Who's using the internet and what do they want? It's a simple starting point for finding out what should happen next to the internet as it morphs into a sophisticated and increasingly mobile e-commerce platform.
One in four of us spend a third of our lives on the mobile web, and we're (mostly) willing to share more of our lives and data to get a better experience, but only when it works.
A new report by web analyst firm Netbiscuits took in the opinions of 6,000 people in the UK, US, Brazil, China, Germany and India, and it has revealed the emerging boundaries, the differing national attitudes to personal data, and the unacceptable practices that web designers, marketers and data specialists need to know about to address a platform that's completely driven by its users: The People's Web.
What is The People's Web?
It describes how the internet is changing – and fast – according to the demands put on it by users. It's in flux because increased smartphone use is transforming it into a largely mobile platform. The mobile web is evolving so quickly, and people's online behaviours and attitudes are changing just as fast, meaning that the shape of tomorrow's mobile web is up for grabs. Yesterday's digital marketing norms will mean nothing tomorrow.
Is there a crisis in the mobile web?
With 96% claiming they had abandoned a mobile website because of a poor experience, the mobile user base appears to be an increasingly demanding and frustrated bunch. The major reasons for mobile web disappointment include websites being too slow (96%), with 95% claiming it was too difficult to enter information and the same number claiming they could not find what they were looking for on mobile websites. Globally, 41% think speed is the most important thing when using the mobile web, with 61% wanting faster downloads.
Is your website optimised for mobile?
With 95% of people now satisfied with using the web on their mobile devices, the hardware race is won. That has huge ramifications for websites, all of which need to be optimised for mobile to even get on the starting grid. The report revealed that exactly 76% of people will abandon a website if it's not optimised for mobile browsing, while over 30% won't even attempt to use a website that's not mobile-ready. A whopping 91% then head straight for a competitor. Brand loyalty is history.
Are we becoming more cynical about personal data?
Data is increasingly being seen as a bargaining chip by web users to get what they want. "It varies across countries, ages and genders, but there seems to be a growing trend towards thinking this is no longer just 'data about me', rather it's becoming more of a case of this is 'my data'," says Daniel Weisbeck, CEO of Netbiscuits.
"As consumers become aware that their movements and actions are being tracked, or read that a social network has deliberately altered people's news feeds to see if they can trigger an emotional reaction, it is bound to lead to consumers taking a cynical approach to companies requesting their data."
What about location data?
For an app to successfully ask for the location of the user it needs to be extremely transparent about why it needs that kind of information. Netbiscuits found that 40% of those surveyed instantly abandon a site if it asks for their location, though 79% will share that information if – and only if – it's for a specific purpose, such as searching for local area services.
"When people know the goal or the outcome of sharing information, the response is overwhelmingly positive," says Weisbeck. "It is the ambiguity of why companies want this information that makes consumers nervous or question the motivation."
Germans are the least likely to share their location with apps and websites, and Brits the most likely. "Being sensitive to national views about the use of data is especially important when thinking about how to address specific markets," says Weisbeck. "Germany always demonstrates a higher sensitivity towards privacy issues."