Mobility Matters Most in Online Marketing

Before diving headfirst into emerging-technology projects, Web executives and interactive marketers need to figure out how their customers divvy up their digital-media time, according to a new Forrester Research report. That way, marketing campaigns can properly align with those activities. Web-based initiatives remain critical, but based on responses from more than a dozen successful marketing agencies, the report claims that customers spend the most time untethered from their desktops--preferring instead to rely on mobile devices. For the report, "The Emerging Technologies That Matter Most to Interactive Agencies," Forrester surveyed 15 large U.S. marketing agencies on the technologies they plan to stress in the near future or are stressing now. According to Kerry Bodine, a principal analyst at the firm and the author of the report, following the top showing for mobile devices, other high-value responses included: online video, social networking, and the AJAX programming language used to create interactive Web applications. "We selected interactive agencies for our Web-design evaluation based on the strength of their Web-design and development practices," Bodine said in a statement. "But it's not traditional Web technology that tops these agencies' lists. All but three of the agencies told us about current or future initiatives involving mobile devices and related technologies." Bodine says she wasn't surprised to see online video play a large role in the agencies' Web and online programs. Given the meteoric rise of YouTube over the past year--including its acquisition by Google--it's no surprise that 10 agencies cited online video as key to their success, she says. "These firms consider online video more than just a passing trend," Bodine says. "Several have established in-house video production units, while others have created strategic partnerships with filmmakers or video providers." No surprise either that in the age of MySpace and Friendster, 13 of the 15 agencies surveyed mentioned at least one type of technology that fell into the social computing category, Bodine says. Several agencies that use rich Internet applications didn't specifically mention those applications as important. In Bodine's assessment, that's an indication that the category has gone mainstream. AJAX, used to speed a Web page's interactivity, topped the rich Internet technologies that agencies do use, with nine votes. (Flash and Flex, which followed AJAX on the list, each received seven.) Bodine notes that only two agencies mentioned Microsoft's Windows Presentation Foundation, which is part of the Vista operating system. To avoid getting overly caught up in the buzz surrounding each of these new technologies, Web executives and interactive marketers need to do their homework and evaluate each one before putting it to work for them, Bodine adds. Related articles: Required Reading: Moving Beyond the Buzz
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