Don’t you find keeping up with the latest technological advances a rather exhausting affair? In a recent post, I wrote about how increasingly difficult it is to select the right social media platform for your business objectives, much less tailor all your websites to the different technological platforms (browsers and mobile operating systems). In terms of social media, we have to decide between Big Blue (Facebook) and Light Blue (Twitter) — sounds a bit like Oxford versus Cambridge? Then there are the “others,” representing different target audiences, different habits, digital assets and degrees of maturity. Because resources are limited, we have to make choices.
On the mobile side, when (not “if”) you look to create a mobile-friendly version of your site, the challenge for digital marketers is making the web or eCommerce site work on all the different platforms. Just because Android is numerically the most important, the number of versions seems to spiraling out of control. By most estimates less than 10% of sites in the US are mobile friendly. According to DreamScapeDesign (UK), only “2% and 10% of websites have been specifically designed with mobile user’s in mind.” Yet, in the UK, for example, there are 8MM people who access the Internet from their smartphone every day, with 17 million accessing social media sites or blogs at least once a month, according to ComScore (Sep 2011). The mobile surf is becoming common currency across the world. Just take a look at the How to Go Mo stats (provided by Google) and you should start hyperventilating if your site isn’t mobile-friendly.
Media convergence beyond social search
Here’s a thought: what if Google had a great browser, a burgeoning social media site, a telephone OS, and privileged results that were socially relevant and mobile friendly when surfing from a mobile device? What if Facebook was a social media site, tied into Bing, and was looking to create a Facebook mobile phone as well? What if Amazon and its leading Kindle “mobile” device were merged with Blackberry and they were to align with Yahoo? What if Apple bought Twitter? What if LinkedIn hooked up Microsoft (Bing and Internet Explorer) and Nokia (phone)? Ok, I still think that Facebook is likelier than Linkedin to join up with Microsoft and Nokia, as I have written before (Marketing in 2012), and it seems a tall order that Apple would decide to get into social. That said, the first two are a distinct reality. This is one giant step further than just social search or mobile search. It is a total media convergence where Social meets Browser meets Mobile meets Search.
Pick your partners?
New services are cropping up to help with the multiplicity of platforms, whether it is a system to help post across multiple social media platforms in format-specific methods (e.g. the Chrome plugin SGPlus, Shareaholic or on the curation service Scoop.it). On the mobile side, you can find services such as Wire Node or UseableNet to help render your site mobile friendly. The outcome of such a scenario if all the “big” companies aligned: brand marketing would have to choose and optimize the digital marketing strategy according to one of the big four…? Having to juggle social, web browser, mobile and search puts a whole new spin on real-time multi-channel marketing. I can imagine (or hope) that lining up with newly aligned players will inevitably help reduce the technological parameters and requirements. Only problem is, I’m not sure that as a group, each will be thinking about the ordinary customer.
What are your thoughts? Will all the players and/or regions align (think VHS Secam, PAL, NTSC…)? Or will we be subjected forever to working with a multiplicity of different systems, platforms and technologies?