It's hard to go a day without hearing about how Web 2.0 is changing the way people interact with Web businesses. Much of the buzz focuses on new technology that companies tie to Web 2.0 because it's the newest, hottest thing out there.
When thinking about how it affects site visitors and actual site performance -- meaning how Web 2.0 can help make companies more successful on the Web -- I started to consider what most people are talking about when it comes to Web 2.0.
A quick Google search for "Web 2.0" shows there isn't one consistent definition or even really an agreed-upon description.
Wikipedia describes Web 2.0 this way:
Web 2.0, a phrase coined by O'Reilly Media in 2004, refers to a perceived or proposed second generation of Internet-based services -- such as social networking sites, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies -- that emphasize online collaboration and sharing among users. O'Reilly Media, in collaboration with MediaLive International, used the phrase as a title for a series of conferences, and since 2004 some technicians and marketers have adopted the phrase. Its exact meaning remains open to debate, and some experts, notably Tim Berners Lee, have questioned whether the term has meaning.
The last, compact definition of Web 2.0, according to Tim O'Reilly, is this one:"Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform. Chief among those rules is this: Build applications that harness network effects to get better the more people use them. (This is what I've elsewhere called 'harnessing collective intelligence.')"
This is where things get interesting. Clearly, there are two ways people view Web 2.0:
As you read most of the Web 2.0 buzz, it unfortunately almost always revolves around technology or products that can help you take advantage of Web 2.0 tech.
Certain aspects of Web 2.0 have been around for a long time. Many sites have allowed people to review and share opinions on products (Amazon.com, Epinions, TripAdvisor, etc.) for quite awhile now. And many sites are obviously focusing on community aspects, blogs, and the like.
The real question is how the Web 2.0 hype helps make your site a better experience for your customers and prospects, and how it can help you be more successful and meet your business needs.
I personally love thinking of new ways to communicate with customers. And I do find a lot of the new technology pretty exciting. I'm continually tempted to find a way to leverage it. But I also force myself to return to the question: is this the right way to spend resources to improve site performance? Meaning, does it make more sense for a company to spend $100,000 on leveraging a new Web 2.0 technology or concept, or could that money be spent better elsewhere?
There isn't always a correct answer, of course. It depends on your business, your customers, and what technology you're looking to leverage.
As we prioritize opportunities for our clients, we look at the initiative's opportunity cost as well as the estimated monetized effect to the overall business. We then prioritize opportunities based on the initiative that has the highest forecasted ROI (define).
This can help you avoid getting caught up in the technology hype and force you to truly consider what it can do for your business.
Be sure to consider the business impact, not just the technology hype from Web 2.0 product vendors and the media.
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As the Chief Performance Marketing Officer for POSSIBLE, Jason supports the agency's global Marketing Sciences and Media Services programs.
His primary role is to help POSSIBLE teams and clients use data to craft digital strategies that attract, convert, and retain customers - maximizing ongoing ROI across paid, earned, and owned channels. He believes that brands can better serve their customers by understanding audience behavior, and that messaging should be targeted to individual customers through the use of testing, behavioral targeting, and CRM initiatives.
Jason has written extensively about digital analytics, optimization and digital strategy, including an ongoing column at ClickZ.com. He is the co-author of "Actionable Web Analytics: Using Data to Make Smart Business Decisions," which is one of the leading texts in the field of digital analytics. His client roster includes Microsoft, Nike, Nokia, Dell, Ford, Sony, PayPal/eBay, P&G, Alcoa, Expedia, Mazda, Intel, and Motorola, and more. Jason is a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars around the world ranging from the Cannes Lions, Adobe Omniture Summits, eMetrics, SES, ad:tech, BazaarVoice, and many other WPP events.
Follow him on Twitter @JasonBurby.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT