Whether you're a seasoned marketer or just want to make your Youtube video sing, your content won't have the reach you want unless you incorporate what viewers ache for. But what in the hades is that, exactly? Storyblocks, which specializes in providing video, images and audio for all types of content, conducted a mass analysis of 64 million searches and 38 million downloads on their site to identify the latest content trends. The analysis, summarized in the Storyblocks 2018 Trends Guide, focused on year-over-year growth from 2016 to 2017.

Representing a diverse, real world


One of the biggest findings from Storyblocks' analysis, as evident in their infographic, was that people are looking for authenticity in their content. They want options that mirror the diversity and relatable everyday life they see in the real world--they want to see themselves. Storyblocks' CEO, TJ Leonard, elaborates.

"For decades consumers chased a celebrity ideal of composed, jetset, and beautiful, and advertisers followed. [...] The combination of our increasingly connected, urban world, and the belief that our headlines don't represent the majority view have led directly to consumers and creatives alike tossing out this old ideal, and replacing it with a more authentic reflection of our lives.

"In our day to day we take our kids to school, live and work in diverse communities, and make mistakes. We find fulfillment not by holding ourselves to an impossible ideal, but by connecting in a more meaningful way with the people we care about, and picking ourselves up when we stumble. The more upside down the outside world becomes, the more we retreat inward for inspiration. You can see this phenomenon represented by massive increases in the demand for diverse ("LGBT" searches +782% year over year), urban ("cities" +1,285%, "street photography" +162%) and real ("authentic" +134%, "real people" +58%) content. We want to make connections with people and characters we can relate to, which represents a stark contrast to trends of the last 50 years."

Erwin De Boer, founder and creative director for Reeldeal, concurs.

"Trends reflect changes in our day-to-day-life. There is a need for authentic and real imagery, steering away from the cliches and unachievable aspirations that advertising previously focused on. People want to see people they can relate to. As our society becomes more openly diverse, content creators need to represent these communities."

A balance for all the seriousness and nonsense


But for as much as people want what's relatable, they're also tired of weighty content. In a time marked by divisive politics, uncertain and more competitive job markets and greater responsibilities, consumers want content that counterbalances the truth of the world's seriousness. They're looking to enjoy simple things and be uplifted. Subsequently, content is trending toward the fun and comforting.

  • "Playful" +34 percent
  • Vibrant +24 percent
  • Junk food + 9 percent overall (e.g., fries +8 percent, ice cream +5 percent)

What the data means for your content strategy


Much of the message about content has been figuring out how to "wow" a viewer. Bright colors, catchy tunes, explosions, whatever it took--after all, you have to stand out to have a voice among millions, right? But Storyblocks' data suggests that you'll get far more bang for your buck if your "wow" comes from simple empathy, from giving viewers the sense they're not alone and that there's hope. From that standpoint, you need to be quietly or internally dramatic, and you don't need popular shout-in-your-face tactics. The more you can piece together a portrait that says "I understand", the more connected and effective your content will be.