Insights from CMWorld 2022: The Truth about Digital Fatigue


Yesterday was the second and final day (officially, that is) of the Content Marketing World 2022 Virtual Experience. Just like day one, which shed some light on the importance of brand voice, it resulted in many valuable takeaways for our team—one being the truth about digital fatigue.

The session “Fight the Fatigue: How to create engaging digital experiences that connect and convert” by Mark Bornstein, VP of Content Marketing at ON24, was too good not to share. So, we thought we’d give a rundown and offer up our thoughts. 

Fatigue (or the actual underlying problem) can have a negative impact on your business. If you don’t understand it and give prospects what they really want, you’ll struggle to convert them into customers. 

First things first…

What Is Digital Fatigue?

Essentially, digital fatigue is a type of mental exhaustion or burnout brought on by excessive use of technology. Although we’ve talked about Zoom fatigue in the past, this concept is a little broader. It’s not limited to Zoom but all digital channels, including… 

…and more.

The idea is that spending too much time in front of screens and using too many digital tools at once can leave people feeling worn down. As a result, they become disengaged. 

Research shows that digital fatigue is a real issue. You may have even experienced it yourself! But the question is whether it’s currently to blame for poor engagement among consumers…

How Digital Fatigue Looked during the Pandemic vs. Now

To dig into the truth about digital fatigue, it’s worth comparing how it looked during the pandemic vs. now. After all, the event introduced a major shift in the amount of technology we use and the frequency with which we use it. With lockdowns in place and face-to-face interactions being restricted, people had no choice but to turn to digital means of communicating, learning, shopping, and more. 

According to a 2021 survey from Pew Research Center, many individuals struggled with the change. 

Additionally, Deloitte’s 2021 Connectivity and Mobile Trends Survey revealed that 32% of U.S. consumers felt overwhelmed by the number of devices and subscriptions they needed to manage. 

What about now?

During his presentation, Bornstein brought up some great points encouraging a change in how we look at digital fatigue. Due to everything that went on in the last few years and the push for digital experiences, we are assuming poor-performing content today is the result of the audience being sick of staring at screens. But that’s not true!

It’s not that these people are fatigued. They’re just tired of bad marketing.

Mark Bornstein, “Fight the Fatigue: How to create engaging digital experiences that connect and covert,” CMWorld 2022

Ultimately, it boils down to audience expectations. People have grown used to what has been done before. They expect more out of every experience brands deliver.

What This Means for Your Business

If your content hasn’t been performing well, it may sting to hear it’s an issue on your part and not the result of actual digital fatigue. But the fact is you can’t do the same thing expecting the same results. It takes more and better interactions to convince people to connect and eventually convert.

According to a 2021 study by Forrester on buying behavior

In the current landscape, you can’t keep blaming the audience or the channels. You need to look closely at what you’re doing and how you can improve. More specifically, you need to meet those new audience expectations and give them what they truly want.

With every content channel, you need to be thinking about ‘Am I engaging this audience as effectively as I can?’

Mark Bornstein, “Fight the Fatigue: How to create engaging digital experiences that connect and covert,” CMWorld 2022

How to Deliver Digital Experiences That Engage

Joel and Holland of Viral Solutions smiling down at a smartphone, enjoying an engaging digital experience.

People today have less patience for mediocre marketing. We need to focus our content around delivering an incredible and engaging user experience.

1) Take Personalization up a Notch

Your audience won’t engage if they don’t find your content valuable to them specifically. That’s why you should take personalization up a notch. Dig deep into what they want and would benefit from (analytics can work to your advantage here), and give it to them—product recommendations, social groups, webinars, additional learning, etc.

2)  Make Interaction Fun and Easy

A big part of today’s so-called “digital fatigue” results from passive content. People no longer want just to read and listen. They want to participate! 

So, make interaction fun and easy for them at every touchpoint possible. 

3) Be Authentic and Human

Bland content from faceless brands is becoming obsolete. Now, content needs to come from a place of authenticity. Your audience is more likely to engage with your content if they can tell it’s coming from a real person. Don’t be afraid to be human—your audience expects and will appreciate it.

4) Use Distraction to Your Advantage

During his presentation, Bornstein noted that it’s normal for people to get distracted, so you might as well distract them with your own content.

What does this mean?

It means you should let go of the idea that your audience needs to be completely focused on the content they’re consuming at the moment—like a webinar. Instead, give them the chance to explore and engage with you in a different way. Add an interactive chat, a survey, links to relevant articles, links to guides, etc. 


People can and do suffer from real digital fatigue. But more often than not, it’s not to blame for poor-performing content. Today’s consumers are just sick of poor marketing and have come to expect more out of experiences with brands online. So, make it a priority to change how you do things to meet audience expectations. 

CMWorld 2022 may be over, but rest assured our team is already putting what we’ve learned into practice. If you struggle with producing effective content for your business, check out our content marketing blogs for more tips. And if you need additional help with your marketing, reach out for a free consultation!


At Viral Solutions we are committed to seeing YOU succeed. It is our goal to grow your business with proven digital marketing strategies that will help your business for the long haul.

Stay Up To Speed in the Ever Changing World of Marketing!

Sign-up today for FREE, monthly marketing tips, loopholes, and news to EXPLODE your Return on Investment!


Share your knowledge and gain exposure by becoming a guest author on our blog! Learn how to write for us.

Filed Under: Content Creation

About Holland

As a graphic designer, Holland understands how design fits into the bigger picture of marketing and advertising. She knows that each design has a strategic purpose intended to compel our clients’ customers to act.

Her keen eye for design and advanced knowledge of Adobe creative software gives her an edge in creating stunning graphics for social media, web pages, and more.

When Holland isn't working, she's reading, playing Switch, or tending to her many plants. She loves to spend her weekends looking for vintage antiques and relaxing in her hammock.