December 17, 2015 Jordhy Ledesma

Content Fragmentation Follows Device Introduction

A drop in the forest

If we map out the evolution of the Internet by device introduction we find very interesting dynamics. For one, every major device introduction has been preceded by a revolution in content production. We saw it with web browsers, mail list servers, iPhones,  social networks, Bitcoin, the Internet of Things  and now with wearables.

Every new device category that is successful in the marketplace brings with it a fragmentation in the content production unit of your business. Such a fragmentation is akin to translating your web site to a new language  but with a few important caveats. The surprising economic dynamics of this simple phenomenon are quite fascinating:

  1. Content production gets more expensive. At least for the first few years while the new device is still at the top of mind of the media and content producers are scare in the labor market.
  2. The average number of preproduction errors in your platform will (probably) increase significantly due to the added complexity of the new devices and all the needed integrations.
  3. Traffic will slowdown on every other single channel. New devices and services offer alternatives that will cannibalize your current offerings.
  4. Total engagement and traffic will increase, particularly that coming from developed countries were new devices are introduced first.
  5. Your financial success will depend on the overall adoption speed of the industry and the quality of the new traffic you’re bringing in. In other words, being an early adopter per se won’t bring in substantial profits if every other player is offering the same content. However, every new device presents the opportunity for your company to become more distanced from competitors and double down on monetization and up-sale efforts.

The lifecycle of these new devices are one of the key tidal waves that shift your traffic consumption and determine who sees your content. Right after a successful release your site will experience an influx of early adopters, consuming content thru the new device. However, as time goes by, the adoption curve will start reflecting your current traffic patterns. Hence, competitive imbalances won’t last very long after each major hardware introduction, if at all.

As we head into 2016, the study of your competitive imbalances (what sets your company apart from the competition) and the association of novel traffic patterns with device introduction can shed light into the future of your business. Try to plan ahead of major introductions to keep capturing high quality traffic and don’t forget to take into account product lifecycle events to fine tune your strategic content production plans.

 


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