Friendly advice – internet trends

A friend recently asked for some themes or trends that he could use at a work brainstorming – I knocked this list of thoughts & opinions out quickly and thought it was worth reproducing here …
1) Mobile internet is quickly overtaking the fixed internet.
The % of people who access the internet from their mobile phone/tablet (ipad et al) is accelerating massively as people buy more smartphones (mostly with big, touch screens, powerful web browsers and the ability to download apps). iPhone currently dominates, but phones running Google’s Android system, and Blackberry are not far behind. Nokia is rapidly losing its overall dominance and does not have a good hold on the high end market. They are using these phones to download apps at a massive rate (these apps often access the internet to do stuff), and they are increasingly visiting regular web sites – though the trend is to design apps and web sites specifically for smartphones. e.g. have a look at m.smh.com.au on an iPhone and see how it compares to www.smh.com.au on the same phone. People with smartphones (which are quickly becoming much much cheaper) have an expectation that they can do anything with their phones that they can do on their PC.

2) Apps are on a meteoric rise
Keyed in with (1), apps are the new way to represent your brand, and to engage with customers, but do not enter into this lightly as you will quickly alienate customers and they will tell you about it. Current stats are that each iPhone/Android customer downloads 8-9 apps per month.

3) Social Media is reaching saturation point. There is not a single demographic that is not deeply engaged with social media in one way or another. Facebook, Twitter and even “Like” on 3rd party sites are important channels. Some are even predicting that in the next couple of years they will supplant search engines and keywords – though I personally believe this is a way off yet. Social Media is overtaking Email as the base-case communication tool.
Twitter is an important one to get right, but check how your target demographics are using it – as there are differing levels of interest.
Stats : Facebook has 550million members (1 in 13 of the earths population). Foursquare went from almost 0 checkins in 2009 to 382million in 2010. 4300% growth – not to be ignored or thought of as fringe.
To get a social media strategy right you’ll need to consider how transparent you want to be with followers and friends, and what impacts this will have on your organisation. You also need to get the language and tone of voice right on your blogs, tweets, status updates etc.

4) Location and group based selling
Mobile : Foursquare is a location-based game turning into “show me local specials” – worth looking at.
Groupon is part of a massively growing group-buying site. Google just offered $4billion to buy it – the founder turned the offer down !
There are many of them popping up – there are a couple of Aussie ones.
Group opinion has taken a while to pick up, but think of sites like tripadvisor.com and the impact that user comments have on the hotels etc.

5) User generated video continues to grow exponentially.
Sites like YouTube and Vimeo are still growing crazily. Think of how many times you’ve seen a YouTube video embedded in a facebook posting. This heavily distributed approach has meant that YouTube is the defacto video site – even though people don’t visit the site itself. Having said that, I’ve heard that branded channels on YouTube are very successful. Have a look for Coke and Nike on YouTube and you’ll get to their channel.

hope that’s some use 🙂

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