It is the framework itself that changes with new technology, and not just the picture within the frame.
– Marshall McLuhan

When we started Percolate two-and-a-half years ago it was because we saw social growing at exponential rates, while the process and cost model for creating the content to fill those channels, was growing just as fast. That initial excitement for a new model has only continued as we’ve seen these platforms continue to grow at even faster rates as people show an endless appetite to connect, create, and consume across social.

To help illustrate just how big this all is we’ve been sharing a few data points with clients lately:

  • There are over 25 social platforms with more than 50 million active users
  • The average large enterprise supports 178 social accounts
  • The most watched piece of media was the finals of the 2010 World Cup at 700 million people. By comparison, every day there are over 800 million daily active users of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • Owned audiences are larger than ever before with brands like Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, American Express, McDonald’s and Intel amassing over 130M Facebook Fans. As a comparison the owned audiences for the top 15 US newspapers is slightly over 11M subscribers.

All these platforms, accounts, and people ultimately drive an insane amount of content through these channels on a daily basis. To give a sense, just four platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, account for over 700M photos shared per day. The challenge for brands remains how to create enough engaging and on-brand content to be relevant in this new social world.

With all that change, though, one thing hasn’t: The way content is produced in social is still primarily based on a people-and-time-intensive process designed to create TV commercials, print ads, and other stock content. As we see it, the typical content creation model looks something like this:

Content Creation Cycle

To that end, it’s no wonder that content remains the largest cost center and challenge for marketers: As the technology has evolved, the frame’s stayed the same. Instead of focusing on the medium and unique needs of social, we, as an industry, saw a photo on a Facebook page and assumed it was a print ad and should be produced the same way.

As we realized when we started the company, and have been building into our product since day one, this model just won’t scale as the world of social continues to grow at breakneck speeds. Marketing technology, and the thinking around marketing technology, needs to evolve to help brands create content, not just post it to their social channels. Our clients and some of the most senior analysts in the space, like Nate Elliott of Forrester, see the value:

The demands of social create a need for an entirely new framework. One that supports real-time messages instead of linear storytelling and one that is grounded in technology that can augment the workflow of creative human beings. That is our role at Percolate and we have the technology and a new content framework that supports our thinking:

Real-Time Content Marketing

As we continue to evolve and grow our thinking it’s been awesome to see how we’ve been able to help some of the best marketers in the world create even better social content in a more sustainable manner. All this is possible because they’ve moved beyond the picture with us and are focused on the frame.