How Content Marketing Has Evolved Over the Last 2 Years

Written by Lucy Jones

Jul 20 2016

evolution of content marketing

How do audiences find online content today compared to 2 years ago? And how is the content marketing landscape evolving? We look at current landscape, and future of content strategy.

Since the birth of the internet, technology has advanced at increasing speed, shaping the content marketing landscape. And while content marketing in one form or another, has been around for centuries, today we’re starting to see innovations like AR, voice-based search,  and ever-increasing levels of mobile optimised and video content.

New formats and technologies will of course influence the way we think about content. So how are things changing? How are audiences consuming and engaging with content? And how should marketing adapt?

Adapting To The Future of Content Marketing

How do audiences find online content? Where did they go to find the same content two years ago? 

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We reviewed data above from HubSpot’s ‘The Future of Content Marketing: How People Are Changing the Way They Read, Interact, and Engage With Content’. HubSpot’s survey covered 1,091 global users.


  • It can be seen from the stats that in the past two years, search engines (like Google, Bing, Yahoo) have become the prime content go-to source. Having a solid presence on search is still important!
  • Use of search engines to find content is experiencing a significant growth rate. 57% more respondents now use search to find content (from 22% to 79% of respondents). That’s a growth of 259% overall.
  • Similarly, Facebook’s growth overall growth rate is also up a total 259% from two years ago, going from 19% user adoption to 76%.
  • The percentage of audiences who access content by going directly to a publication’s website and accessing through mobile notifications has increased from 22% to 55%
  • Twitter’s overall growth rate is significant, with more than double the number of respondents claiming they use it to find content (Total growth rate +156%)
  • People are increasingly looking for blogs to answer their questions. This section now sees 37% of consumers look for blogs, from 18% two years ago. That’s a growth of 105% overall - and a strong signal that having a relevant, active blog is a crucial part of an effective marketing mix.
  • LinkedIn, like Twitter, has experienced a good growth rate - 125% overall
  • Use of messaging platforms has doubled, having gone from 13% usage to 26%
  • Use of Medium has gone from 13% use, to 22%
  • Reader apps have experienced a 30% total growth rate over the last two years
  • RSS feeds have seen a slight increase, from 18% usage, to 21%

What do these growth rates tell us about how content marketing is evolving?

As seen above, search engines have experienced most growth in people using them to access content. This highlights that having a good presence in search is still a priority. Equally, there has been significant growth in the use of social platforms (particularly Facebook feeds) to source content, likely a result of increased mobile accessibility and growing variety of social platforms.


While not all content channels saw dramatic growth (RSS feed usage saw the smallest growth increase), in the past 2 years, audiences have dramatically increased overall content consumption.


For marketers, these statistics underline the growing value of having an active content strategy; that identifies the platforms buyers frequent, before positioning relevant, buyer-challenge relevant content to those right audiences as part of their content discovery journey.

What Content Do People Want To See?

The way people consume content is changing. But while keeping abreast of best platforms and content formats is important, it can be a challenge. So what content formats do audiences prefer to see?


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As indicated here, video content is the most likely to be ‘consumed thoroughly’. Video growth is certainly predicted to continue - according to Cisco, by 2019, 80% of the world's Internet consumption is predicted to stem from video content.


As you might expect, social posts are the second most thoroughly read content types, followed by news articles, research content and online classes. Longer form content however, including blogs, and podcasts is more likely to be ‘skimmed’ by readers - but that doesn’t mean it lacks value. In fact the opposite is true, judging by our statistics above. To secure the best value from longer form content, it’s wise to break down your content structure to make the key points clear for skim readers.

By 2019, 80% of global internet consumption will be from video content - Cisco

How Do People Want To Access Content?

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Content consumption stats do change depending on the device type being used.

When respondents were asked what content types they would like to see more of in future, and how they would prefer to access them, the results were that:

  • There is a preference to read news articles on a computer/laptop as opposed to a mobile device (46%:43%), These content types are currently being ‘consumed thoroughly’ by 49% of those interviewed
  • 52% of people would like to see more social media content, and would prefer to access it via a mobile device. This was the greatest preference of content and device type
  • Respondents would like to see more video content, and would prefer to access it via mobile devices than desktop (49%:41%)
  • There is also a preference for more mobile accessible interactive content (articles or tools)
  • 34% of respondents would prefer to see more research content, and would like to access it via desktop
  • Online classes/educational games are preferred equally - at 33% on computer/laptop and mobile
  • Interestingly respondents did not highlight a desire to see much more blog content in future - 27% wanted to see more, and wanted to access via mobile. This may be an indicator of the current strength and accessibility of blogs; to succeed in future, marketers will need to offer audiences greater content variety

Key Takeaways

These statistics show that there is no ‘one size fits all’ for content. Content marketing will continue to evolve, so staying abreast of changing trends is important. Key takeaways from these stats are to:

  • Continue to consider the growth and popularity of mobile accessible content
  • Maintain a strong search presence in order to reach the vast increase of people using search to start their content discovery journey
  • Maintain an active blog, full of persona-challenge relevant content
  • Consider increasing video creation
  • Review the content channels your own buyers frequent and value, and publish your content to those locations for best success
  • Have an active social presence on the channels your buyers use
  • Make sure you are creating the content types that readers ‘consume thoroughly’ (videos, social media posts, news articles, research items etc.)