The distance we’ve come in terms of the Internet and its impact on society over the last two decades is, if you think about it, pretty jaw-dropping.
In 1995, the World Wide Web was at an infantile stage, to say the least. Businesses and households were just catching onto this new means of communication and information gathering, and the now-primitive dial-up connection was nothing short of amazing to new users. Additionally, the ink was barely dry on Amazon and Yahoo!’s articles of incorporation papers, and present-day essentials such as Google and Hotmail were a few years away from launching.
Additionally, many people were skeptical when it came to the web and it’s potential. Take a read below at excerpts from “The Internet? Bah!” a column published in Newsweek in 1995 by author Clifford Stoll.
Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic. Baloney … We’re promised instant catalog shopping–just point and click for great deals. We’ll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obsolete. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month?
I can’t fault Stoll for this. The technology was just learning to crawl twenty years ago, and the leaps and bounds in which the internet has grown into as we see it today was hard for even the most ardent supporters to forecast.
These days, mobile searching – both in terms of PPC ads and SEO – has become the norm, and no longer a practice confined only to the select tech-savvy few.
It wasn’t long after 1995 and Stoll’s prediction, that online search became common practice for consumers and a primary focus for companies directing their advertising and marketing online. Like the internet as a whole in its early days, users took some time to get acclimated to using their mobile devices as a means to search. The last few years, though, has seen mobile searching grow by much more than leaps and bounds.
Numerous publications and internet marketing websites, from the Wall Street Journal to eMarketer, noted the declination in desktop search revenue and increase in mobile search spending last year. This will continue to be the case this year and, three years from now, mobile search will make up the majority of search spending.
With mobile technology and the number of mobile users both advancing rapidly today, this is no surprise. But while the ad dollars are following the new medium, it is expected that the return on investment from mobile marketing will take some time to catch up to that of desktop marketing.
A September, 2014 column on medium.com pointed to three reasons for slow growth in mobile ROI:
- Consumer use behavior – shoppers and users generally use their smartphones when they are out of home or office. Tablet users, on the other hand, are more prone to using their devise at home
- Multi-screening – these days, most PC users have two screens at their disposal and, while using their smartphone as the first point of reference, they tend to go to their PC to complete the transaction
- Functionality – again, this is more for the smartphone the tablet. Despite the growing size of smartphones, they are still wieldy for some users in terms of viewing products, navigation and viewing.
It’s expected, though, that continued technological advancements in terms of both mobile hardware and software, along with consumers’ growing confidence in mobile searching and shopping will contribute to the growth of calculable ROI from mobile marketing.
Despite the ROI challenge, I’m certain that mobile search and marketing will become as common to the masses as waiting for the dialup to process was in the `90s. As a tech enthusiast, it’s going to be fun to watch it evolve, and here at Leverage, it’s going to be exciting to evolve along with it.