Understanding the complex dynamics of modern content management systems (CMS) is a must for any organization aiming to compete in the digital space. The “State of CMS 2024” report provides deep insights into these dynamics and the evolving practices and preferences in CMS usage among businesses worldwide.

Drawing from a comprehensive survey of 1,719 businesses, this report highlights the shift from the reliance on a single CMS to the adoption of multiple systems, showing how and where organizations need to adapt their digital content strategies to remain viable.

The report’s key findings reveal a rapid shift in content management, driven by the need to meet the escalating demands for a seamless omnichannel experience. With digital interaction points proliferating, businesses are diversifying their CMS tools to deliver consistent, personalized content across various platforms and devices. This evolution reflects a broader trend toward the adoption of tech and digital innovation while adapting to the changing ways consumers engage with digital content.

1. Decline in single CMS usage

In 2022, nearly half (43%) of surveyed organizations report relying on one CMS to manage their digital content. Fast forward to 2023, that percentage drops to 24% – a major shift in organizational content management practices. This trend continues well into 2024, with only 19% of organizations sticking to a single CMS.

This downward trend highlights the growing complexity of digital content requirements and the increasing demands for a seamless omnichannel experience. Organizations should seek to engage their audience across multiple platforms and touchpoints, which in turn requires a more versatile and robust approach to content management. 

Many organizations are making the transition from a single CMS to leveraging multiple systems in a bid to cater to diverse content types and distribution channels. The ultimate aim here is to provide a cohesive user experience across all customer interactions.

The shift towards multiple CMS usage points out the challenges organizations face in creating and maintaining a consistent and personalized customer experience. With the digital landscape continually evolving, businesses recognize the need to be agile and adaptable, employing diverse tools and platforms to meet their complex content requirements and stay competitive in the digital marketplace.

What’s driving multiple CMS adoption?

A major shift is occurring in the way organizations manage their digital content, with 67% of them recognizing the need for omnichannel capabilities as a primary reason for adopting multiple content management systems (CMSs). 

Consumers engage with brands across various platforms and devices, expecting a seamless and integrated experience. To meet these expectations, organizations are diversifying their CMS usage.

Omnichannel capabilities allow companies to deliver a consistent and personalized user experience across all channels, from websites and mobile apps to social media and in-store interactions.

With multiple CMSs, businesses can tailor their content management approaches to the specific needs of each channel while maintaining coherence and consistency in their messaging and branding – a direct response to the evolving demands of consumers who seek integrated experiences, no matter how or where they engage with a brand.

2. Future content complexity and IoT

As digital technology advances, content consumption and interaction are undergoing major changes. The State of CMS 2024 report anticipates a decrease in website use, alongside notable increases in the use of emerging technologies. Specifically, the report forecasts a 20% rise in the use of augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), a 13% increase in voice-activated speakers, and a 12% uptick in smartwatch usage.

These projections indicate a future where content is consumed but interacted with in more immersive and varied ways. AR/VR technologies offer new dimensions for content engagement, providing immersive experiences that can enhance user understanding and retention.

Voice-activated speakers and smartwatches hint at a shift towards more accessible and on-the-go content consumption, requiring businesses to adapt their content strategies to be more dynamic and responsive to these emerging platforms – but require technical expertise and sizable investments. 

As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to expand, connecting an ever-increasing number of devices and platforms, the complexity of content management grows. 

Organizations must prepare for a future where content is both multi-channel and multi-dimensional, requiring sophisticated management systems that can deliver personalized and contextually relevant experiences across a diverse ecosystem of devices and user interfaces.

3. Linguistic diversity and collaboration issues

Organizations are increasingly serving a global audience, requiring content availability in multiple languages. The State of CMS 2024 report reveals that 53% of businesses deliver content in 2-3 languages, while 31% cater to audiences in four or more languages. 

This linguistic diversity underscores the need for sophisticated content management systems that can efficiently handle multilingual content so that messages are consistent, accurate, and culturally relevant across different regions.

The report also identifies a major collaboration challenge: 38% of respondents cite working across multiple platforms as the top issue. This challenge stems from the complexity of managing content across different channels and languages, requiring teams to coordinate efforts, maintain brand consistency, and ensure message alignment. 

Difficulties here are exacerbated when teams use disparate systems, leading to potential inefficiencies and inconsistencies in content delivery.

4. Trend towards headless CMS

Interest in headless content management systems (CMSs) is on the rise, with 74% of respondents indicating a likelihood to switch to a headless CMS within the next two years. 

This shift is driven by the need for greater content management flexibility and scalability, as headless CMSs separate the back-end content management from the front-end presentation layer, allowing for more dynamic and versatile content delivery across different platforms and devices.

Adopting headless CMSs is not without merit, as 99% of those who have made the switch report significant improvements. Key benefits include a 61% increase in return on investment (ROI) and a 58% boost in productivity. 

These improvements are likely due to the headless CMS’s ability to streamline workflows, improve content reusability, and accelerate time-to-market, ultimately contributing to better content strategies and engagement with audiences across diverse channels.

Tim Boesen

March 19, 2024

5 Min