Internet user experience expert Joe Arcuri helps cut through the confusion when it comes to...
The Integrated Advantage
One could say digital history began 4,000 years ago, when the ancient Babylonians developed the number zero. Or that it began in September 1969, when a campus computer at UCLA became the first node of the Internet.
By any reckoning, however, the revolution ignited by digital technology has thoroughly transformed every aspect of life, and none more thoroughly than marketing. Digital communications affects virtually every mechanism by which businesses talk to their customers, from advertising and public relations to customer relations management and promotions.
Yet as great as the challenge of harnessing new technology may be, the excitement over digital communications’ potential is even greater.
Adopting Online Opportunities
“I barely get through my to-do list each day, yet somehow I find time to update my Facebook status or Twitter about my latest blog post,” wrote Miami Herald columnist Cindy Krischer Goodman in March 2009.1 “So I really shouldn’t be shocked that busy people like me are joining a Facebook page about Kraft foods, swapping recipes on a blog or participating in a Cooking Challenge on YouTube.”
Indeed, using the Internet to surf for news, information or video has become routine, and new milestones are reached seemingly daily:
- In 2008, Pew Research found that for the first time, more people got their news for free online than through print publications.2
- In the first quarter of 2008 alone, the Magazine Publishers of America found that consumer magazine websites averaged more than 70 mil-lion unique monthly visitors—12 percent more than during the same period in 2007.3
- In April 2009, an Accenture study reported that 73 percent of respondents watch tele-vision shows on more than one platform. And 74 percent would watch video on computers; 45 percent on mobile devices.4
As new users settle into the digital culture, the stereotypes about who uses digital communications are rapidly shattering:
- According to online research resource eMarketer, from 2005 to 2008, the largest jump in adoption of Internet usage was by users age 70 and older.5
- eMarketer also found that people 55 and older accounted for nearly one-third of the Web audience—and spend more time online than young adults.6
See Exhibit 1 for a generational snapshot of online use.