The Changing Face of Online Consumption

This week’s material addressed the rise of mobile devices’ significance in the world of the wide web and came with some important but largely unsurprising data. Apparently as of a year ago, over 56% of U.S. web users interact via mobile platforms, and 8% of users use only mobile devices for internet connectivity (though of course the latter number includes the tiny portion of people that can’t be identified at all.) This data may seem unimportant alone, but the time spent on each of these devices follows a very similar pattern.

Now consider that though mobile’s portion of web consumption increased from 26% to 56% in the period of 2010 to 2013, time on regular computers did not decrease at all. It actually continued to increase.

The takeaways here are clear; digital marketing is continuing to increase in importance, and keeping mobile platforms in mind is becoming a more prominent component of this. If you’re in the DIY music industry (which virtually guarantees the poverty of those it rules) this most likely means making sure that your site is either mobile-friendly or is supplemented by a mobile-friendly version.

But if you’re one of the few that can afford an ad campaign, you should consider that consumers prefer to make purchases and commitments on their laptops over mobile devices, and that they also view ads less favorably when encountered on mobile devices (probably because of their intrusive nature.) So although I would recommend making sure first-hand that your ads appear in a way that wouldn’t make you hate the advertiser if roles were reversed, remember that mobile ads can be a great way to drive awareness if nothing else. And if this is the road you are fortunate enough to be on, consider focusing on the Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram apps respectively because they are both the most highly used for your purposes and because they are all prominent players across all platforms.

Troubles in the waters.

The cross-platform trends are exciting and offer many new opportunities, but they also pose problems for ad buyers… and the people who like to use apps for free… and everyone else. How can ad agencies properly charge for exposures if they can’t tell who’s on which device and how many people are exposed to each ad? (For example, there is often more than one person watching the same tv or tablet screen.) Of course they use log-ins, the cameras on your devices, and your usage patterns to do the best they can (like fingerprints, you have unique online behaviors identified by common locations, mixture of sites you visit, etc), but these sciences still need to develop a little more.

It is because of this effect that I doubt Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp has more to do with making money from texts than getting user information. If WhatsApp makes a dollar from every download and by some miracle gets EVERY PERSON IN THE [FREAKING?] WORLD to download it, they will earn far less than HALF that price tag. Zuckerberg says they bought it because “it will help the social network grow globally”… but I mean… yeah right. Somebody’s getting boned here and it’s probably not the people with the money. It’s probably all the people who don’t have concepts of freedom and the poor saps who share race* with them… sigh… which brings me to an inescapable topic that deserves (somewhere near) the most attention but gets the least… the implications on freedom.

If you’re like most Americans you’re too busy forgetting Snowden to think about anything else, but keep in mind who all these information-gathering companies must forward their data to – the most powerful entity in the world, to which we are required to give more of our money than you’d believe. The small-minded are quick to label fact “conspiracy theories” so they don’t hurt their brains, but remember what we’re dealing with here in the U.S.A. – big companies that want power overseen by a republic prone to governance by those who want the same thing.

Remember it was Facebook from which the NSA archived everyone’s facial features so they could make arrests from street cams in public places. It seemed far-fetched at the time, but soon it will be mainstream. And it won’t stop there. The more “civilized” the public becomes the more immune they think they are to propaganda, and the more influential it becomes. Fear and cheap ploys will be used to make our passionate society of lemmings give up what remains of their freedoms, but make no mistake. The liberties we enjoy and are supposed to be able to enjoy were set in place to protect us from the governing body and those that occupy it, not each other.


*The human race… when did we start categorizing arbitrary physical attributes into “races”? No sense being made here.


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