Marketers need to understand audience engagement habits and up their content game.
Apple knows there is a problem brewing. People are becoming aware they’re addicted to their phones, and actively looking for help to cut back.
The tech giant recently announced its testing a new feature for iOS 12 – the ability to set a time limit on how long you can use an app each day.
U.S. consumers spend an average of five hours a day on a mobile device – a figure that nearly doubled over the course of a couple years. We’re checking our phones once every 12 minutes, a whopping 80 times a day.
People increasingly think the internet has offered a mix of good and bad for society, while the percentage of people who think it’s been mostly good has dropped.
And it’s becoming clear constant social media use isn’t good for our mental health.
Nearly one-third of experts in a recent survey think this tech saturation is bad for our well-being.
We’re addicted to something that isn’t good for us.
Rising awareness of that problem creates an environment where storytelling becomes an even more valuable commodity.
Smartphone users, slowly, are starting to recognize the repercussions of this addiction, and are looking to make changes (the teens obsessed with “Fortnite” notwithstanding).
For example, look at the interest in this e-ink, does-basically-nothing-but-call-and-text Light Phone, which pulled in $1.67 million on IndeoGoGo while pitching itself as “a phone that actually respects you.”
That’s a direct rebuke to the current connected culture.
Apple’s testing of iOS 12 time limits (which Android is planning a version of as well) attempts to scratch the same digital detox itch. It’s more evidence people are seeking tools to limit themselves.
Why does this Matter for Marketers?
You can draw a direct line from this shift in thinking to the job of digital marketers.
If people – increasingly aware of smartphones’ negative consequences – start to actively and deliberately spend less time with screens, they won’t be engaging with digital content for as long, or as often.
People won’t see as much of your content. The number of opportunities you’ll have to capture the attention of your target user will shrink.
Which means you need to make your shots count.
Your content needs to engage right away, offer something valuable, because you don’t know when your next chance will be.
The content needs to be informative, educational, or entertaining. It needs to be abundantly clear how your message is relevant to your target audience’s life. (Being smart with your audience intelligence and targeting strategy can maximize this.)
And it needs to come across as authentic. Something that feels like an ad won’t get your brand or client anywhere.
The Value of Good Storytelling
Who’s in the best position to deliver this type of modern digital content? Storytellers.
They’re the people who made it their craft to pull emotional, resonant narratives out of content, and to then present it in a way that is easy to digest.
These storytellers could be journalists looking for a change of pace, like IEN’s own vice president digital strategy, Sean Ryan. They could be filmmakers or documentarians. They could be writers.
These are experts who can be concise with words and images, who can convince people what they’re about to engage with will be worth their time if they just stick around a few more moments. Journalists in particular have a reputation for being credible creators, and are comfortable working under the directive that the audience comes first.
Storytellers are a natural fit to excel and innovate in the content marketing space, able to grab user’s attention in fractions of a second – a vital skill if that’s how little time your audience will be giving you.
Learn more about i.e. network’s storytelling capabilities