The effect of mobile
Mobile has fundamentally changed the way we think of and make use of the Internet. No longer do we surf the web. The introduction and adoption of mobile resulted in a shift away from using the Internet via desktop to devices we carry with us all time.
Mobile growing exponentially
Mobile now represents almost 2 out of 3 digital media minutes, and mobile apps alone now constitute a majority. Although desktop is not declining in total engagement, it is losing share to mobile – which now accounts for 62% of digital media time spent. And mobile apps on their own now drive the majority of digital media time spent at 54%. Indeed, over the past two years, mobile apps have grown 90% and have contributed to 77% of the overall 49% growth in digital media usage.
The new Internet gatekeepers
Additionally, the overarching usage of most of what we used to surf online pivoted to app-only (or app-centric) products. Facebook is perhaps the most notable example, but there’s also Messenger, Instagram, etc. It is this app-only shift combined with the global move to mobile that likely resulted away from surfing the web. Certain markets, such as China, skipped the web surfing stage entirely.
We now live our lives via push notifications and content delivered to us by our favorite apps and the mobile trend will only grow. Going forward, it is messaging and notifications that will shape the app landscape. Particularly, messaging apps, which offer high rates of engagement and long term retention. Messaging also lends a certain amount of credibility and context to web links and content. In other words, you’re generally likely to be sure a link is valuable if the message from a friend or colleague. In this way, some argue mobile messaging platforms have become the new Internet gatekeepers.
Surfing days are done
Messaging is also cross-platform. We are able to go from chatting with friends in a mobile app to a laptop or tablet. In and of itself, messaging isn’t the reason why messaging is the new trend. Messaging is so important because it offers the ability to hook into other applications. It is ideal to tap into payment systems, location/mapping services, and AI-powered messaging bots.
While the internet will remain, the days of ‘surfing the web’ are numbered. As technology evolves and apps dominate, we will most likely travel to browsers from a push notification or a message link from a friend.