Yesterday we heard some pearls of wisdom out of Davos from the Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidtwho proclaimed that “…the internet will disappear.” To many of us who work in the industry of internet marketing, this should come as no surprise…but to most it still is.
In November of 2014, an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “The Web Is Dying; Apps Are Killing It” was published after many prognostications dating back a number of years now that mobile is transforming the internet landscape. Additionally, many industry experts now predict that the number of people accessing websites in 2015 from mobile devices will exceed those who access them by PC. Why is this important? Because most websites in use today were not designed for mobile access.
But then again, neither was the web.
Many product innovators talk about the point of inflection in which products and industries hit their peak growth and then decline. So has the web and the internet as we know it today hit the point of inflection? More importantly, what forms of information and access will now replace it?
Here is what I do know: the growth of the internet without the simultaneous growth in access points (personal PC’s) was not possible. The growth of personal computing enabled the internet to grow and flourish but the sales of personal computers is now in decline - being replaced by mobile devices. Anybody who has ever tried to access and use the internet on a mobile device which is a mere fraction of the size of a 1024 X 768 resolution computer screen knows the limitations this now presents. Additionally, mobile now enables and utilizes something else a PC could never do: your location at any one time. This is what has help lead to alternative search applications we now refer to as “Apps.”
How have Apps changed the game? We know from the aforementioned Wall Street Journal article that 85% of smart phone users spend their smart phone time on Apps while only 14% of their time is spent on the web. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to visit any school, restaurant and bar to notice how pervasive the amount of time people now spend on smart phones truly is.
So here is the million dollar question: what will replace the internet?
First off, nobody knows the answer to this question and if they think they do, well, they don’t. We may not be able to predict the future but we can look at trends and see the following:
- Apps are beginning of the next evolution of virtual productivity. As I have previously written, Apps are revolutionary in how they enable and improve processes in our everyday lives and the impacts are pervasive. Uber for example, which was in large part enabled by the Uber App is now helping to transform the nightlife and revitalization of downtown LA.
- The days of the website are dying along with the web. Will websites every completely go away? Not likely. But what will change is how websites are used and their overall importance in internet marketing. Far too many brand plays are now being made into the web for people to only trust one source of information – namely your own website. Decisions made online are increasingly non-linear and involve multiple information points and citations. Moreover, smart phone access is leading to increasing levels of alternative search vehicles and away from major search engines which were the mainstay of websites.
- Google’s biggest threat is mobile – which is likely why they are trying to roll-out high-speed fiber networks and now mobile wireless services to their customers. Google understands what ultimately enabled the web (and their initial meteoric growth) and how losing that enablement threatens all of the advertising revenue they receive from businesses who advertise on their sustained search volume that the web provides.
- Your brand is no longer your website alone that you control but increasingly every web property that gives visibility to your brand that you largely do not. People now trust third party sources and reviews about you – even from nameless, faceless people on the web. This is what helped enable companies like Amazon.com to sell books and YELP to sell advertising. Search and trust on the web is no longer linear but involves multiple decision points all of which increasingly lead to action or inaction. How much inaction? Recent studies have shown that 45% of consumers have found something online that caused them NOT to do business with someone and most of this came from third-party brand sources.
In conclusion, yes, the web and the internet as we know it is indeed going through a major innovation transformation led largely by the change in access enablement from the personal PC to smart phones. Some will call this the death of the web or the disappearance of the internet – all of which makes for great headlines. What they don’t tell you is how quickly this death is coming and what it will be replaced with but we do know this for certain: it is coming and faster than anybody thought…
#lawyermarketing #apps #mobile #branding #internet #web