Lately I've been predicting that the future of content marketing is what I call no-content marketing: that content's very success is rapidly creating an over-supply, which is causing its value to plummet past zero.
Soon enough, we will have gone from paying for content, to consuming free content, to paying to avoid content. So marketing based on content will evolve in response -- to no-content marketing.
Super Bowl XLVIII has just given us a peek at that evolution in progress: the unreadable -- by humans -- storm of tweets with the #superbowl hashtag:
This video is a capture of six seconds worth of activity as seen via Tweetdeck. No human could follow that torrent of commentary on the trouncing of Peyton Manning and the Broncos by Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.
But machines could -- and did.
Humans were not, and could not be, that tweet stream's primary audience. Instead, it was social listening software, such as Radian6 or Sysomos (or many others). Such software extends digital sensors throughout the online universe, monitoring ripples in an endless flood of topics, brand references and sentiment.
It reports what it finds back to a new breed of marketer, who seeks to convert big data into big dollars.
What does this mean for content creators? That knowing your audience has a new meaning. Along with figuring out what might interest humans, you increasingly need to appeal to machines.
You're already doing so. By carefully choosing the right key words, hashtags and @ handles, you're structuring human language more and more like computer code.
The trend may lead to where online finance already is. Just as stocks and bonds are autotraded in milliseconds, soon other kinds of selling will occur machine-to-machine, with no people involved.
Robot marketers and customers will murmur in the dark, and the humans will go do something else.