Authenticity vs AI - we predict the big trends in content creation in 2024
Our community of veteran content creators looks ahead to the coming year
What does the year ahead hold in store for content creators? Though this career is full of surprises - such as the Pokémon-alike currently blowing up that no one will have seen coming - it’s also driven by trends that can be perceived, described, analysed, and sometimes even predicted. If you’re a creator looking to grow this year, it pays to give them some thought.
And that’s what we asked our community of veteran content creators to do. What trends do they see in content format, topic, audience behaviour, platform development, and more, and how mature are they? We received a load of thoughtful answers and have put them together in this article to help you plan your approach to 2024.
So read on for your snapshot update on the world of content creation right now - ditch the waning trends, catch the waxing ones, and tell us what you’re planning this year in the comments!
Authenticity vs overproduction vs AI
@MURRRAAAAY sketches what he thinks will be one of the biggest macro trends in 2024:
I think there’s a growing appetite for less heavily edited content which features creators who are just incredibly passionate about their topic, and that we’ll see more and more creators like this blowing up. Over-the-top content - aka Mr Beast - will always have a place, but I feel people are getting fed up with it and looking for something more authentic and real. This trend is being driven by video podcasts in which people can just sit talking for hours on a particular niche, and it can be super engaging. This will be further helped by the number of users watching YouTube on TV, which is increasing all the time.
The question of authenticity also overlaps big time with that of AI, which was a major throughline in our discussion. AI content is so easy to make that Murray predicts a flood of “garbage content,” with human-created content acquiring a premium by comparison, possibly helping creators who brand themselves on this new dividing line in the community.
Could ‘Absolutely no AI’ become a new selling point? It’s an optimistic view, as a flood of AI content could simply smother human creators unless platforms build tools to “differentiate, tag, and call out AI content, potentially allowing users to filter or block it altogether.”
@lanah_tyra says “it really seems like you have to use AI to keep up with the competition,” but, building on Murray’s point, the consensus is that you have to be very careful how you use it. Digital audiences are tech-savvy, and they know that much of today’s generative AI works by scraping art from human creators and then regurgitating a pastiche of it, uncredited. Expect “a more open attack - I’ve seen it happen - against those who use AI to create art out of nowhere and try to sell it as their own work,” says Lanah.
On the other side of the debate are those who believe that audiences will embrace not just AI art, but AI artists. A company called 1337 has created several dozen AI entities each with a social media presence. For what purpose? Well, though the website invites its Discord community to tell the AIs what to do next as if it were a game, we confidently assume they will be monetised in competition with real creators. Just About’s founder and CEO @rupert shared the FT’s coverage of companies that exist to do just that, “disrupting” the lucrative influencer economy with AI entities. It quotes Rebecca McGrath, Associate Director for Media and Technology at market research firm Mintel:
Influencers themselves have a lot of negative associations related to being fake or superficial, which makes people feel less concerned about the concept of that being replaced with AI or virtual influencers. For a brand, they have total control versus a real person who comes with potential controversy, their own demands, their own opinions.
You can see the logic - real people’s opinions sure can be inconvenient - but that’s people for you. To claim that brands would want virtual influencers to promote their products is to claim that people will respond to the same old tightly controlled marketing as long as it comes from a robot on social media. It’ll be up to users to decide if what we enjoyed about influencers and content creators was their authenticity, or just the veneer of it.
Platform wars: the decline of Twitch?
The rise and fall of platforms is a constant in content creation. For many years Twitch has been the leader in streaming. Will that remain the case? Here’s Lanah:
I see more and more creators either shifting away from Twitch or at least starting to multistream, not just to YouTube and Kick, but also to Twitter and Instagram, which was not that popular before. With Twitch’s recent calls, like over ‘artistic nudity’ (how to put it nicely… a stupid idea, maybe?), I think we’ll see even more creators trying to switch to alternative platforms.
Lanah refers to a recent decision around content policy that Twitch has now walked back, but which hardly inspires confidence. It also faces stiff competition not just from dedicated competitors like Kick, but from other platforms muscling in on its turf, with Elon Musk apparently determined to turn Twitter, or X, into an ‘everything app’ and offering financial rewards for content creators. It’s too early to say if any of these challengers will come good - Mr Beast doesn’t seem convinced by X’s offering - but it’s safe to say Twitch is in its toughest spot for a while. Are you going to experiment with other streaming platforms? Let us know in the comments!
The fate of shorts
TikTok put short-form video content on the map with its explosive growth from 2020 onwards. As other platforms responded with new verticals such as Instagram Reels or YouTube Shorts, 2023 was another big year for this format. @EveOnlineTutorials thinks they will be “more and more” of a traffic source for creators, but Murray and @avrona reckon that, while they’ll still be popular, the surge will slow down a bit. Here’s Murray:
We will see short-form content slow down unless the monetisation opportunities are greatly enhanced, as there is no comparison between a long-form video getting a lot of views vs a short. It will have its place, but I see it more for community contact/building than earning a living.
Gaming genres: MMOs are out, survival is in
MMOs, in my opinion, will begin to fade as a main genre based on the constant stream of failed MMO launches. Single-player survival games, which require less of a time commitment, will do better.
That’s Eve Online Tutorials’s take on the gaming genres that are set to rise or fall in the 2024 creator landscape. While it’s always been notoriously difficult for devs to make MMOs work, it does feel like the genre’s usual headwinds are extra gusty nowadays: nothing notable has come from smaller devs, while you have to go back to 2022 to find the latest big-budget entries, like Lost Ark and New World, which performed well on launch but couldn’t convince players to stick around. Even Destiny 2, a genre mainstay, is entering the series’s tenth year at a very low ebb.
The point about the survival games is also astute, though, as the genre’s slate for 2024 is looking very exciting. Pokémon-alike Palworld is blowing up even as we write, and later this year we can expect Nightingale, Jurassic Park Survival, STALKER 2, ARK 2, and possibly Light No Fire. While there’s no release date on the horizon yet, it will be interesting to see how Dune: Awakening - a survival MMO - performs given it has a foot in both camps.
@Sturmer has discovered the advantages of 360-degree filming, and reckons we might see more creators making use of it in 2024. As you might guess, it’s made possible by twinned wide-angle cameras that shoot everything around them at the same time, in “all directions and angles.”
Secure in the knowledge that your camera will have captured everything - no more missing anything out of shot! - you can concentrate on your own presentation while filming, and think about angles and framing in post-production. You can even change the aspect ratio of a clip at the push of a button - super useful for uploading to different platforms that prefer portrait, landscape, square, or whatever.
This technology also opens up new avenues for content reuse. For instance, a single adventure travel video can be repurposed into a panoramic view of a landscape, an action-focused clip, and a behind-the-scenes peek, all from the same footage. This efficiency and versatility are invaluable in today’s fast-paced content creation landscape. 360-degree video technology has not just been an upgrade; it’s been a complete overhaul in the way I conceive, produce, and deliver content. Creators who adopt it early and learn to use it properly will have a significant advantage.
360 filming has its own art, so here’s a YouTube video with a few tips to both elucidate the advantages while steering you around common pitfalls.
Nostalgia and translucent boxes
Finally, @HaiAlexx reckons “the see-through purple design is going to come back” in consumer technology, referencing a classic Game Boy. “I have seen a few keyboards and keycaps on the market that use this same design.”
We don’t have the stats on how much new consumer tech comes in translucent coloured boxes, so we can’t rule out an element of wishful thinking here. But then Avrona also predicts the “biggest nostalgia wave yet for old YouTube and content around it,” and there have certainly been sillier hunches than the notion that a deluge of AI content could spark a yearning for lo-fi, raw, underproduced content that hearkens to a bygone era - amateurish, perhaps, but redolent with authenticity. See also: the ‘demake’ phenomenon in video games. Don’t rule it out.
And that’s what our expert community of content creators reckons 2024 has got in store. What do you think of their predictions? Which trend are you tackling, and can you think of any they missed? Let us know in the comments!
Some text has been edited for brevity. You can find the original wording at thebounty post.