By Narayan Sapkota
I consider myself lucky for being part of a generation that has seen the budding stage and the exponential growth of the internet. From the days of the screeching of dial-up internet connection to today’s omnipresent Wireless Internet, I’ve been scrambling to stay up to date be it by just checking spam mails in the early 2000s or being part of the vast social media today. While I have been stepping up to stay at par with the current state of the web, the ever growing web now connects more than 2.4 billion people whist still growing. Human civilization history has always suggested, where there are people, there will be businesses and what better place to set up a business than the Internet. Entrepreneurs having recognized this opportunity have set up businesses online reveling at the prospect and reaping the benefits through e-commerce and internet marketing. We’ve come a long way since the first clickable web ad was sold by Global Network Navigator to a Silicon Valley Law firm in 1993; the global revenue from Internet Ads now average at £1.7 Billion. Albeit the staggering amounts of data and revenue generated through the Internet, Nepal has been a dismal participant. Only recently through private start ups and e-commerce portals, the online marketing culture is starting to get embedded with traditional business marketing practices.
My earliest experience with online marketing was through an email when a website had offered to sell me a cheap plot of land in the US which frankly was the least bit of my concerns. Later when idly browsing through the web, I made an inquiry for the purchase of a laptop accessory to an online distributor and subsequently purchased the same without the hassle of visiting numerous electronic outlet shops. I was part of a vast global clientele that had availed business facilities online but still a newbie in the sector. The emergence of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc. has helped the cause as a majority of the people online is engaged in them one way or the other. Google had launched Adwords in 2000, which had laid the foundation for online marketing which was promptly followed by Facebook and Twitter through Facebook Ads and promotional trends/tweets respectively in 2006 and 2010. With such involvement internet marketing was a booming force and had taken over TV marketing by the end of 2009. The paradigm had shifted; a new goliath had been established. Traditional outlets such as hoarding boards, radio advertisement, digital billboards and even TV advertising are now obsolete. Also, the internet usage from desktop has now shifted to mobile devices, which now expands the opportunities for online marketers to get into people’s pockets that much better.
We now get to see online marketing strategies and ads everywhere in the internet. Scroll down through your newsfeed and you get to see companies flaunting their products hoping to catch your eye, your favorite search engines now host ads for every search you make, cookies and popup ads at every nook and cranny of websites you visit, apps on your tablets and phone show you ads; basically they’re everywhere. Call it aggressive marketing or a very smart way to sell products, it seems to be working and more and more people are being drawn into making their transactions online.
The present seems intriguing, but what does the future hold for internet marketing. The shift from desktops to mobile devices will play a pivotal role for future e-marketing trends. Better engagement and retargeting will be important for any website selling its products and services because it will easily get lost in the massive internet traffic. Social Ads which target demographics of users and ads with creative visual content will be more endearing. As always, an efficient assessment of a business’ marketing efficiency will be present. With sellers getting smart, the customer get smarter and they will take products and services offered for granted because of the sheer bulk of it. With the world getting smaller, effectively to a size that fits people’s pockets, an exciting future beholds with internet marketing right in the centre.
The author is a Business Development Officer at SoftNEP.