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Top 3 trends of online consumer behavior

March 24, 2016

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Three key trends to capitalize on

Last week at the Content Marketing Summit, Ed Couchman, head of agency relations at Facebook, gave a presentation about new trends in online consumer behavior.

Couchman’s talk focuses on three key trends: the move from desktop to mobile, the increase in visual-based communications, and the trend towards discovering, rather than searching for content. These observations may seem obvious, but the experience and knowledge Facebook can gain from analyzing its enormous user base can still provide insights for any small business with a digital presence.

The move from desktop to mobile

Ok, so everyone knows that, more and more, consumers are accessing the internet through their smartphones. Yet, according to Couchman, even the experts at Facebook “consistently underforecast” just how many people are accessing the web via mobile.

The numbers are skyrocketing exponentially year after year. The number of people using Facebook for mobile has increased from 20 million to 26 million in the past two years, and a full quarter of Facebook user only access the site from their mobile phone.

Growth in multimedia communications

Facebook also saw a 388 percent increase, year-over-year, in posts using emojis and stickers.

They’ve also had an 88 percent growth in the number of videos people are watching in the U.K. These stats indicate that online information in the form of pictures and videos is quickly surpassing text-based posts. Couchman estimated that by 2018, nine out of ten posts on Facebook will feature a photo, song, or video.

Stumbling upon new content

Lastly, Couchman discussed the trend towards discovering, rather than searching for new content. This may be due to the fact that people often use their cell phones to entertainment themselves when they have downtime while out and about, such as waiting for the bus. Marketers need to work harder than ever to ensure that their content is discoverable, and that it stands out from the rest. Couchman advocates for personalization by “using data” to “create content for specific groups.”

With over one billion users, if anyone can keep track of online trends, it’s Facebook. Take advice from those in the know.


Ellen Vessels, Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for her wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when she's not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.


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