Baidu’s Chief Scientist, Andre Ng, estimated in 2014 that by 2020, at least 50% of all searches are going to be either through images or speech. As of May 2016, 1 in 5 android searches in mobile in the US are voice searches, and this share is on the up.

Why and when are people using voice search?

voice search

What does this mean for content marketers?

People can speak 150 words per minute, compared to the 40 words we on average type in that time frame. As such, our approach to typed search is a robotic tone and often shorthand syntax. A shift to voice search is a shift into the landscape of conversational search, one far more dependent on user intent and context than previous search strategies have needed to account for.

Direct answers from search engines are on the rise in response to increased voice search. Users are looking for a clear answer to a specific question, such as “where’s the nearest cafe”. This means that localised and correctly optimised content will come into its own through voice search. Brands will need to ensure that their content caters thoroughly for the informational stage of their marketing funnel.

Read Mary Meeker’s full report here and please do share your thoughts on where content is heading in the comments below.


  1. ah yes, the rise of Snapchat… :) what do you think about whole thing Dani? I think it’s really bold and interesting move they’ve made by changing their name and declaring themselves as a camera company now…

Comments are closed.

We're hiring – check out our careers page Careers

Get insights straight to your inbox

Stay one step ahead of the competition with our monthly Inner Circle email full of resources, industry developments and opinions from around the web.