The Future of Mobile Content

and Hardbound

Mobile has eaten and swallowed the world of content. Now that we’ve all got supercomputers in our pockets, building mobile-first is no longer just a priority, it’s a requirement.

The brands doing the best job of sharing messages and stories with consumers are the ones constantly optimizing and iterating for mobile.

We can break down the efforts of these content creators into three parts:

  • The Message: What does the content say?
  • The Frame: What does the content look like?
  • The Channel: How does the content get there?

All three are essential components to achieving reach and maximizing the value of your content.

The challenge — especially as you get older(sorry) — is to keep up with the times and trends of crafting the Message, the Frame, and the Channel, so that you can ensure you reach your customers.

Here are some thoughts I, a 19 year old college student, have on what the future looks like for mobile content and how creators will adapt their messages, frames, and channels long term.

The Message

Generation Z, or the cohort of people born since the mid 1990s, comes with its own set of tastes and preferences.

Advertisers and brands, especially as of late, have done their best to appeal to this new set of consumers.

Right now, we’re seeing this effort manifest in a lot of ways:

  • Emojis 🔑: I think some marketing influencers read somewhere that young people like emojis — because they are everywhere.
  • Transparency: Gen Z likes the facts.
  • To the Point: A key insight about the people of gen z is that they want information quickly. So we’ve seen brands like buzzfeed and tasty build content that satisfies the desire for immediate gratification.

Don’t know what I’m talking about, watch one of these extremely popular videos and you’ll get the point:

  • Generation Z is also really interested in social issues and change. Social media has allowed this group to voice their opinions in a way we’ve never seen before.

Predictions:

My guess is that in the long run, low quality, click-bait content will die off. There is no consumer loyalty there and as soon as our tastes and preferences adapt, those companies that rely solely on click-baits will be treading water.

So then what types of messages will win?

I’d focus on qualities of: quick-value, causes people care about, empowerment, and insightful. I’m hoping for educational entertainment — call it edutainment :) (coined by Nathan Bashaw).

The Frame

The style and shape of the message, I’m calling it the frame here, is where this story gets a bit more interesting.

For years, we’ve relied on vertical scrolling for information. We’ve already seen creators look for another way to display their content — optimized for mobile.

You see, we’ve reached a point of information overload — where newsfeeds and timelines will no longer suffice as manageable ways to view content. The most basic user does not and will not have the time or capacity to sort through long scrolling bars. Couple this general notion with the preferences of Generation Z to get information quickly and concisely — timelines will not last.

So what’s next?

Well first, it’s video. Mobile video. Everywhere. Facebook Live, Twitter Video, Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories. Prepare for a flood of video.

Next, we’ll see it with audio. Once we are all wearing air-pods all the time, we will be listening more and more often. Podcasts will continue to gain power.

Video & audio will be great.

But let’s face it, reading is not going completely away. At least not anytime that soon. I just think that the way we consume textual information is going to look & feel different.

Right now, books and stories are not really optimized for mobile.

Well, until now.

Meet Hardbound.

Nathan Bashaw and the team create educational + fun ways to understand and digest life topics. They are like books for your phone. And when I say for your phone I mean they read incredibly on your mobile device.

**READ IT ON YOUR PHONE :)

Here is one of my favorite stories:

They’re like the long youtube videos we all used to watch growing up that explained the ways things worked.

But these are made for our phones, and they look beautiful.

If we can find a way to optimize the way we view our stories, the message will only become that much more clear. That’s why I love what Hardbound is doing.

Conclusion on the Frame for the content — It will be interesting to see how we (as consumers) balance the onslaught of information we get on a daily basis with what we actually care about. I’d recommend reading this by Josh Elman to hear more on this part.

The Channel

The last step for my simplified process of content creation is the channel to which you deliver your beautiful, perfectly framed content.

I think the channel you go for completely depends on your target audience.

The first thing you should do is figure out who your target audience is. Once you know that, then it’s not too hard to find where they are hanging out.

Know a couple of things:

  • If you are choosing a common target audience, then they will be in high demand. They will be completely overloaded and flooded with information and ads. How are you going to stand out and be different? There are lots of ways to be different. Email me jordangonen 1 at gmail dot com and I’ll help you figure that out.
  • There will be some trial and error involved. Very rarely, if not never, do brands choose one channel and make it work. Never the case. What normally happens is companies go through a constant cycle of testing and iteration.
  • Don’t write off channels just because everyone thinks they are duds. That may actually be an opportunity. Ryan Hoover from Product Hunt shares his thoughts on why email is not dead.
  • Text messages have nearly a 100 percent open rate — check out Lowercase Alpha — great job Mazzeo, Jackson Dahl

Predictions:

I think text message lists will become more and more valuable. (you can sign up for hardbound’s list here).

Native ads are too saturated at this point — consumers are becoming less and less influenced by these forms of content.

Influencers will become more and more valuable because they have established real, powerful relationships with their audience of millions. Expect tools to be built to capitalize on the influence of these “common-type” celebrities who are about to be introduced to a whole new world of monetization.


These are my thoughts on content, specifically how mobile content is changing the world. Or, perhaps better put, how the world is changing mobile content.

I’m excited to continue to tell stories and I think that the evolution of mobile technology will only enhance our viewpoints.


I’d love to hear your thoughts — you can tweet me at jrdngonen.

If you did enjoy reading this story — I’d really appreciate it if you hit that little green heart down below !

I share my thoughts every single day here. You can also connect with me somewhere here.