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Web2.0 for marketers: What this means for you

iStock_000002317898XSmall.jpgOver the past four days we've looked at the history of Web2.0 and what it is not, seen how it is helping business models shift to add new value, making technology transparent to the users all culminating in building community. So what does this mean?

I did a little experiment with some video today, so here is my explanation of what Web2.0 is and how it's impacting you and me. Let me know if this is helpful. I think it's nice to be able to show you what I am talking about even if it's a little small.

Feed readers please click here to see the video. (Full size QuickTime file coming soon.)

Web2.0 is about ideas. Ideas that add value to customers and the platform that allows you to create, adapt and share those ideas in an open forum. It's a mindset that you have to shift into where you open your eyes and ears and learn from the collective input of the community.

Design is helping to move Web2.0 forward as well. New frameworks (groups of reusable code) is allowing more fluid user interfaces to be built to benefit the end-user. Applications that were typically software packages (MS Office, Photoshop, etc.) are now moving online as part of Web2.0. If you use Gmail, Google Reader, the new Yahoo mail you see that the pages work more like an application. The page isn't reloading everytime you select an option. It's much more smooth.

Technology itself is a benefactor in Web2.0, but less visible. Early web technology took a lot of effort to implement and the user experience was clunky and complex. Now, design is working to mask the technology for the maximum user benefit.

Measurement is a challenge in a Web2.0 world. The technology that makes the web smoother and more fluid also eliminates some of our standard metrics. Page views drop significantly across sites using this technology even though the user is accessing the same information. Their experience improves, the sites are more engaging and rich, but we need new ways to measure it. Interaction/engagement rates are one way to measure how people are interacting with your site over time and how sticky it is. Other metrics are still being drafted. How do you measure loyalty online? How do you measure impact? That's a post for another day, but you can start here for more information.

motorola_Q.jpgIt's also important to think about how Web2.0 extends beyond the web browser. Think mobile, PDA, iPod, iPhone, PSP, etc. Each of those devices is increasingly connected. How can you capitalize on each to reach your target market? How can you leverage mobile technology to add value to your community? Look at Twitter for example. It's a service that allows people to micro-publish content to a website from a phone, instant messenger, the web or another application. The services in Web2.0 are open and people have been creating amazing sites on the technology. Some examples are Twittervision and Flickrvision. Each reads data out of Twitter and combines it with a map. The result adds value, is smooth, cool and useful to the user base.

Personally I don't like the name Web2.0, but it is a way to group this new vision of what marketing on the Web should be. The questions to ask to know if you're moving forward are:

  • Does your customer benefit from what you're doing?
  • Do you add value to people's lives? Do you change people's lives?
  • How can you improve your customer's life even more?
  • Is interacting with you easy and painless?
  • Is your offline ready to facilitate your online presence? Vice versa?
  • Does you passion for what you do come through to your customers?
  • Do your customers have a say in your business?
  • What is imporatant for you to know and measure?
  • Are you thinking beyond the browser? How will mobile impact you in 5 years?

This series is not the end of this topic, it's only the beginning. I'll be picking this apart and expanding on some smaller, but equally important issues over time.

Here is a great explanatory video on what another person thinks Web2.0 is. You will learn a lot from this.

Do you have any questions or comments on Web2.0 for marketers? Let me know in email or in the comments below.

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