Communication professionals are constantly on the lookout to learn more about the evolution of internet discipline. It is perhaps this curiosity that led me to pay specific attention to Mary Meeker, of the venture capitalist firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers’, 2014 version of the Internet Trends Report. There were some points from the report that resonated with me for the clear role that they play in shaping up the future of this business.
#1 Print and broadcast advertising spend is over-indexed vs. the time consumers spend on those mediums, whilst digital and mobile advertising spend is under-indexed. This means that if your brand is spending a lot of money on traditional advertising channels, it’s time to start rebalancing that split. After all, wouldn’t you want to be spending more money on placing your brand where your customers or potential customers are spending most of their time? The following chart says it all – time spent engaging with smartphones, tablets and PCs outstrips TV (and by extrapolation, other forms of traditional advertising) by a long mile in almost every country.
#2 Messaging / chat applications will become the trusted networks of the future, as audiences start shifting away from Facebook and Twitter which are becoming a bit too bloated. After using social networks for around three to four years, you may find that you have accumulated a few hundred friends on Twitter / Facebook but out of those how many would you truly trust? And it’s likely that you would converse with those whom you really trust and are close to via messaging apps / groups instead of over social networks. These factors make messaging applications the new social graph. We already see retail brands – like Text100’s client Rakuten in Singapore – creating profiles on apps like LINE as an alternative shopfront.
#3 Social distribution is happening quicker, but is also dying quicker than before. On average, each article reaches half of its total click through volume (from social networks) in 6.5 hours on Twitter and 9 hours on Facebook. What this means is that your shared stories now only last half a day or slightly more. Timing what you share and making sure it trends quickly is becoming more important as more content floods Twitter and Facebook feeds.
#4 Unfortunately clickbait headlines and listicles seem to be doing rather well in terms of content formats. If you are a brand that is pushing out original content, then these are formats you can consider which seem to have taken off, due to sites like Buzzfeed. That said, on a personal note I really feel that clickbait headlines sort of akin to crying wolf. If you do it too many times and people get disappointed they’ll soon ignore you. So be truthful and don’t overblow things too much.
#5 Content and community will play a bigger role in encouraging online commerce. Having content and community encourages people to spend more time on the site and combined with a commerce function, creates a higher propensity for consumers to spend. So if your brand has an e-commerce shopfront, it might be worth also considering how you can build community in the form of forums/ groups and at the same time push out content on a regular basis to keep customers returning to the site. Get them to interact more with you, build stronger connections and ultimately boost your revenue bottom line.
#6 Multiscreen campaigns (i.e. pairing a TV ad with social content be it on Twitter or Facebook) improves recall, brand preference and purchase intent! This is a gold mine for brands whose community management efforts are in sync with their advertising and marketing campaigns. For companies who aren’t already practising this, think about how you can create added value by just being a bit smarter about timing and syncing up with other teams across the organisation.