If you are in the prediction business it's likely that you'll be wrong more than you are right. It's true if you are predicting the stock market, economics or internet trends.
For example, Irving Fisher, one of America's greatest economists, said in October 1929 that he believed equities had reached a "permanently high plateau." Less than two weeks later, stocks plunged and didn't reach the highs they fell from for 25 years.
In 2010, billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson issued a warning that "the next five years will see us face another crunch – the oil crunch," predicting a severe supply shortage. Today, the price of oil is actually lower than it was then.
And then there is Robert Metcalfe (the inventor of Ethernet). He wrote an article for Infoworld in December 1995 in which he predicted, "I predict the Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse."
But one person stands apart when it comes to internet trends. There's arguably been no person more accurate in their predictions than Mary Meeker.
Her annual internet trends report details how behavior changes in everything from mobile device usage, digital media consumption, augmented reality and even video games will impact your business. You can review her 355 page slide deck here. Read on for the abridged version, part one.
Coupled with continued computing power increases and apps for any purpose, it's not surprising that Internet engagement is increasing. And it's not just checking email. In fact, adult user digital media consumption continues an upward trend.
And with the average at over five hours a day, it's not the desktop where internet consumption is most significant. Mobile now accounts for three of those five hours.
What It Means To Your Business
Regardless of your business, customers access information online and through their mobile device.
Is your website mobile optimized providing a good user experience? By effectively delivering content on mobile and smaller screened devices first, you ensure a good user experience even working up to larger-screened devices.
Most companies don't need a unique mobile designed site. However, your website does need to be a responsive design. This ensures it will conform to the screen size of whatever device is used, making it user friendly.
If you aren't incorporating mobile in your website design, you need to start today.
The Waiting Dynamic
the waiting dynamic
/THə wādiNG dīˈnamik/
the process of staying where one is until a particular time or until something else happens.
Look around the next time you're in line. How many people pull out their mobile device while they wait? I'll bet it's close to 100%.
Waiting has changed. The proliferation of smart phones and internet access causes consumers to operate differently when waiting for anything. Whether it's in a grocery store line, in between courses at a restaurant or stopped in a traffic jam (despite laws against it), the fact is, people make those waits more palatable by spending time on their mobile device.
But, it's not just family photos on Facebook. Consumers use digital media for both personal and business purposes. It's a primary outlet for everything from entertainment to education and research. If you aren't providing valuable content targeting your ideal customer, you won't engage with consumers who increasing look online for that information. They will engage with your content when working and also while waiting. But hopefully not when you are near them in a traffic jam.
Perfect Practice Makes Perfect - Compelling Content Impacts Consumers
Vince Lombardi, one of the most successful football coaches ever, is also known for his many famous quotes. When questioned about the impact of practice he stated, "Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect."
That's how prospects assess content. A half hearted blog post or web page turns them away. Increasingly, consumers opt out of stuff they don't want. Ad blocking growth continues. You need website content that educates, builds understanding and ultimately positions your services to compete in today's online environment.
Meanwhile, content such as emails and even online ads have become virtual storefronts complementary to online and direct selling organizations. With email returning $38 for every dollar spent, expanding your content through effective email programs will impact your business.
Mobile First Indexing Update
But that's not all. Soon, Google will release it's mobile first indexing update as explained by SEO expert Jayson Demers. Which means that mobile sites will get prioritized ahead of desktop. Both Google and Facebook refocused on mobile five years ago. You aren't Google or Facebook but if you think that mobile doesn't/won't impact your business, you're wrong.
The point is, as the internet and user behavior evolve, it creates more opportunities for you to engage with prospects and sell new customers in ways few of us could envision just 10 years ago. If you are behind today, there's still time to catch up, impact your business and leapfrog the competition. Conversely, if you are on track today don't convert to the set it and forget it mode or you'll quickly fall behind.
Lastly, the Internet Trends report contains other actionable information. Next time we'll focus on augmented reality, the impact of voice search, using social media and chat boxes to enhance customer service and more.