Technology has changed both the way people consume content and how they interact with brands. For Douglas McCabe, CEO of Enders Analysis, digitalization and connected devices are the main disruptive forces behind changes in user behaviour – and therefore the increasing competition for attention and deflation in online ad revenue.

Trends reshaping people’s behaviour challenge news companies as advertisers follow consumers – and put their money where users spend more time. Speaking at Digital Media Strategies 2015, he spoke about the key trend of which publishers and advertisers need be aware.

Young consumers are moving away from TV, not from video

TV audience figures are declining, and the sharpest drop is amongst consumers aged between 4-15 and 16-34. It doesn’t mean, though, that video is dying. In fact, online video is growing: digital viewing already represents 10 per cent of total TV viewing in the UK and that is thanks to young consumers:

“Everyone is migrating from live TV in some degree: video subscriptions has reached almost 5 million subscriptions in the UK, with the dominance of Netflix”.

The fourth technological wave won’t be wearables

Despite the hype around smart watches, McCabe said he strongly believes the fourth wave isn’t about this type of device:

“Some people like to say that the next wave is wearables. I will make a simple observation: the combination of apps-to-apps and the rapid rise of connected devices will effectively represent the fourth wave. The implications for types of content, communications and also retail services will be as important as the first two waves [internet and smartphones] in the past.”

Mobile is king – and will only increase its relevance

Personal and mobile devices are growing at expense of laptops and PCs, data from Enders Analysis shows. In only three years, the porcentual of adults using mobile devices in the UK more than doubled: it rose from 30 per cent in February 2011 to almost 70 per cent in July 2014. According to the research company, in five-years time mobile will represent 75 per cent of time spent online, considering both the usage of tablets and smartphones.

Users’ favourite source of news online is… newspapers

Newspapers dominate digital news time in all age groups in the UK, McCabe highlighted. According to Enders’ data for December 2014, users aged 35-54 spent around 800 minutes reading the digital websites of national papers. That’s more than the time spent with broadcasters (around 700 minutes) and even more than digital publishers (only 200 minutes).

McCabe pointed out that news companies have to invest in their digital operations, calling media outlets’ attention to the importance of selling audience engagement to advertisers and, for consumers, the importance of selling news services, delivering concise, intelligent and clear story summaries.

To fight non-human traffic, bet on content marketing

The harsh truth is that more than half of internet ads are never seen, leading to an estimated US$ 9.5 billion wasted on non-human traffic, according to analysts Solve Media. In fact, only 38.5 percent of web traffic is composed of humans. The rest is divided between robots, hacking tools, spammers and other impersonators. According to the executive, to fight non-human traffic it is important to invest in content.

“The evidence is that content marketing is where there is growth in the future.”

Image courtesy of David Goehring via Flickr used under a Creative Commons license.