In this era of ‘big data’ and data analytics, it is obvious that the key is not in having the data but in the knowledge of how this data is interpreted to inform decisions and consumer behaviour.
A very recent report by WSJ on the 27th of June, tell of how data analytics was used to influence Mac users to book more expensive rooms in hotels compared to PC users.
Orbitz, who used analytics to generate hotel room options with the more expensive ones ordered on top, cannot be blamed for being smart about their data. In fact, this is the same be strategy used by Google for Page Ranking which advertisers try to bid the highest for and are ranked according to relevancy.
What is amazing is how personas are derived from the most uncommon data and how knowing this can nbe used to generate revenues. I do hope that the Four Seasons Hotel has this at the back of their minds after spending $18million on their newly transformed website targeted at attracting the online mobile market.
An article on the Eonsultancy website on the 28th of june reads ” Google Launches Compute Engine To Compete With Amazon”
As Google takes on yet another Giant in its field, one can’t help but wonder if they are fighting too many wars at the same time. Read more on: www.econsultancy.com/us/blog/10226-google-launches-compute-engine-to-compete-with-amazon
To enjoy freedom we have to control ourselves.
The web has evolved over the years and is still evolving, from Web 1.0 to 2.0 and who knows; maybe 3.0 will soon replace 2.0. The way the web has transformed lives in the past and is transforming lives now was simply imaginable say 20years ago. Even the telecommunication industry cannot boast to have evolved so fast.
Web 2.0 as we know it today brings alive whatever man can think and imagine, making it real! It is no longer just text based, it is now anything media! From pictures, video, voice to live streaming, feeds, chatting, calling, TV…everything! The success of the Web has been overwhelming that anyone would easily get lost and become antique in less than 3 months of not keeping tabs with it. It has even been the mail fuel in the social media age and brings together even the strangest of industries; Telecommunications companies and Websites; TV and social media sites; Sports and Fashion styles companies. Like its name, it has succeeded in making everything connect in a Web!
The Web with all its past and future success is not devoid of some challenges. Some of the most prevalent ones I will mention here…
- Web Security Control. It is an obvious fact that no one owns and rules the web, although we know some ‘self-appointed’ bodies that regulate the activities and other platforms hosted on the web platform i.e. the W3C formed in 1994. Governments also regulate its country’s Web platform and serve as another checkpoint. Apart from these, no one really ‘owns’ the web and is a free for all open system. Though this has it pros, like promoting the freedom and rights of every individual to speak and express his fundamental rights, there still has to be a measure of regulation, one that will protect people from themselves. It is apparent that with the level of speed with which information flows and can be passed from one form to another, some people need to start thinking seriously about how the Web could be preserved in a way that it would not ‘self-destruct’ in the near future. Though I personally do not think Governments should control the web, I think there needs to be a coming together of all organizations concerned to decide on what would be the best way to regulate the web so that the freedom it offers is not used as the same weapon to imprison people. One thing is for sure, anything out of some kind of control, is bound to break soon!
- Another challenge is that of Information storage. The Web is growing so fast with over 80million websites and more user generated content. More people are beginning to impact the web with uploads than in the previous years. The aching question is: Can these servers grow their information storage capacities as fast as the information? I know there is cloud computing that now overcomes the need to have a physical storage system, but is this “Cloud” infinite? My guess is, this is still some gigantic web server with enormous capacity, but this definitely still has limits. Also, is there a place to backup all this information? Are there possibilities that this cloud can be lost and all the information with it? How long before the cloud is overrun by too much information out there? As the user-generated content continue to grow or maybe faster than that of published content, web-hosted companies need to think about how to combat this problem before it happens.
- Generation gap. This is one part that most people do not think about, but it is obvious that the web and digital age has created a generation gap between our parents’ parents, our parents and this generation. I know that there are lot of people in their late 50’s, 60’s and 70’s who can use the web and digital tools, but this is mostly found in very developed countries like the US and Europe. Most developing and underdeveloped countries are still a bit behind in terms of endearing the aforementioned age groups to the web and digital world. What is usually the case is that the children of today are way ahead in terms of their knowledge and use of new technologies while their parents have no clue what these are about. This has led to break in common communication flow and this ultimately means that the parents are unable to pass their wisdom down and vice versa. This generation gap I would say is at the root of dysfunctional homes and families. There needs to be a way that the Web can be introduced to older generations in order to really tap ALL the wealth of knowledge.
Summary Note – 42 Rules for a Web Presence That Wins
Philippa Gamse described the 40 rules for a web presence that wins as follows;
Part I - Rules 2-12: Are meant to address Management-Level issues pertaining to how your choice and investment in a web presence should support and grow your business by aligning it with your business model. These include appointing your web ambassador; someone who can drive the cause; understands the company’s business strategy, operations. Also, choose a web presence that cuts across all departmental boundaries of your organization and overall success. Next, ensure that your web presence aligns with your business model, strategy or prior performance, not only benchmarked against industry standards or best practices. Choose the right technology that suits well & meets the need, the greed (making money off it) and the speed of your business, but ensure it has a psychological effect and solves your problem efficiently and effectively. Another rule is inculcating proactive policies that would protect your web presence. Make sure to understand and follow regulatory laws that apply in the locations you do business in. Offer not just the best technology, but also a valuable human service relevant to your customers. Work out costs of the tradeoffs, risks and payoffs of your choices before you commit. Another relevant point is your decision on what goes public and what is kept within a private network. Its implications on your business is huge and don’t forget your competition is watching!
Part II – Setting the Strategy and Tactics for your web presence. Make decisions that considers your need and frequency of evolving your web presence by learning what works and what doesn’t for your business goals, how it is consistent with your image in front on the customer. Knowing all your online audience and personifying them and not only obvious ones, but also those of your competition. Let your strategy factor in and embrace cultural diversity and leverages on other opportunities your organization can offer by providing links to the ‘relevant where’ to find the requested information, even through crowd sourcing. Watch for new online opportunities. Use keyword searches that match with your business instead highly ranked words.
Part III – Creating content that makes connections based on the understanding that most visitors to the web make decisions emotionally and not intellectually. Align the content to the different experiences of your visitors especially through use of native language and everyday words while ensuring the information is easy to find. Also, showcase the uniqueness of your organization and know and make sure to connect with the influencers of your visitors or potential customers. Be creative in meeting customer’s needs in ways others cannot and show this in your web presence, first in your landing page optimization and own significant press releases. Then make sure to nicely ask for visitors feedback and allow them also speak for you. Prepare for instances when search doesn’t give the desired results by offering search options, links to your database, online help, FAQs, etc.
Part IV – Lastly, measure your results through Analytics. Derive action intelligence from your web traffic information. Use a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) expert that has a holistic approach that can adapt specifically to your needs; testing the objectives and making sure the numbers are justified. Also look for loopholes in your web presence that leaks your resources. Segment your visitors into different categories which would give you an in-depth knowledge of your success, while looking into the future by keeping up and evolving along the way. In conclusion, you MUST clearly set a strategy for your web presence at every time and review it as you evolve.