Earlier this year KPMG released their annual Digital Debate research paper. I thought I’d summarise the most interesting points from the paper and throw in a few of my own predictions for the future of digital. At the end of this post, I’ve also put together 5 simple steps to ensure you’re maximizing your digital strategy for 2013.
Integration. Integration. Integration.
We all know this: one of the key themes from the research is that of integration. It’s no surprise that TV is no longer a single user experience with consumers now actively interacting with tablets, smartphones and laptops while consuming TV at the same time.
To what extent is this happening? If we take China as an example – astoundingly “almost half of Chinese consumers report that they use their smartphone while watching TV – and even more say they use their laptop.”
It’s reported that TV is still the most popular media activity, albeit in an integrated fashion. This does beg the question: how many people are switching to their other devices when the TV ads come on? And what’s the answer here?
There’s an obvious opportunity for brands to utilize the ‘second screen’ trend by harnessing social platforms as a means to continue the conversation. In-fact Oliver Lewis, Vice President, Strategy from Sky Deutschland believes “this provides us with a much more interactive experience and leads to a much more engaged audience.” I have to say I agree with Oliver – the integration of TV with mobile devices only opens up a new user experience that will add value to the consumer / brand dialogue.
Globally, device ownership is on the rise with China leading the way. In the below chart we can see that 24% of Australians own a tablet, 52% own a smartphone and 68% own a laptop. These figures are only set to rise as the technologies further diffuse.
Spotlight on Australia
There’s a dedicated page to digital usage in Australia. There’s nothing really new here to be honest – the incremental growth of the online population is as you would expect growing from 71.2% in 2005 to 80.5% in 2013.
Interestingly, Aussie consumers have been termed as being “very close to the most advanced in mature Western economies” and “the amount of time Australians spend in social media is at world leading levels on a per capita basis.”
Print media has been raised as a red flag – the closure of Australian fashion magazines Grazia and Maddison only go to prove the point that Australians are used to and still desire ‘free’ online content, which proves challenging for online publishers.
China is Leading the Way
One of the most fascinating aspects of this report is the research regarding China’s adoption of mobile devices. “The use of mobile phones accessing the Internet in China has surpassed that of PCs for the first time, making mobile phones the No. 1 terminal.” This is pretty huge news. More people in China access the Internet on their phones than on their laptops or PCs!
As a result of this behavior, mobile applications are a key marketing channel for advertisers in China. Is it only a case of time before this trend is adopted globally? I think so. As the speed of technology increases and the smartphones become more capable there will be a natural progression towards mobile Internet over PC Internet. Something that’s not covered in great detail in the report is the role of digital content and how this will develop. In my opinion, this is where the opportunity lies for brands in creating tailored content that will provide true value for consumers across a multitude of channels. The challenge is also how content can be leveraged and converged cross-platform in order to maximize digital budgets.
The report points out that “the next wave of connected consumers – among 4.5 billion who have not yet experienced the internet – will have their first online experience via a portable device connected to a mobile network, and may never even experience a PC or fixed line connection.” Imagine that? A whole generation of consumers whose experience of digital is purely wireless! The trend towards mobile has already begun in China with Chinese consumers being “more likely to own a smartphone than a laptop.”
What does this mean for Word of Mouth (WoM)?
Although WoM is not actively discussed in this report I thought I’d throw a lens on it. The clearest advantage I see is with integration – if people are watching a TV show with a mobile device at hand – there’s a huge opportunity to translate viewing experiences into digital word of mouth right there. The big shows are already doing that with live Twitter feeds that reward tweeters with their 3 seconds of fame (as their tweets are shown live on TV). In my opinion every single branded TV opportunity should translate into a digital piece of WoM – whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram or any other social network. In-fact – I see the future being more about the convergence of these platforms so that users can simultaneously talk about what they’re experiencing but in a branded environment.
5 Ways to Ensure You’re Ahead of the Digital Curve
All in all, here are my 5 recommended steps to ensure you’re working with digital instead of against it:
1. Stop looking at media channels as single user experiences.
2. Understand how your consumers are now consuming digital in an integrated fashion.
3. Use integration as an opportunity to seamlessly continue the WoM conversation from channel to channel.
4. Develop a digital content strategy that allows you to leverage cross platform content in a cost effective manner and increase WoM.
5. Get ready for mobile because it’s here! Consider developing mobile content and apps for your core mobile markets.
Download the KPMG report.