5 content marketing trends that are busting the content bubble myth

It could be at an industry conference, in an online discussion forum, on a trusted analyst’s blog, or even in the morning headlines. No matter where it confronts you next, you need to be prepared to dispel the myth that we’re living in a content bubble — and it’s about to burst.

For starters, those who proclaim this myth mostly produce one-sided evidence to support it. But there are plenty of reasons why this theory is just plain wrong, and why content marketers have so much to gain from dismissing it.

But before we look at the five content marketing trends that expose this misconception as illusory trash, let’s dive into the theory itself.

What is the so-called content bubble?

In November 2019, Information posted a story titled “We’ve maxed out content. Now what?” In it, the publication’s founder and editor, Jessica E. Lessin, describes Amazon’s recent content cuts and a renewed commitment to budget prudence at Netflix. Lessin used these developments to support the claim that the “content bubble we’ve all been waiting for” has finally arrived.

The content bubble theory says that we have reached a point of marketing oversaturation in which future efforts have little or no chance of success. The claims supporting this myth suggest that there is simply too much competition and that everything has been done before. And at the first sniff, it sounds like they’re onto something.

After all, Walmart seems to be getting out of the content strategy game by selling its own streaming service, according to The edge. And Sony is parting ways with its PlayStation Vue, reported Business Intern. “There are officially too many fucking video streaming services”, one is indignant Mashable big title.

We’re also seeing the rise and fall of content brands: in an article for PostFunnel, Aaron Orendorff lists a staggering number of companies that have stumbled or closed in recent years. “Coming late into the content war as an add-on to triage acquisition is almost certainly a recipe for failure,” he argued.

Image credit: Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Why Content Marketing Is Going Nowhere

Clearly, many experts believe that the death of branded posts, coupled with growing consumer intolerance of sponsored content, means that there is, in fact, a content bubble about to burst. And thereafter, the profitability of that content — and, of course, production — will slow down. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

These content marketing trends are blasting holes in the idea that there ever was, or ever will be, a content bubble to worry about.

1. Content Marketing Spend Steadily Rising

Nearly half of B2B marketers say they expect a budget increase in 2020 for content marketing specifically, according to a report from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs. These increases reflect a curve and not a peak. The same results were posted last year and the year before.

Indeed, for every abandoned content brand, a new one is born, scaled or revamped. DisneyLife is no more, but hello, Disney+. Airbnb Pineapple magazine was a flop, but the brand’s latest magazine is on the rise. Everywhere you look, great content experiences are always popular.

2. The hesitation and closure of content brands and their publications

Wait – Isn’t Many Content Marketing Efforts Failed to confirm the very idea that a bubble is both there and about to burst? Actually no.

This shows that the audience is organizing from irrelevant channels and messages. In other words, when a content marketing initiative goes south, a content bubble would suggest that those readers, listeners, and viewers have stopped reading, listening, and watching. But they don’t stop, they just go somewhere else.


Image credit: Josh Howard on Unsplash

Smart brands see this and instead of bemoaning fragmentation, they embrace it with multiple communities and niche channels. An example of this was when Nike severed ties with Amazon to serve customers directly through its series of niche-specific mobile app experiences, as reported by Bloomberg. The brand is well aware of the fierce competition for consumer attention, and instead of throwing in the towel and blaming an oversupply of content, it has found another way to nurture its many distinct audiences.

According to Wired. They found that younger listeners simply switched platforms instead of buying a subscription, while older users tended to start paying subscription fees to get rid of ads.

Moral of the story? Audiences don’t stop consuming content because there’s too much of it. They simply find and stick to the methods and content consumption channels that work best for them.

3. The emergence and constant innovation of tools to support content marketers

If the bubble bursts, Scott Brinker’s visual martech landscape will not explode with new technologies to serve a demanding group of content marketers. We crave better and faster ways to deliver more poignant and resonant messages to our own information- and entertainment-hungry audiences.

And in the background, behind the proverbial curtain, the popularity of deep and broad software solutions to support the efficient orchestration of large-scale content operations tells us that the demand for a well-executed content strategy is not not an unstable phase — it’s a lasting trend.

4. Content creators and brand publishers looking for ways to reduce friction for consumers

We seek to satisfy a growing demand for faster and easier content experiences. For example, Netflix is ​​reportedly testing a feature that allows viewers to watch its content slightly accelerated. Hellish, perhaps – at least for some critics – but it’s a trend that’s gaining momentum. Podcast listeners have had this option for a few years. And text-based content creators offer readers quick consumer aids, such as the “For Skimmers” section of Allen Gannett’s newsletter.

Marketers are also counteracting admission friction by making content consumption more convenient. Apple AirPods allow joggers to watch the brand’s original programming on the treadmill, without getting tangled in wires. The rise of convenient, simplified, and faster ingestion methods for consumers is another trend that proves that our collective content production is maturing, not stagnating.

5. People have always predicted – and will always predict – a content bubble

In 1858, journalists from The New York Times said a new invention, the telegraph, was “shallow, sudden, unfiltered, too fast for truth”. In today’s words, it’s “spam, half-baked, low-quality, unmoderated.” No way for a new communication channel to survive this scathing assessment, is there? Wrong.

The telegraph was just the introduction to a long tale of new tools that helped humans communicate more deeply, more completely, more clearly, and yes, faster. Since then, this area of ​​innovation has not stopped or even slowed down, nor have the critics of these tools and their users. So the latest trend in content marketing that debunks the content bubble myth is long and all-encompassing: the naysayers are still there.

In 2014, Mark Schaefer proclaimed, “The content shock is here,” explaining that we had entered a period where consumer demand for content was not meeting its rapid supply. But no matter how hard he argued (and he did), the sky never fell on us. It’s been five years, and the value of content hasn’t plummeted like houses during the housing crisis, beanie babies in the early 2000s, or internet companies in the dotcom bubble.

How can brands stay afloat amidst all these speculative bubbles

What at that has happened since then is a shift in the types of content consumers crave. Well-written, engaging blogs are always a resounding success in terms of engagement, conversions, and brand awareness, but this form of content may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Today, busy consumers are increasingly turning to podcasts, enhanced resources, and immersive experiences. And tomorrow it could be something else entirely.

To succeed in this modern space, marketers need to embrace new types of content, but only if they can execute them well. Also, they shouldn’t abandon everything that was working just because something new and shiny is on the horizon. A content marketing strategy that brings together traditional assets and trending approaches to tell a harmonized story is the best way for brands to stand out now and in the future – bubble or no bubble.

Unexpectedly, by saying the content bubble is bursting, commentators may actually be creating the kind of headlines that keep the bubble expanding. So instead of bracing for a flurry, the best thing we can (and should) do is continue to deliver premium content to audiences in the format they enjoy the most.

Featured photo credit: Aaron Greenwood on Unsplash.