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7 Pieces of Content Your Audience Really Wants to See [New Data]


As a marketer, one of my goals is understanding the different types of content that resonate with my audience. With that in mind, I went over HubSpot’s recent Consumers Trends Report, which surveyed what types of content marketers are using in 2024 to gain the most traction — here are some of my key takeaways.

And, to take it one step further, I decided to ask four marketers about their experiences with content — how effective their chosen content was, why it worked, and the steps you can take to use these content types in your digital marketing today. Let’s dive right in!

Download Now: The State of U.S. Consumer Trends [Free Report]

Table of Contents

What types of content do users prefer to consume?

Let’s begin by exploring how people prefer to consume content.

How consumers prefer to consume content.

1. Images and Infographics

A whopping 52% of consumers prefer visual content like images and infographics, with Gen Z (53%) and Baby Boomers (58%) favoring it the most.

Take Instagram, for example. Infographics and carousel posts with key information about your product can go semi-viral when users share them — whether to their story, friends, or off Instagram entirely.

Another part of image marketing that gets the most traction is memes. Here’s how Zoom embraces meme culture:

Zoom’s meme marketing strategy.

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To capitalize on image and infographic marketing, I focus on piggybacking on what’s already worked. For instance, use a popular meme format, like comparing two pictures with text above them, and incorporate something about your brand into the meme.

2. Short-Form Video Content

Up to 45% of consumers enjoy short-form videos on platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels, with Gen Z (55%), Millennials (52%), and Gen X (52%) being the biggest fans.

As of now, the algorithms of social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram favor short-form video content to compete with platforms like TikTok — that’s why you constantly see them in your feed. So, as long as you appear relatable in your videos, there’s a lot of opportunity in short-form video content.

Don’t get me wrong: Professional shots you normally see in commercials can work as great advertisements. But on social media, it’s usually counterintuitive. In my experience, posts that focus solely on selling tend to underperform in terms of views and sales when compared to relatable content.

You want your content to blend into the platform. Your brand’s videos should feel just like your target audience’s favorite influencer, with a selfie-style camera and informal language that doesn’t sell.

Salesforce does short-form video content very well:

How Salesforce leverages short-form content.

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In this example, Salesforce uses a common hook for short-form videos: a POV. Other hooks you can use also include:

  • We did this so you didn’t have to…
  • We’re sharing a secret about this that you probably didn’t know…
  • How to solve this problem…

These should help you get traction, be relatable, and show your wittiness as a brand!

3. Live Videos and Live Streams

Live video content is popular among 35% of consumers, with Millennials (40%) and Gen X (36%) being the most engaged.

I’ve found that hosting live Q&A sessions on Instagram and Facebook is incredibly effective in building rapport with our audience and addressing their concerns in real time. To maximize engagement, I promote the live sessions in advance, create a clear agenda, and encourage viewers to submit questions via direct message.

Additionally, I’ve experimented with live product demonstrations on TikTok, which have significantly increased sales. Showcasing our products in action and answering viewer questions live has helped build trust.

4. Long-Form Video Content

While they’re less popular (24%) than short-form videos, long-form videos are particularly appreciated by Millennials (39%). So, what does this mean for marketers? Long-form content should be a part of your arsenal if your product or service requires additional selling.

For instance, a video sales letter (VSL) typically helps qualify prospects inside a 40-60 minute video, prompting them to purchase after. And if written correctly, you can simply publish these videos on your YouTube channel and let the algorithm do the work.

I’ve also seen brands like REI have success with various types of content, including story-based interviews, how-to guides, and simple training videos.

rei-1

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As an outdoor brand, REI invites people to share their stories and lessons from hikes, ski trips, and camping. These videos don’t directly promote their products, but it’s another means of connecting with their audience on a larger scale.

Based on my experience with long-form content, here are some questions to ask yourself for potential video ideas:

  • Can you conduct interviews or podcasts with customers about their experiences?
  • Are there how-to guides you can create around your product or industry?
  • Do your customers have questions/concerns that can be answered with a long-form video?
  • In what ways can you humanize your brand through long-form video?

5. Text-Based Social Media Content

Posts on platforms like X (formerly Twitter) and Reddit appeal to 18% of consumers, with Gen Z (21%) and Millennials (20%) being the most receptive. Why? Because these platforms allow consumers to share their experiences with others in a non-biased, non-judgemental way.

In that sense, social media platforms are essential to understanding any narratives about your product — such as what concerns they have, how they’re using it, and what types of questions potential customers are asking.

The other side of text-based social media content is a platform like X, where you can share your brand’s personality and get organic reach. I’ve also noticed X is best for hopping on trends and memes.

For example, with the recent solar eclipse, HubSpot jumped on the trend on X:

How HubSpot jumped on the solar eclipse trend.

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Another trend that took over X in late April was the “Look in between these letters on your keyboard. Here’s an example from Guinness World Records (hint, the answer is Y):

How this trend took over X for a few days.

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I recommend jumping on these trends to get you exposure, but more importantly, to show your brand’s personality.

6. Newsletters

Email newsletters are preferred by 17% of consumers, particularly Baby Boomers (27%). Generally, newsletters are one of the best ways to show your customers what’s happening with your business. Bonus points if you include market analysis or what’s happening around your area if you run a local business.

To bring it all together, I recommend you use text and visual aids in your newsletters. That way, your readers can skim and find what they want to read about, whether it’s an important update, or a witty tidbit you’ve included in the newsletter.

7. Blog Posts

While only 14% of consumers favor blog posts, they remain important for SEO and thought leadership, with Gen X (20%) being the most likely to engage with blogs. Don’t let the low percentage of consumers preferring blog posts scare you — search engines aren’t leaving us anytime soon, which means SEO is just as important as ever.

To maximize success, I focus on creating content that, yes, aligns with the different stages of the buyer’s journey but also shows readers you value their time by giving them unique insights or perspectives. Beyond that, I incorporate visuals and include clear calls to action throughout the post.

Ana Reisdorf, the founder of RWS: Content + Strategy, also prefers this approach for SEO-based blog content. Reisdorf notes that clients are mostly supplement or food brands who see the same information over and over online, like product reviews.

“So we’ve taken a different approach and instead are writing articles that still share the benefits of a particular product but are focused on how we personally use the product,” adds Reisdorf.

In short, don’t do what everyone else is doing if you want to stand out. Make your coverage of any topic better by giving it your own spin, and readers will reward you. Plus, as Google’s algorithm continues to favor content that follows EEAT guidelines, having a unique approach may net you a few top ranks in the SERPs.

Now that we’ve covered how users consume content, let’s dive into the most memorable content types for consumers according to HubSpot’s Consumer Trends Report.

What types of content are memorable to consumers?

So, we know how people like to consume content, but what makes them remember a content piece? According to HubSpot, the top three most memorable content types brands can share are funny content, content that showcases a brand’s products, and relatable content.

The questions I asked marketers echoed similar responses — nearly all of them incorporated these content styles into their marketing efforts, seeing immediate results.

Let’s go over what each of these content types entail, with real-life examples you can take inspiration from.

Funny Content

A full 52% of consumers say humorous content is the most interesting and memorable. I couldn’t agree more. A funny post from a brand lives in my head rent-free. Not to mention, the brands I see make jokes are the ones who get attention and maintain it.

How Marketers Measure Up

From what I’ve seen, funny content drives lots of engagement in social media, and you know what that means as much as I do: high marketing ROI potential.

HubSpot’s 2024 Social Media Marketing Trends report showed that our peers are also seeing the potential in humor, with 97% of the surveyed marketers stating they’re willing to invest in funny social media content.

Considering the same report reveals that 24% of marketers achieved the highest social media ROI with funny content, more and more marketers might be down with getting a little silly moving forward. The amount of attention you can get from one viral post makes it worthwhile.

What Can Marketers Do?

After scrolling on X and TikTok for a little bit, it became clearer to me why funny content is one of the most memorable, engaging, and high-quality content types for audiences. The emotion. And the humanity.

For example, Wendy’s often drops some out-of-pocket tweets or comments on trending social media posts and memes, showcasing their wits. Here, they used a little humor to play on the idea that they removed the vanilla frosty:

Wendy’s social media discussing the vanilla frosty, playfully joking about its removal from the menu.

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But the funny marketing doesn’t stop at X posts or TikTok comment sections. I’ve noticed many brands turning to video content on platforms like YouTube and Instagram Reels to post their funny content.

Julia McCoy, president of Content at Scale, turned to YouTube for Content at Scale’s April Fools videos for 2023 and 2024, stating, “Most of our regular pieces of content are educational in nature. So, we wanted to find opportunities to engage with users in a more lighthearted way and give them a deeper look at our brand’s personality.”

To achieve that, Content at Scale created satirical videos for April Fools’ Day announcing fake features like “Emoji Writing” and “401 keyword-reading glasses.”

According to McCoy, “The reception was fantastic, with some users even asking if they could purchase the glasses as merchandise! Through these videos, we’ve been able to show a more human, relatable side to our brand.”

And that’s why I believe funny quips and videos can be so effective — you’re no longer a faceless brand that just sells and sells. You’re a human, just like the customers, who share similar interests.

Similarly, long-form content like podcasts, vlogs, and webinars gives your brand the leeway to express itself. You could make an April Fool’s video, do a behind-the-scenes tour, or perhaps do in-office interviews asking co-workers funny questions.

Content Showcasing a Brand’s Products or Services

The second most memorable form of content type is demo content, cited by 39% of consumers. That certainly explains why I’ve seen an influx of viral, review-type videos pop up on my feed more. After all, if there’s interest in a product, there’s bound to be a demand for reviews.

How Marketers Measure Up

While funny content tends to outperform product-focused content, marketers continue to focus on product-based content.

And I get it — it’s much easier to make product-centric content consistently. It demands less awareness of ongoing trends and an entry-level knowledge of memes (in which I’m well-versed).

What Can Marketers Do?

Finding where your customers are spending time allows you to create content that will reach them. And, for many brands, that’s using short-form video content on TikTok and Instagram Reels.

For example, Glossier is turning toward posting user-generated content (UGC) on its feed. From what I can see, countless brands are using popular content UGC in their advertisements, playing on the idea of personalization and authenticity.

glossier

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If you’re wondering why, the answer is simple. UGC shows real customers demoing the product. It’s easy for viewers to imagine themselves using the product and experiencing the benefits.

Often, it’s hard to tell that the account behind the content is a brand, slipping past the natural response to keep scrolling through a product video or ad.

One of the marketers I talked to, Yaroslav Melnyk, co-founder at kudos.tv, shared his process for creating relatable TikTok content:

“We present our profile and content in a way that doesn‘t scream ‘corporate.’ We aim for a genuine, ‘DIY’ look, using simple filming setups at my home, incorporating interiors that look close to our target audience’s aesthetics, and maintaining an informal tone in our communications.”

This TikTok brand uses short-form content to attract leads by being relatable.

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What I liked about Yaroslav’s approach to short-form content was how it wasn’t clear that the videos were from a brand until you clicked on the profile. And as you can tell from the comments above, most of the viewers didn’t either. Those who did, however, were funneled into trying out the product because of the product demo video style.

And this “hidden in plain sight” type of content is extremely common for short-form videos on TikTok and Instagram Reels. It’s relatable, baits engagement (e.g., quiz videos where accounts request users post their answers in the comments), and builds trust.

As someone who’s posted videos on TikTok and received hundreds of thousands of views, I can’t stress enough the importance of engagement via comment section and social sharing.

If a video receives almost zero likes but has an above-average number of comments, the platform will still push the video to more viewers. Based on my personal experience, shares and comments are weighed more heavily.

And that’s why you’ll often see controversy get stirred up — to get people commenting. That’s not to say you absolutely have to go wild to get people to comment; being relatable is just as potent.

Relatable Content

Lastly, 38% of consumers prefer content that’s relatable. And 63% say authentic, relatable social media content is more important than polished, high-production posts.

Think about the last time you scrolled social media. How often did you see a high-production video versus a low-budget relatable one? For me, it’s probably 95% selfie-style short-form videos.

How marketers measure up

It makes sense that relatable content also tops the list given the shift in social media preferences I’ve seen. Most platforms are shifting to short-form video, the perfect medium for relatable content. Just grab a phone, point it at yourself selfie-style, and record a personal story or skit.

That’s why around 95% of marketers plan to continue or increase their investment in a relatable, authentic content marketing strategy. And, I believe we should. As social media becomes more widely adopted, full-scale productions for commercials are out, and selfie-style, one-on-one talk videos are in.

What can marketers do?

UGC content falls into both categories of product demos and relatable content simultaneously. And that’s not the only type of relatable content. Great content can include responding to comments, talking about commonalities (interests and pain points), or even interviews.

For example, Lucy Vincent, founder of LVS Digital Marketing, shared her thoughts on leveraging relatable Instagram Reels to connect with her audience, gain new followers, and push ideas:

“This street interview I did was extremely relatable to my target audience, people who are pursuing or thinking about pursuing marketing degrees. The video showed them my expertise, drove traffic to my page, and helped viewers engage with me.”

How marketers can create relatable video content.

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Relatable content provides an open forum for viewers to engage with you and your brand. Most of the time, your content will not do the selling — your product page will.

The main takeaway from these memorable content types is that you should always aim to create shareable content. Whether it’s funny, a product demo, or relatable (although they’re not mutually exclusive), the fact that users enjoy watching always provides value.

And that’s it for the most memorable content types. If you’d like to see the other six content types people found most memorable, check out HubSpot’s Consumer Trends Report.

What types of content do consumers prefer for learning about products and services?

As a marketer, you never really know whether something will work unless you test it. Fortunately, HubSpot’s data can point us in the right direction when it comes to determining which social media platforms to focus on (it’s probably not what you think).

Here’s some key data I found from the report:

Which different types of content does your audience prefer to learn about products or services?

I think the primary takeaway for marketers is that a multichannel approach is essential. Regardless of your product/service, expanding your reach through different channels is how you’ll continue to scale and grow — product discovery doesn’t happen on one type of content or platform.

How Marketers Measure Up

Marketers are catching on — 43% of social media marketers plan to try short-form video content for the first time in 2024. And for good reason, 36% of social media marketers agree that short-form video has the highest ROI.

I’ve found it relatively cheap and easy to create, given that it’s typically authentic and relatable. Plus, the potential of going viral and getting free attention means it could be the most lucrative form of advertising out there.

Get started on social media platforms your customers wouldn’t expect to see you on — just do it. I find it refreshing to see a brand I wouldn’t expect to see on TikTok, dropping comments on viral videos and creating “days in the life.” It shows personality.

What Can Marketers Do?

To effectively reach consumers, here are some actionable steps you can take:

Leverage user-generated content.

Consumers crave authentic, relatable content, and user-generated content is an excellent way to meet this demand. In my experience, encouraging customers to create and share content featuring your products through social media contests, rewards programs, or reposting their content (with permission) can be highly effective.

UGC serves as social proof and provides a cost-effective way to generate fresh, engaging content that resonates with your target audience.

Partner with influencers.

Collaborating with influencers who align with your brand values and have a strong connection with your target audience can be a powerful way to reach new customers. I’ve found that prioritizing influencers who have a genuine affinity for your brand and can create authentic, relatable content that showcases your products in a natural way yields the best results.

I don’t know about you, but when I see influencer marketing, I only buy when it’s someone I trust. Influencers who shill products left and right for a payday aren’t something I typically buy. And that’s why finding the right creators to promote your products is so important for your ROI.

Try social media shops and marketplaces.

If you’ve scrolled through TikTok in the past three months or so, you’ve likely seen a video promoting a product through TikTok Shop.

These product review videos are being pushed by the algorithm as a way to test out the feature, and by proxy, marketers are receiving hundreds and thousands of views (and testimonials) without paying for advertisements.

TikTop Shop perfectly coincides with the data, too, as well as personal experience. Potential customers want authenticity, relatability, and personalization — which TikTok Shop covers.

I’ve noticed the typical video style is a review, case study, or tutorial. The creator gives their thoughts on the product, resulting in an influx of questions in the comments and often sales for the creator, who receives affiliate commissions. For you, all of this is extra promotion, expanding your reach as a brand. And it’s exactly what most consumers are looking for.

What percentage of consumers prefer authenticity over high-production value?

Not only does a program like this drive traffic and brand awareness, but it also drives new content you could potentially repurpose for advertising. I’ve noticed that the first three seconds of a TikTok Shop video, otherwise known as the hook of the video, are nearly identical to a typical advertisement.

Data-Driven Marketers Stay Ahead of the Curve

Staying ahead of the curve involves looking at the generalized data and comparing it to the data you’ve gathered on your own customers. That way you’ll have a better idea of where to focus your efforts.

After seeing the data, I can’t help but recommend taking a look at the channels you’re already using and which ones you aren’t.

For instance, a B2B company might create SEO content and long-form vide but not short-form video or writing. While you might not think your target audience is on those platforms, I can assure you that some are and they’re waiting to be introduced to your brand.

Consumer preferences are constantly evolving, which keeps things interesting.

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