I recently participated in a Hootsuite webinar by Simon Kemp on “The Future Forces of Digital, 2018 & Beyond.” It’s eye-opening and rather intuitive in its conclusions for where the internet of things is headed. Let me share with you what I learned.
The State of World Digital 2018
First, a dose of current reality:
- World Population: 7.593 Billion
- Population connected to the internet: 4.021 Billion (53%)
- Active on social media: 3.196 Billion (42%)
- Unique mobile users: 5.135 Billion (68%)
- Active mobile social media users: 2.958 Billion (39%)
Right off the bat, seeing that 68% of the world’s population are now mobile users, most likely on a smartphone, was a wake-up call. And while social media is now ten years old, the world is still joining the conversation on social media at a rate of a million new users every day.
USA Digital 2018
Now that you have an idea of what’s going on globally, here’s what Simon told us about the current state of digital in America:
- USA population: 325.6 million
- USA population connected to the internet: 286.9 million (88%)
- USA population active on social media: 230.0 million (71%)
- USA population that are unique mobile users: 234.8 million (72%)
- USA population that are active mobile social media users: 200.0 (61%)
We are past the tipping point for both mobile use and internet connectivity in America. In fact, 69% of Americans have now shopped online.
The researchers are forecasting content that inspires and educates will be more valued by this growing digital audience going forward, versus content that informs and entertains.
What Do We Do?
The big question we need to be asking ourselves in media is, what can we do that will make our target audience so excited about it that they would be willing to pay for it?
NPR/Public Radio and Christian Radio have figured this out and it’s why we have seen both formats doing so well in both audience ratings as well as listener support.
Every radio station should be asking this question, when planning any activity.
How Do We Know What Our Audience Wants?
Mayor Ed Koch knew how to find out what his constituents wanted. He asked them. Repeatedly.
Everywhere 3-term NYC Mayor Koch went, he asked “How am I doing?”
To get the answer to this question for your media property, ask your listeners. Your goal is to find out what your target audience wants, needs and desires in order to learn what will inspire them, educate them and make their lives better.
Think Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” pyramid.
Tap into Your Influencers
Radio’s top influencers are their P1 listeners. To really understand your target audience, your P1 listeners are the ones you need to intimately know and take care of. Station logo’d stuff ought to be freely flowing to these important people, but it doesn’t stop there.
Your P1s are the people who understand what your target audience really cares about, and why. Think of them as consultants to your brand.
Lowest Common Denominator
In the next two to five years we can expect technology to accommodate the next billion users of digital media. People in the developing world, are the ones that will be shaping the internet.
They will impact ALL internet and mobile users.
Again, Simon gave these examples of that next billion users impact:
- Literacy: lower levels of literacy will require different interfaces
- Language: a greater variety of language needs will inspire new content formats
- Technology: varying devices & connections will impact content format
- Motivations: new wants, needs, and desires will inspire new products & services.
Most of today’s internet content is texted based but as populations of lower literacy levels sign-on, that will change this. Voice commands, image search and video content will become more dominant in the future.
Economies of Scale
Technology companies are already working to have all devices and interfaces operate the same way on a global basis. Everything will be designed to cater to the lowest common denominator because it makes fiscal sense. It’s already happening on Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.
When Mr. Kemper walked his audience through this part of his presentation, I immediately thought of having Apple put FM receivers into their iPhones.
FM, HD Radio, DAB, DAB+ etc. are different standards for broadcasting OTA radio signals and do not meet the test of a global standard.
The Next Internet Revolution is Coming
Look for the next billion to drive the next internet revolution in the areas of:
- Search: SEO will look very different for voice-centric search
- Social: People’s social media interactions will be more video than text
- Shopping: E-commerce orders will depend on spoken word
- Addressing: URLs & Hyperlinks will move from text to image
Something I researched back when I was an undergrad, convergence, is coming to fruition in my lifetime. Every form of media will be delivered over the same pathway and received on the same type of device plus it will be on-demand and on our schedule, not the creator’s schedule.