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An Interesting Revelation In Google's Memo To Employees

     
2:22 pm on Apr 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Europe Readys Anti Trust Charges against Google

[webmasterworld.com...]

What I have found interesting is this statment:

Mobile is changing everything with the explosion of apps taking people directly to the information they want. Today 7 out of every 8 minutes on mobile devices is spent within apps. Yelp, for example, has said that over 40% of its traffic comes direct from its mobile app.


7 out of every 8 minutes!

Really? That's an incredible statistic, if true, therefore how is this affecting the advertsing platform for us as publishers since Google is pushing sites towards responsive designs yet they almost infer that they've given up the challenge in the face of apps.

What do you feel?
2:35 pm on Apr 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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apps taking people directly to the information they want


imho, apps are providing more entertainment than info. All those faces we see buried in their devices are not shopping or looking for info. It seems most internet search data does not understand this.


She'll have fun, fun, fun till her daddy takes her android away.
2:37 pm on Apr 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Yelp, for example, has said that over 40% of its traffic comes direct from its mobile app.


Google will picked a site that gets a particularly high proportion of traffic from its mobile app as an example.

Today 7 out of every 8 minutes on mobile devices is spent within apps.


Is that apps that replace web sites, or apps in general. I spend almost all my time on my mobile device using apps - games, an ebook reader, a video player... mostly apps that replace desktop apps rather than web sites.

Also, I suspect a large amount of that time is spent on a few very popular (Facebook and Twitter in particular)

The most worrying thing to me is the barrier to entry it raises, as new entrants must persuade users to install an app, not just use a site.
2:50 pm on Apr 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The most worrying thing to me is the barrier to entry it raises, as new entrants must persuade users to install an app, not just use a site.


This is precisely what I have tried to address with my responsive site template with the non-necessity of having to install an app and having however many updates everytime the device is turned on, plus I get to display my ads and they get the latest version of my site immediately.
3:23 pm on Apr 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm sure five out of every ten internet minutes are spent on pron too, but that doesn't mean pron in the future of the internet.

As toidi says above, apps are used for entertainment - gaming, fitness, dating, social media and so on. The web remains dominant when it comes to information.
4:35 pm on Apr 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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True - so far. I've been thinking of creating an app for a while now, and the main reason is push notifications. That seems like a pretty valuable ability to me.
5:28 pm on Apr 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The web remains dominant when it comes to information.


We are a fully information based website and we get 50% of our traffic from mobile. Because of this, we decided to do an app (releasing it within the month). I really think that apps are the way forward. Email is going to the wayside as it is getting replaced by social media communication, and the place to be is on a person's phone. Once you are on thier phone, you have lots of potential access to them.
6:26 pm on Apr 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Once you are on thier phone, you have lots of potential access to them.


We have whatsapp and it is used hugely by ourselves and customers between Europe/India/China however US companies in particular seem to be very hesitant to use this, is there any specific reason?
7:29 pm on Apr 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I think a lot of US companies are just weirdly holding onto email. It is like they invested so much into it, they just can't believe that there is some other way to communicate with people.

One person I talked to (who was chiding me because our site does not actively email people and only passively collects emails) claimed that email marketing and communication was better because "you own email addresses". Which to me is just silly. You don't "own" an email address any more or less than you "own" Facebook likes or Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram followers. They are all just ways you have the opportunity to communicate with customers and visitors. And a myriad of things can help of hinder in that communication.

But the comment does speak volumes about how US companies view email. Email addresses are viewed as property, where social platforms accounts are viewed as belonging to others so they don't have the same value.
7:42 pm on Apr 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It is true though. You own a domain, and you control the email addresses associated with it as long as you keep the domain registered and do not break the law in some way that gets in confiscated. Facebook likes, Twitter followers and so on can be removed any time, your visibility to your followers can change (as with FB's recent changes). Also, a social media follower will only see some of your communications, whereas email (provided it does not get caught by spam filters) will be seen by everyone and read by a high proportion. One email subscriber is certainly work a good many FB likes.

I am not sure about whatsapp though. That is simple communications technology, not marketing. Legal concerns about maintaining archives of communications may explain the difference. Personally, I fail to see how useful it is for communicating with customers - for one thing, it does not seem to work on desktops which is where most work communications happens, and where documents you want to send people usually are etc.
8:52 pm on Apr 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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will be seen by everyone and read by a high proportion

Spam filters, Google's commercial filter, email overload, etc.... There is lots that can get in the way of email being delivered and seen. Your average email list communication is likely not read any more than your average social media communication. Of course results may vary, but they vary for social media as well.

And by owning, I did not mean emails that belong to your domain but rather an email list. Many marketers I know (not just the example above) regard email lists as having tangible value, something that can be bought and sold. In fact, I was once told it would be difficult for me to sell my site if it did not have an associated and cultivated email list.

I just see email as being archaic. Certainly it still has its uses, but judging by the way younger people communicate, it is on its way out. Very few young people I know use email as a preferred way to communicate with companies they buy from, friends and family. It is mostly a work thing and even that will start to fade as the younger people grow older, move into power positions and start pushing their preferred communication methods.
9:00 pm on Apr 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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That is simple communications technology, not marketing.


We use whatsapp to give customers almost immediate amswers to pricing and product availability. This works extremely well insofar as project enquiries are concerned where someone may require anywhere from 500-50,000 square metres of a specific widget and they need to know the current position and, this is where whastapp really wins for us, images of the current widget production.

Sure we could email it but that's lots of messing around in comparison plus my widget images may be sent from wherever there is a connection and for us this can be a long, long way from anywhere!

To be honest I feel it's the most valuable tool to have come along in years for my industry.
9:04 pm on Apr 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It is true though. You own a domain, and you control the email addresses associated with it...
I don't think the quote cited by hannamyluv was about this kind of ownership. Its originator seems to think that email adresses collected eg. as recipients of a newsletter are somehow more valuable than followings on one of the social sites.

Whether that's actually the case may well depend on your topic and target audience.
10:22 pm on Apr 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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apps are used for entertainment - gaming, fitness, dating, social media and so on. The web remains dominant when it comes to information.

They're not mutually exclusive. Almost any popular website will also have an app that does the same thing, just eliminating the browser middleman. Heck, there's even a google app --which is weird and unnerving once you start following links, because you think you're in your (mobile) browser but really you're sort-of still in google.
11:08 pm on Apr 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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And here I was thinking, if the talking heads on news services are anything to go by, that 7 of those 8 minutes were spent by people incessantly twittering.
1:33 am on Apr 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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They're not mutually exclusive.


They're not, no, but user habits tend to be. I was involved in some usage surveys last year and while I don't recall the exact figures, the proportion of users who access Google, Wikipedia, etc. through apps is very small. Most still prefer browsers.

The apps-will-replace-the-web chant started 3-4 years ago and it still hasn't happened. I doubt it will, at least in the short to medium term. Mobile is convenient but the experience of finding information on a phone, particularly if you're multitasking, is still well behind the experience on desktops and larger devices.
2:24 am on Apr 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Most still prefer browsers.

But what are the demographics on that? See that is the crux. My mom just learned to manage searching Google, using websites and Facebook. She has no intention of learning how those new fangled apps work on a darn smart phone. At least in the US, Boomers (my mom) are the leading demographic and so general surveys will show that "most people" (Boomers) prefer browsers.

But if you want to see where the web is going, you look at young people. And they are very heavy into phone use for accessing the web, using apps and communicating. Long term scenario, Boomers die off and Millennials take over. Short term scenario, Boomers kids and grand kids teach them how to use all this new fangled tech. Facebook owes its life to the later scenario and is very worried about the fact that young people are kind of thinking of jumping ship (hence the crazy Instagram purchase price, which turned out to be a good bet).
2:47 am on Apr 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Boomers die off and Millennials take over.


The youngest boomers are age 51. They will not all die off for another 30 to 35 years.
3:06 am on Apr 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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They will not all die off for another 30 to 35 years.

As a group, no. But that demographic as a group on the internet is going to shrink rapidly over the next 10 years. Life expectancy is still only in the late 70s and the oldest Boomers are just now turning 70. Add in things like dementia, alzheimer's, cancer (if for no other reason than you are too busy dealing with it to spend as much time on the web) and just plain old age, and not to mention that the cost of retirement (tapping savings which are weak in the US and health care costs) will greatly decrease their available spending. This demographic will not hold sway for much longer. It is already happening. Add in that many of these Boomers will be increasingly turning to their children and their grandchildren to do their internet "stuff" for them (set it up, look it up, do it up), and their children and grandchildren will use their preferred methods. The Boomers as an influencing group on the web will not be swaying much on the web much longer.

I hope as a group they live long and prosperous lives (because I love my mom and dad), but those people will not likely be a major influence the web much longer. It is just a fact that marketers have to be aware of.
3:41 am on Apr 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The youngest boomers are age 51. They will not all die off for another 30 to 35 years.


heehee in the USA with ObamaCare add another 10 years to that.

[edited by: fathom at 4:42 am (utc) on Apr 16, 2015]

4:35 am on Apr 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Trying to make a website work on a small screen vs. building an app that is designed for a small, touch screen. I know which one seems more logical.
4:38 am on Apr 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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RedBar, in your case Whatsapp sounds more like a replacement for SMS/MMS/phone calls rather than for email. It depends on the work you do: for none of the many jobs I have done would the things that are advantages for you be of importance, which is why I needed an explanation.

@bird, OK point taken, but I would still think a mailing list has more lasting value, because social networks have their own agenda which conflicts with those of people using them for marketing. Facebook has said "We expect organic distribution of an individual page's posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site" [searchenginewatch.com] - which means that the value of Facebook likes is in continual decline.

Social media are most useful where content can go viral, as they make sharing/liking/retweeting/whatever easy (we need some generic terms for these things!).
5:07 am on Apr 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I would still think a mailing list has more lasting value, because social networks have their own agenda which conflicts with those of people using them for marketing.

And the major email providers don't? Heck, your average email recipient doesn't? I have not seen a marketing based email in my personal Gmail account in weeks. Why? because Google very conveniently weeds them out for me. I love it. I only have to go looking for a "deal" from a company when it occurs to me to shop that that company. I don't have to wade through that stuff while looking for an email from my tech challenged mom. From a marketing standpoint, I know that the wading results in sales. From a consumer standpoint, I hate having to wade (even though when I wade, I tend to buy things). Just take a guess which of us email providers are trying to make happy?

meaningful experience on the site

Ouch, those are painful words for a marketer. You mean I can't just throw garbage at a wall and it works? I have to make it so they have to want to see it?!? TV commercials caught on to this many years ago, which is why the Super Bowl is now as much about commercials as it is about football and why YouTube would never think of banning commercials.

You can create meaningful experiences for people so you end up in their feed. And it works. I do it (non-ecom informational site). But I know of several ecom sites that do it too.

It is not a decline. It is a stepping up to the plate.

Social media are most useful where content can go viral

I started out in email marketing and that was EXACTLY what was said about email 15 years ago. The dream email blast would go viral because it "was so easy to forward it." Just because that is where it is "most useful" does not mean that the rest of it is not useful. Email has proven to be a useful marketer tool even if it doesn't go viral. Social media and now apps can be that as well... if a person is smart about how they approach it.
12:21 pm on Apr 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm not sure what WhatsApp does; I've heard of it. I would probably not be one to install it because I get enough distractions and can't keep up with my email as it is. I won't even let anyone skype me other than a couple friends and my developer. I'm sure I'm not the only one.
1:32 pm on Apr 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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RedBar, in your case Whatsapp sounds more like a replacement for SMS/MMS/phone calls rather than for email.


Not at all, it's been a quantum leap in overall communications between ourselves and customers. Our business is primarily international, SMS was ok but we used it sparingly generally between senior staff since a lot of text messages can soon be very costly. MMS was virtually useless, too slow and far, far too expensive when making numerous messages and a bit unweildy as well.

Now we can have people out in the field, and when I say field I mean literally in the countryside, and that person can communicate directly with several people all at the same time sharing information and images and between different countries and offices all for the service cost of USD 1.00 per annum and all done from a smart phone.

What does this mean in practice?

An architect can be sat in his office in whichever city with his client and we can communicate with them live showing them precisely the current widgets available for them to approve or deny for their project.

This has removed substantial costs and time lost in shipping sample widgets and speeded-up the decision making process, certainly by weeks and most probably by months.
3:01 am on Apr 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I suspect a large amount of that time is spent on a few very popular (Facebook and Twitter in particular)


According to a Forrester Research survey, "US and UK smartphone owners use an average of 24 apps per month but spend more than 80 percent of their [in app] time on just five apps."

Interestingly, Facebook was the most popular app among U.S. users, but Twitter was near the bottom of the top 20, between Skype and something called Words With Friends.

[marketingland.com...]
4:34 am on Apr 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for that EditorialGuy, it's interesting but doesn't surprise me. It echoes what I said earlier. Most people use apps for connectivity, email, social media, games and entertainment. The types of information acquired through apps seems to be fairly limited, e.g. maps/GPS, weather, some news, maybe travel tips. When people want cohesive and detailed information they still go to the web.
6:31 am on Apr 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@Redbar, yes I understand that it is a superior replacement for SMS, but did it also displace email use?

Your usage also demonstrates how telcos are cutting their own throats by pricing too high. They have very high margins on SMS (probably on MMS as well) but at prices that give people an inceptive to switch to cheaper services.

@RedictorialGuy, very interesting. Its not quite a fair comparison because some apps are things you are likely to spend a lot of time on (e.g. watching a video on YouTube) whereas others are not (how long do you need to check the weather?). Skype is doing pretty badly: behind both Whatsapp AND hangouts - but Gmail is ahead of both, and Yahoo Mail in line with both.

@hannamyluv, the only email list I run has never had trouble getting through to Gmail and Yahoo recipients, and neither do lists I have subscribed to. They may like to filter it out, but they do not have the same hold on users as social networks so will not deliberately block what their users want.
6:43 am on Apr 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Just check Mail chimp stats: open rate always over 50%, often over 70%, and is an underestimate (you cannot detect opens unless the mail client loads external elements). That is well above reach for associated FB page.
9:08 am on Apr 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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but did it also displace email use?


Without a doubt yes and by a considerable amount, many a time we use it like conference calling.

The only problem we have ever had is when someone's battery has flattened rapidly!
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