Presented at Percolate’s Customer Summit on November 13th, 2013:

It was funny, when we first started Percolate we stayed away from the term content marketing. It didn’t feel big enough, it felt dated and overall, it was poorly defined. You can look no further than Wikipedia right now to see what I’m talking about:


This definition is stuck in what we call the first phase of digital marketing. That is the web phase of digital. A pre-2010 era of the web that was defined by search, banners and micro-sites.


Hopefully by the end of this presentation we can show you how much we think content marketing has been totally changed by the last two phases of digital marketing that have happened in the past 3 years. These two phases have also created a radical change in terms of what it means to be a marketer.

Social was the original catalyst for a whole new way that we create content in the modern day. Social was what got Noah and I excited when we thought about building Percolate.


We were moving from a world where our clients asked us to build out year long campaign calendars.


To a world where they couldn’t figure out what to tweet about on a daily basis. At the beginning many laughed at social and specifically Twitter as being nothing more than people talking about what they had for breakfast. But Noah and I weren’t laughing, when enough smart clients are asking you questions like, “what should I tweet about?”.


Noah and I knew the world had forever changed when marketing conversations moved in this direction. Our job was to start a company to solve these challenges and we went out in the market to make it happen.

In late 2010 though, the idea of social platforms and their businesses was still very much up in the air.


Facebook’s valuation was insane in late 2010. Employees were selling their shares for $11B!




Everyone had an opinion on Twitter and almost all of them thought they would never make money.


LinkedIn was a professional networking site with no content or newsfeed. Updates were for when you were looking for a new job and changed your profile.


Google was a search company with no play in social.


While social was important in 2010 it didn’t have the overall value we had come to find in the largest media companies. As well, there wasn’t a global play in social yet, social platforms were largely siloed by the countries they were built in.


So what changed, how did social become so big?


Social had it’s moment largely thanks to the other greatest disruptive force we have all lived through in the last 3 years, Mobile.


For marketers, mobile changed everything. Banners, gone. Flash, gone. Complicated site architectures that couldn’t translate to smaller form factors, gone. Social has been the benefactor of everything that mobile disrupted.

Most importantly, mobile consolidated us all. It taught us to swipe, capture and for social: share… Instantly. It also taught us that content would sit in the center of the experience and it would unite us all in the act of creating and sharing it together.


The growth in mobile is like nothing we have ever seen before. Android recently passed the 1B user make and iOS will pass 1B users sometime in Q1 of 2014.


And we are just getting started


The output of mobile is an entirely new social landscape.  Let’s look at 2013.


Facebook is now worth $110B, has 1.19 billion monthly active users of which 874M of those users accessed the site from a mobile device.


Twitter has gone public, with almost all of their growth and monetization centered around Mobile.


LinkedIn is primarily focused on sponsored content as the growth engine to their business.


Pinterest and Snapchat are the next up and coming platforms


Google has even come out to say that G+ is the social spine of the company.


Mobile and Social have built the biggest companies of our time. This can be well seen with this chart showing the leading social/mobile companies worth almost $1 Trillion.


So with all this value and content created, what is next?


In order to look at this brave new world, Noah has always talked about looking at these changes through the lens that Marshall McLuhan looked at Technology. McLuhan said,  “The ‘message’ of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs.”


In his book “Understanding Media” he goes on to give an example: “The railway did not introduce movement or transportation or wheel or road into human society, but it accelerated and enlarged the scale of previous human functions, creating totally new kinds of cities and new kinds of work and leisure.” In other words, it realigned personal expectations and culture and expanded the definition of local.


In order to understand how social and mobile will continue to change our lives and marketing, let’s look at the future through the lens of Scale, Pace and Pattern.

For marketers, the Scale is Global


Billions of people, Not Millions


That leads to us connecting on global platforms.

Look at where we were in 2009:


To where we are now:


Twitter growth along with most maturing social platforms is international.


Pace is focused around the stream




Everything in the future is dictated by how it will perform in mobile. Where creation and consumption happens in the same stream. All content needs to be shareable.


Pull to refresh is the most used gesture in the world.


The Pattern of media is focused around Content.


Photos shared/day: Whatsapp – 400m, Facebook – 350m, Snapchat – 350m, Instagram: 55m


New medium. New media. Chopped up media leads the way…. (Pins, Grams, Vines, Snaps, Tumbles, Tweets)


Even Search, the last great business model of the pre social/mobile world is dictated by social now.Slide-39

What this leads us to is a whole new way to think about content. This slide shows how we see content having it’s Moore’s Law moment.


Even with all the growth we are seeing with content, it continues to accelerate and we don’t see that stopping anytime soon.


Social was the catalyst for redefining Content Marketing


Mobile was the catalyst that changed the scale of social


The output of this is Social is at the center of marketing, mobile is the vehicle and content marketing is the best way into those essential spaces.


And the crazy thing about all of this is we are still in very early days.


We live in truly amazing times to be a marketer, let’s take advantage of it.



Sources: Asymco, Benedict Evans, BI Intelligence, Mary Meeker KPCB