The Internet is constantly evolving. First there were just massive mainframes that were the size of a building. Then, in the 1980s those mainframes began talking to each other. In the early 1990s, Tim Berners Lee built the first web browser, and the Internet as we know it was born. Add public Internet Service providers, file sharing and the expansion of companies like Google, YouTube and Facebook – and the Internet was here.
Then at the end of the 2000s, the Internet changed again. On June 29, 2007, the first iPhone was released in the United States. 10 years later, and the iPhone X is coming out. Smartphones are no longer just a luxury product, they are a part of everyday life. We don’t even need phones to access the Internet anymore: Amazon Echo and Google Home mean we just have to talk to be online.
Facebook is no longer a social experiment out of a Harvard dorm; it now has 2 billion active monthly users – that’s nearly a third of the world’s population. Our data is held in the cloud, and subject to detailed analytics. We live in the Internet of Things, from smart fridges and wifi enabled light bulbs to animojis and augmented reality. We live in a word where SMAC has risen. All hail SMAC!
But what is SMAC? How can you use it?
SMAC is the Internet of Things, but it also stands for Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud – it’s what differentiates the Internet of the last decade from everything that went before:
Social doesn’t just cover Facebook, Twitter Instagram and LinkedIn – it’s whatever we use to share things with other people. Facebook may have 2 billion active users, but YouTube has 1.5 billion – and What’s App and Facebook Messenger both have 1.2 billion users. The little share icon above allows you to share pictures, videos, blogs, stories – and almost anything on the Internet.
Sharing is what the social part of the Internet is all about. We share opinions, we share our stories – and as marketers, we share solutions with the products and services that we offer. We still need to remember the social landscape we operate in. If you are creating content that promotes a business, it also needs to be content that people would like to share.
Today, most people complete searches on the Internet using a combination of computers and mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. More people will only search on a smartphone than will only search on a computer. The integration of voice assistants also means that the nature of search is changing. Right now, 20% of all mobile searches tracked by Google are through voice – with Amazon Echo and Google Home’s popularity, that will only increase.
If you are using SEO to promote a website, you need to consider the different ways that people are searching with voice to include conversational keywords that will boost your ranking. You also need to ensure that your website works seamlessly on mobile, tablet and computer. People can (and do) follow their browsing tabs from device to device – and you need to make sure your website lets them progress in their customer journey on each device.
Analytics is the invisible powerhouse behind social media marketing. Posting on social media and using search engines provides a huge amount of ‘Big Data.’ There’s a huge variety of information, a massive volume of information – and it’s produced with great velocity. Much of the work going into artificial intelligence isn’t so we can have robot butlers, but so this data can be analysed by corporations like Google and Facebook.
From a marketing perspective, this allows us to pinpoint audiences like we never have before. We can put pixels on websites to track a customer’s interaction. We can target audiences across different devices and different platforms. We can split test and segment our messages based on a huge number of different metrics. We can use analytics to make sure our content gets in front of the right people where their attention already is.
The cloud allows us to store and access data from wherever we are, even on the most basic of devices. When the Internet goes down, think about how much functionality is removed from your smartphone and even your computer. We’ve removed the need for physical media. Why bother with DVDs or CDs when you can just stream the content from Netflix or Spotify?
As more content migrates online, so does the attention of the audience. People will pay for a monthly subscription service so they can avoid advertising on TV and radio between shows and songs. It means that attention is shifting away from traditional media, but also gives an opportunity for marketers. There’s no way to know what people watch on DVD or listen to on CD, but online that information is easier to find and analyse.
You no longer have to target content on demographics, you can appeal to people who you know like certain TV shows, music, videogames – anything else they consume and talk about online. That means you can create messaging that directly talks to them in a language they’re already interested in.
The Rise of SMAC
SMAC isn’t going anywhere. It’s part of the evolution of the Internet, and as integral to our digital experience today as computers talking to each other and web browsers. There will be additions in the future, further integration of the Internet into our lives – through things like experience through VR and AR to integration with wearables and even implants. Even when those things do come to pass: social, mobile, analytics and the cloud will still play a key role.
Zachary Jarvis is a Digital Marketer with one thing on his mind: Results.
Uninspired by the never ending talk of ‘vanity metrics’ in the world of digital marketing, Magnate was founded – the ‘Social-First’ marketing agency.
On the very rare occasion he isn’t watching Step Brothers in his spare time – you’ll find Zachary in the thick of social platforms, learning what makes us tick.
This is driven by a fascination (perhaps a slight obsession…) with market trends and consumer behaviours.