If you google “content saturation” you’ll get tens of thousands of results.
If you remove the quotation marks you’ll get millions.
There is this theory that we have too much content. That consumers have too much content and can’t keep up with it all.
I get it. Sometimes it can seem like overwhelm. But there are too many signs pointing the other direction – that people want more content – too ignore.
I think the idea is another excuse to not create content. To not do the work to create content to help raise awareness for your brand. It’s similar to the quality over quantity debate. It’s something we tell ourselves to make it okay, at least in our minds, that we don’t need to create content or as much content.
Here are some reasons people want more content than ever.
1. The Niche Movement
People gravitate toward similar people. The Internet is allowing for a huge niche movement. There are certainly still large platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Amazon that have huge majorities of the world’s population, but even within those platforms there are thousands and even millions of niches.
In 1983, over 100 million people watched the final episode of M*A*S*H. It’s not that the show was better than anything we have today. It’s just that there were hardly any niche options for people. If you wanted to consume content you had to watch that episode.
Thanks to technology we can consume pretty much whatever we want, when we want to. It spreads out the consumption, but it also leads to more content consumption than ever.
And within each niche there is huge demand. Think about your favorite account on Instagram. Maybe they post once a day. You probably love it when they do and would love if they posted even more. Maybe 10+ times a day.
The waiting factor has been removed in a lot of instances with content. Binging is huge on Netflix. It’s also becoming huge on podcast apps. When we find something we like we want to consume all of it. And not just once, but sometimes multiple times.
I just read a comment on a Reddit post where someone said they’re watching The Office for the 20th time… That’s crazy, but I totally get it.
When people find something they like they want as much of it as possible. Technology allows for binging.
For content creators this means that you’re not necessarily creating content for people to consume as you produce it. You’re stockpiling so that when someone discovers one piece five years from now that they go back and consume you’re entire archive.
3. Consumption Speed
The phone has made it easier than ever to consume content. People love speed. We love our time more than anything and we’re wired to save as much of it as possible so we can use it however we please. Anything that makes consuming content even microseconds faster is something we want.
Think of how fast you can consume content on Instagram. Just a simple scroll and you can see hundreds of photos in under a minute. Maybe thousands.
This might be reaching the point where we literally can’t consume content any faster, but I think we’ll still find ways to consume content at even faster paces in the next 10-20 years.
And you know what that means…the demand for more content will increase.
4. Easy To Find
Google has made it super easy to find content in the online world. I would say Amazon is in a similar place when it comes to search for the content they specialize in. The big thing that’s just around the corner that will make it even easier and faster to find is voice.
Asking Alexa for a piece of content can happen in a second. That’s faster than typing into your phone. It’s probably faster than finding your phone.
This one relates to time, but it’s also ease. We like to take the path of least resistance. As content has become easier to find we’re naturally going to consume more.
5. Easier To Queue
How big is your Netflix queue? For me, it’s also my queue in the Podcast app and the queue on Pocket. Also Watch Later on YouTube. I have all the bases covered from video to audio to text. Just discover content whenever and however I discover it and quickly queue it for consumption whenever I have time.
It feels good to have our queues filled. It allows us to always have something to watch. But how do you feel when your queue starts getting low? You feel bad because now it will take work to find more. That’s no fun. You wish you would have had more to put in the queue in the first place.
6. Increasing Quality
You’ll read all about how important quality is and how bad quantity is if you read about content creation. The fact is that content has never been better. Technology has had a big hand in it, but I wouldn’t overlook the hand that quantity has had as well.
Kids these days have their phones pretty much from birth. By the time they’re 10 years old they’ve becoming experts at creating video, audio and text. They’ve created so much that they know what is good and what is bad. They still create some bad stuff, but it’s all part of the learning process.
As quality goes up the demand for content will just increase. Say we find a blog post from a business that we love. We often subscribe because we know that future posts will probably be better each time.
The need for entertainment is evident with technology like Netflix. We crave entertainment. It fuels oxytocin in our brains and we love that stuff. We never reach a point of saturation. We always want that next hit.
The same with education. We’re wired to continue learning. And the great thing about today is that we can learn whatever we want. It gets back to the niche thing. If you’re into birch trees you want as much educational content about birch trees that you can get your hands on.
9. Consuming = Wealth
At least we perceive it that way. We feel that the more we accumulate or consume the wealthier we are. Or at least the wealthier we feel. It’s like a competition to see who can consume the most. This natural instinct fuels demand for as much content as others are willing to create.
You’ve probably heard about the fear of missing out. We know more about other people’s lives than ever before. And we don’t want to feel like we’re not experiencing life to the fullest. So we consume as much as we can in an effort to keep up. It all fuels the demand for more and more content.
If you think we’re reaching a point of content saturation just think about the last time you watched the final episode of your favorite show. You probably felt incredibly sad. The good news is there will probably be a reboot at some point in the future. The reason for that reboot? People want as much content as possible.
Don’t use “content saturation’ as an excuse not to create content. Demand is increasing. If you’re not creating you’re missing out.