Thought Leadership

True Digital

talking shop: The Content Shock Economy

Izzy Ashton

Assistant Editor, BITE


True Digital - talking shop

Content Shock is a term that was coined by strategist Mark Schaefer in 2014. It refers to the point at which the increasing volume of content online overcomes our limited human capacity to consume it.  As content shock has increased, many businesses have found themselves in Negative Content Equity. That is, they are paying more to create and push out content than the value it is returning to them. So with Content Marketing spend in the UK alone predicted to rise nearly 180% to £349 million in 2020 (up from a paltry £125 million in 2014)* we want to turn the conversation from volume to value.

Marketing is in an era of serving, not selling. Content isn’t king – the customer is. And they’re in control. Not passive figures drowning in stuff, but people choosing, carefully, where to spend their time and money. 

A National Bureau of Economic Research study in June 2016 (The Empirical Economics of Online Attention) explored how adults allocate their time and attention to the internet. It identified remarkable stability in both how much attention is allocated and how it is allocated.**

The extraordinary pace of change in technology (experts predict we will advance more in the next 10 years than we have in the last 200 years) is creating profound shifts in customer expectations. Customers expect to ask for just about anything. Messaging apps will have functionality built in, voice assistants will be at our beck and call. They expect needs to be accurately anticipated, with digital and physical worlds coming together to provide seamless service. Good content – discoverable, brand enhancing, journey enabling content -needs to deliver on those expectations and give users material they value.

In our new Content Shock guide, we guide you through 4 simple steps to understanding if you are in Negative Content Equity.  If you are, fear not.

True deliver some great advice on what to do about it, including objective setting, measurement frameworks, discoverability and distribution strategies and ideas that cut through.

* Yahoo & Enders Analysis.


Fiona Weller, Creative Partner, True Digital


Tom King, Head of Search Social and Media, True Digital

Nick Baillie, Senior Planner, True Digital

Key take outs:

  • A good content marketing strategy will have clear objectives that link to your overall business goals. 
  • With objectives in place, measuring content effectiveness is a simple cost versus value equation. 
  • Your strategy should cover content distribution – too often it’s a consideration only after content is created. 
  • Great content won’t just deliver what your business has to offer – it will move people, rationally and emotionally.


    Read the report here


    Bertie Rogers, Business Development Manager, True Digital,

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