The global year-over-year growth rates of Internet users and smartphones has slowed considerably, both in the 9 to 10 percent range in 2015. This signal of Internet penetration may be a concern to those providing Internet services and smartphone devices, but it also signals a maturity of the global network. Whereas businesses were once primarily concerned about consumer Internet adoption, web site development, and the marketing of services, the conversation has turned to how the network can be used to better engage markets and drive product and service delivery. An Internet of people is here today, and a flourishing Internet of Things (IoT) is now at the center of attention. In 2015, it is estimated that there was more than one Internet connected device for every human being on the planet, and that number will grow to 4.6 devices per person by 2020.
The Internet has continually transformed the way businesses operate since it was conceived, and particularly since the “dot.com” era, when myriad Internet-based companies drove a surge of digital innovation. 2017 continues to offer businesses new opportunities to use the global communications network to improve efficiency, productivity and the customer experience. Here’s a few examples of trends that might help you keep your company in step with today’s most exciting technology transformations.
Smartphones are the new desktop
In 2015, a milestone was met in global smartphone adoption – web traffic on phones and portable devices exceeded that of desktops. As the adoption rate continues to rise, it is clear that mobility is no longer an alternative channel for businesses. For consumers and businesses alike, the “mobile-first” movement is just that – the first choice for information and engagement. Some companies with highly targeted mobile audiences are already looking at the next big step in consumer marketing: “mobile-only.”
If you haven’t already designed your web site for optimal mobile responsiveness, now’s the time. Minimal menu options, creative calls-to-action, a continued focus on content – including home-grown images and video– and storytelling that helps your customers experience the true essence of your brand are keys ways to capture attention in the mobile marketplace. Be creative, quick, and convincing to cater to on-the-go consumers.
The building blocks – and roadblocks – of Internet advertising
Digital advertising is hot, but the wild fire isn’t exactly spreading very far. According to research by the Internet Advertising Bureau and PwC, Internet ad revenue continued its record-breaking growth in 2016, reaching $72.5 billion. Mobile advertising dollars made up more than one-half of that spend. While reports differ in terms of where that money is going, it is clear that Google and Facebook continue to control most of the growth in digital advertising dollars. Why? In part, the platforms offer robust personalization, mobile services, and capabilities for ad retargeting, which gives advertisers a way to extend their brand engagement well past the first online ad impression.
While some digital ad platforms are generally available, successful online advertising is a data- and metric-intensive effort that requires ongoing monitoring and optimization. From developing captivating creative to designating correct keywords, the process can be complex. As a result, you may want to work with a reputable digital marketing agency. Also, because many advertising programs are “pay-per-click,” you need to account for the recurring monthly budget requirement for digital advertising. Also, there is one foreseeable obstacle on the horizon – ad-blocking. Still in its relative infancy, it is unclear whether ad-blocking is a consumer protection or a way larger platforms can increase control of ad types and distribution. Regardless, it’s ever more important to monitor the reach of your ads and effectiveness of your digital advertising dollars.
When it’s time for a chat, it’s time for web-chat
As Generation Y establishes itself in the business world, they are also changing the nature of networking and contact channels. The smartphone may be a phone, but Millennials are the first generation to prefer communicating with colleagues and customers via web chat and social media rather by telephone or e-mail. There are significant advantages to this style of communication: remote face-to-face conversations and instant messaging, 24/7 availability and a “connected mindset.” But there’s also a downside: remote face-to-face conversations and instant messaging, 24/7 availability and a “connected mindset.”
Businesses should be sensitive to generational differences, offering technologies and training opportunities to enable communication preferences that meet the needs of the company and its diverse mix of employees. Too many options can be confusing and inefficient, but all employees can benefit by staying current with real-time communication technologies. Another option is an online collaboration platform that strengthens employee efficiency and engagement, integrates communication channels with other work productivity features, and enhances the overall social experience across locations and devices.
The Internet of Things: A trend that can speak for itself
If you’ve interacted with Amazon Echo, Apple Siri, or Google Home, you’ve experienced the power and potential of a digital assistant – and the early advances in artificial intelligence (AI). These personal assistants can give you answers, monitor home automation, and make transactions on your behalf. So, imagine the power of artificial intelligence applied to businesses that can collect massive amounts of company and customer data. At the crossroads of big data and billions of connected devices is the ability for connected devices to learn and to act. Voice recognition is only the beginning. In the world of connected cars, for example, AI can contribute to traffic management, collision avoidance, greater fuel efficiency, parking assistance and a host of other smart activities that benefit consumers, manufacturers and service providers.
One way your company might explore the benefits of artificial intelligence is to build a chatbot into your customer service workflow. A chatbot is a system that processes human information and allows natural language conversations. A customer that comes to your web site or social media platform may have questions or concerns about your company’s offerings or problems with existing products or services. Chatbots can be used to invite the customer into a meaningful conversation, find patterns in a customer’s engagement behavior, determine their product or service needs, and facilitate sales conversion or service resolution.
Bringing innovation to your business
Taking advantage of technology trends requires discovering new ideas, developing new strategies, and organizing new information. Not only is Contentverse here to help, but we’re excited to start 2017 by being recognized by Insights Success Magazine as one of their Thirty Most Innovative Companies to Watch. Contentverse, with its anytime/anywhere availability, is contributing to the transformation of our clients’ business environments through its deployment flexibility, comprehensive security, complete content access, a versatile and powerful viewer, big data analysis capabilities, and an intelligent workflow. We know you want to do big things… and we’re here to help.