Content discovery has always been at the heart of digital marketing, but its nature has changed significantly.

Now, we have dedicated channels and tools to help users find content they may think interesting or entertaining. People can browse these tools based on categories or similar stories, or they can get recommendations based on their behavior.

Marketers should expect content discovery to be a big deal in 2017. Here’s what you need to know about the factors contributing to the rise of content discovery 2017:

Social Media Sharing

Most people spend at least some time on social media every day. And many of those people use social media to check in on the people they know and what’s happening in the world.

A lot of users share interesting articles, news stories, videos and memes as the majority of their posting – second to pictures of babies and children, of course.

Many people learn about the news and interesting content because of this sharing. Marketers have taken notice, and not only are they sharing more of their content on social media, but they are also putting more resources into content discovery tools to try to get the same results.

Social media sharing has shown marketers just how valuable content discovery can be for getting the word out about brands.

User Behaviors

Marketers know very well that their audiences are short on time and short on attention. Everyone has a busy schedule, and people are inundated with media demanding their time.

That’s why we write articles with short sentences, bolded words and bullet lists – so users can read or scan them quickly.

People don’t want to spend a lot of time looking for content. They want to discover it instantly. That’s one reason why scrolling through a news feed on social media is so popular.

Content discovery systems make it easy for users to jump from article to article without spending a lot of time or effort doing so. They don’t have to leave the page to conduct a new search and then click on a new site – they can click from one article to the next.

Changing Search

In the past, “content discovery” was just search. You go to a search engine and put in some terms to discover content related to those keywords.

Now, search engines are moving away from traditional keyword matching to give users the content they want. Google has refined its algorithm so that it doesn’t just seek and find keywords, but it looks for topical relevance and quality of information.

Google will continue to evolve, so what we know as search today may become something entirely unrecognizable in the not too distant future. Content discovery platforms are a harbinger of what’s to come across the board.

User Intent Signals

Content discovery systems used to make recommendations based on the websites that people visited.

They used simple cookies to see what pages people visited and then recommended other pages that were similar in nature.

The problem with this method is that it did not take into account whether the pages that people visited were actually valuable to them. You probably visit dozens of web pages a day that are total losses. You click on the page and immediately click away when you realize the page doesn’t have what you want or need.

New discovery systems take into account user-intent signals, which is made possible by more advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence technology. These systems look for clues about what the user is searching for when visiting pages. Clues can include the time spent on a page, the flow from one page to another, the time of day, the location and more.

The availability of this technology is making content discovery platforms more effective, which is making them more popular. People are getting more targeted recommendations, leading to more clickthroughs and conversions, which is increasing the participation of users and brands.

The Right Tools

Since content discovery is only going to continue to grow, it is important that you start using it in your content marketing strategy. The best way to do that is to use the right tools to help you get the reach you want with the audience you want.