I remember a time not so long ago, when I had to sit down with clients and explain to them at length the concepts behind SEO and PPC and why it was beneficial for their brand to be visible at the top of Google when a user searched. Most clients were still rather unsure if the Internet was really something that could even truly benefit their business, let alone subscribe to the idea that some funky new silicon valley startup with a bare faced design and crudely produced logo could actually make any significant difference to their bottom line.
The year was 2001. We were fresh out of the dotcom bubble bursting, living in a newly post 911 world and people were skeptical at best about the web as it entered its second decade of life.
My how things have changed as the web reaches adulthood; entering its third decade of serving its DNS directed delicacies to the digital masses.
I felt it appropriate to start my time blogging here at Via Media reflecting back just a little on how things were not so long ago in the online world. Back in 2001, when AdWords was in its infancy, Facebook was still yet to be conceived (for the most part so was the concept of Social Media as we know it today), and Apple was just launching the iPod and starting to make its climb back from the brink of financial disaster to become the company Jobs once dreamed it could be.
Of course in 2001, Google hadn’t mapped the planet, or the moon, or mars for that matter, so there was no Google Places to say the least, let alone Gmail, YouTube or most recently, the bane of Apple’s mobile dominance known as Android. Online advertising was still viewed by serious players as, well, lets be honest, an afterthought, if at all, and the smartest of smartphones ran a stylus driven operating system produced by the global software juggernaut at the time, Microsoft, at that stage facing the same anti-trust charges being directed at the aforementioned company some see as its current successor, Google.
But that was 2001. Lots more was happening of course too, does anybody remember Napster, Altavista or Audio Galaxy ? I could go on all day, but I think you get the general idea. Looking back today, I think it goes without saying that those who doubted whether the web, even the world of digital, really was going to play a key role in our daily lives and in business, are all sufficiently silenced as they embrace their iPhones and iPads and post on Facebook, Twitter and Blogger their newest opinions about what is to become of the world around them
Yes, as the web enters adulthood, it has never been a more vibrant, content rich and integrated part of our daily lives. We spend more time online on Facebook each month communicating with friends and loved ones than we do watching television. And by a significant amount too. We also connect and communicate via Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and of course Google’s ‘Social Layer’ that transformed(sic) the way we use and engage with all things Google related, Google+.
We watch our favourite shows online through YouTube, Hulu and Netflix, play Scrabble, Pictionary and Hangman with friends and video chat using Skype, Facetime or Google Hangouts rather than picking up our phones because, well, we now can! And in 2012, gone are the days of sitting at a desk using the internet. We now do it on the bus, in the car, sitting on the couch or anywhere else one can possibly imagine.
To bring all this back to us here at Via Media of course, in 2012, never has there been a more exciting time to be working in the digital space. It has been more than a number of years since I’ve had to explain to a client what SEO or PPC is, instead it is simply assumed it will be a sizeable part of their marketing mix from the outset of pretty much any campaign. The value is realized and the results speak for themselves.
We have more channels for marketing customers businesses than ever before; Search Marketing, Social Media, Email Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Display Advertising, Websites, and the list goes on. A far cry from the days of TV, Radio, Print and “internet” that we have only recently started to leave behind.
Unlike traditional media though, of course, our constraints are not fixed and given it is still in its infancy, our industry is ever changing and evolving. From the very top, major players are constantly engaged in heated battle with far reaching ramifications. Google and Facebook battle for social supremacy and the right to host control of our online lives. Apple and Google go head to head in both the marketplace and the courtroom in their attempts to dominate the mobile world, in much the same way we saw Microsoft and Apple go head to head in decades gone by, and of course Microsoft prepare to launch Windows 8 as their shot at returning to their former glory.
As a result, at a product and platform level things are forever changing too. Google Search is evolving. Recently it integrated Social results, its largest update ever and just the beginning of a host of new changes to come such as Semantic Search and Instant Answers. Facebook is really only just beginning to find ways to help marketers tap into its 800 million strong user base and already that is a $4 billion a year industry. Mobile marketing is growing at a ferocious rate, with device uptake set to overtake desktop by 2016 in Australia and this is just the tip of the iceberg too.
So on that note, I’ll finish up this somewhat nostalgic reflection back on the decade that was and look forward now to the decade that is to come. I can honestly say, I have very little idea what the digital world will look like when I revisit this post in 2022 but it is that uncertainty that excites me and continues to drive me. I love coming to work each day and facing new challenges, hearing new updates and working with the team around me to make the most of the opportunities at hand for each and every one of our clients.
If you would like to learn more about our thoughts on the industry at present, what to expect in the near future or most importantly, how we can help your business benefit from all that we do, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 08 7225 2688, visit www.viamedia.com.au or email email@example.com.