I'm not a big plan-ahead person in my day-to-day, non-work life. I figure if I head out the door with some semblance of what I want to do, things will fall into place. This is a trait my wife finds incredibly endearing. This isn't as much of a problem today, but rewind six years ago and picture me driving around trying to find places I had heard about, then hoping they were open.
Life then was about exploring via friends, neighborhoods, and even printed local weeklies, like the Chicago Reader or LA Weekly. And if, like me, you didn't write things down, you could wander around town for quite a while trying to find places and things.
Now, with smartphones, all of that information exists in the palm of our hands. But, how has that convenience changed the exploring nature in all of us, and how will that continue to evolve over time?
Last year, Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff wrote a piece for Wired Magazine titled "The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet." In the article, Chris painted a picture of a day in which a user accessed the Internet only through applications and not through web browsers. This is a distinction that most people don't even realize they are making, but they are doing it because it's easier to have the information delivered to them rather than going out to find the content. With smartphone penetration in the U.S. now at 43 percent, per a Nielsen Q3 2011 mobile survey, these habits will only continue to increase.
So now we explore the world around us through applications on our phones, but are we really only exploring a portion of the world available to us?
Eli Pariser gave a brilliant TED talk about how web companies are only showing us what they think we want to see, through algorithmic curation sites, like Facebook and Google, that are filtering the web and serving to us what they think is important based on our behaviors. He calls these "filter bubbles" and argues that this will ultimately be bad for democracy and for us.
While I agree this is bad for browsing and consuming information on a tablet, laptop, or desktop, I would argue that this algorithmic curation in the mobile space makes our lives easier, and isn't easier what we want out of our mobile devices?
I live three miles from my office and, if you factor every side street into a potential route, there could be 100 different ways for me to get to the office. However, my phone's GPS gives me one, maybe two choices, and does it really matter that the other routes exist? I said I wanted to get from point A to point B, and it gave me a great way to accomplish this. If I ask Siri to find a pizza place near where I am, aren't three choices enough?
Or, if I make dinner plans based on a Scoutmob offer near me, isn't that OK? After all, this restaurant was digitally savvy enough to lure me and is making the effort to be digitally progressive.
But what does a curated mobile experience mean for advertisers who are trying to connect and win share-of-wallet from consumers? Because consumers are engaging across myriad of applications, it's important that advertisers are also creating experiences across the following:
It's clear that companies who advertise across multiple mobile touch points are going to stack the odds of engaging with consumers in their favor.
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As digital experience director at JWT Atlanta, Paul drives digital strategy and user experience for clients including U.S. Marine Corps, FEMA, Shell, Jiffy Lube, Transamerica, and U.S. Virgin Islands across the digital spectrum of web, mobile, social, gaming, and media. His passion for the space and his ability to translate current trends into marketing applications helps the brands that he works with stay at the forefront of innovation. His team leads the digital activation process across all clients from inception through the creative execution process to reporting.
Paul is a Chicago native who has led JWT's digital efforts in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Atlanta. Prior to joining JWT he worked with several leading agencies in Southern California where he led digital initiatives for clients including Anheuser-Busch, Sony Pictures, Electronic Arts, Nintendo, Sprint/Nextel, and Symantec.
Paul currently lives in Atlanta with his wife and two daughters.
June 18, 2013
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