Google, Amazon Vie To Gain IoT Attention From Marketers

With the purchase of IoT provider Xively, Google will be armed with an established platform that connects businesses with global devices and all the data that comes with it.

Google’s growing position as an Internet of Things (IoT) provider may signal a connected future for digital marketers, but it has a long way to go before catching up to Amazon.

According to a blog post, Google Cloud IoT and Pub/Sub product manager Antony Passemard said that through Xively, Cloud IoT Core will gain device management, messaging and dashboard capabilities.

As the world’s largest ad seller, Google is poised to bring in $40 billion or roughly 43 percent of US ad revenue this year. Advertising may be the company’s bread and butter, but its combined cloud service is already generating $1 billion per quarter.

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Business Insider predicts that there will be more than 55 billion IoT devices by 2025—up from about nine billion in 2017. With the launch of Google Home smart speakers, the advertising giant is poised to help marketers analyze IoT data through a range of offerings like Analytics 360 and SalesForce.

“Our customers will benefit from Xively’s extensive feature set and flexible device management platform, paired with the security and scale of Google Cloud,” said Passemard. “With Google Cloud’s deep leadership in data analytics and machine learning, our customers will also be uniquely positioned to build turnkey IoT solutions and focus on business value creation.”

Google’s late start to the IoT market will make it difficult to reach or surpass Amazon in terms of cloud revenue. Amazon Web Services (AWS)—which includes IoT—topped $17.4 billion in 2017 and continues to grow at a staggering 45 percent year over year. Amazon dominates the smart speaker market and has been a pioneer in consumer IoT from one-touch ordering through Amazon Touch Wands to its self-serve Amazon Go convenience store.

The same audacity that earned Amazon the top spot on Brand Finance’s “Global 500” rankings for 2018 may also be holding it back. Google has one major advantage—brands are more likely to support a company that isn’t trying to put them out of business.

From groceries to health care and home security, Amazon has set its sights on a number of industries, and competing brands are in no hurry to help. Supermarket chain Kroger, for example, uses Google cloud products but not Amazon’s.

“It doesn’t make sense for us to do a ton to help grow that business for them,” a Kroger executive told CNBC.

Gimlet, Oral B, Crest Kids Collaborate On Branded Alexa Podcast

With both podcasts and smart speakers emerging as dark-horse media platforms, it was only a matter of time before someone found a way to pair them. Enter Gimlet Media, Crest Kids and Oral B, who have created a kid-friendly tooth-brushing Alexa podcast designed foremost as a smart-speaker “skill.”

“Make tooth time easy with this morning and night tooth brushing show for kids. When it’s time for your family to brush teeth, say “Alexa, start Chompers,reads the announcement for the show.

Though the Alexa podcast is also available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, the smart-speaker version carries additional features, “count[ing] the times you brush and celebrat[ing] your streaks.”

“The way I think about Gimlet is that we’re trying to build a new kind of modern media company where everything begins in audio,” Matt Lieber, co-founder and president of Gimlet Media to The Wall Street Journal. “This is our first go at it, but we’re making real investments.”

Though branded podcasts are nothing new, especially for Gimlet, the company’s latest offering blurs the lines between podcast and interactive feature, brand advertising and content marketing. Or rather it would, if not for limitations set by the online-retail powerhouse.

Although the program is sponsored by Oral B and Crest Kids, Amazon’s rules prevent Gimlet from mentioning the partnership during the Alexa podcast itself. This means that actual advertising messages are limited to pre-roll mentions on the standard podcast version of the show, which, as professed on Chompers’ site, isn’t the first-choice listening method.

Current forecasts predict smart-speaker adoption will reach 45 million in the US alone this year, yet Amazon’s offerings still lack major functionality that marketers need. Despite predictions that half of all searches will be done with voice, the Echo does not offer paid search products for marketers, nor does it let shoppers fully explore shopping options, meaning that brands are at the whim of Amazon’s algorithms.

As it stands, Chompers is a bit of an odd duck, a piece of branded content in a format that tends lends itself to direct-response advertising, on a platform that won’t allow it to mention its brand and lacks options for brands to capitalize on voice-shopping calls to action.

Brands Test Limits Of Facebook 3D Posts After February Updates

Way back in October, Facebook introduced support for interactive 3D objects onto its news feed with basic functionality. But updates made to the platform just last week—including higher-quality visuals and easier sharing—have enabled brands to adopt the tech for their campaigns.

Some of the brands already adopting this tech include Lego, which posted a parrot made from toy bricks; Sony, which created a 3D photo of a real-world object using an Xperia XZ1 phone and its 3D Creator software; Supercell’s Clash Royale, which showed a 3D model of its new Magic Archer character; and Wayfair, which showcased three real-life furniture pieces in a single “virtual living room” post with a link to purchase them.

Using Facebook 3D posts, artists, developers and businesses can give users detailed virtual objects that can be rotated, examined and shared from computers and mobile devices directly from their news feed natively instead of relying on third-party applications. Brands benefit by engaging Facebook audiences using creatives that audiences can potentially collect and share.

The 3D posts are separate from Facebook’s augmented reality camera effects, which work similarly to Snapchat lenses to superimpose objects onto the real world, because interaction occurs directly from the news feed—which doesn’t support AR yet.

NBCUniversal’s campaign shows how these two features can work together. The network posted a 3D model of the famed velociraptor to promote Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which links to a complementary AR camera effect where the dinosaur can be placed into the real world and roars at you.

Shrenik Sadalgi, Wayfair’s director of next gen experiences, said that the home goods seller was attracted by the feature because users can discover, visualize and interact with 3D models of its products from their news feeds.

“Shopping for home is highly visual, and 3D posts allow us to create a visually rich and interactive experience, while enabling our customers to engage with our products and brand in a meaningful way,” said Sadalgi. 

 

Sadalgi added that the use of 3D posts will be in line with Wayfair’s current social and marketing efforts, and as an early adopter, the company continues to explore new ways to leverage 3D posts to enhance the shopping experience using engaging content.

As brands develop more 3D content for the news feed, user feedback will likely shape products and the way brands engage with them. But for the time being, 3D posts have some significant limitations.

“Currently, 3D is being distributed and consumed in simple small bites, but as technology and usage evolves, the content will get richer and more complex, leading to more visually rich and interactive posts,” Sadalgi said.

Ara Parikh, product marketing manager at OmniVirt, an VR/AR advertising platform, explains that there are a number of benefits Facebook 3D posts brings to brands. Parikh said that brands view the feature favorably and are embracing 3D models and AR to help increase engagement as opposed to having users passively scroll past banner ads. As more creators make use of the feature, “brands can take advantage of Facebook essentially training users to embrace and champion this format, without having to do that work themselves.”

Parikh also notes a current limitation: brands are beholden to advertising on that platform, which goes against Facebook’s recent algorithm change demoting brand posts. But opportunity to have users view 3D experiences without having to download a separate application may be too great for brands to overlook.

“Overall, it’s a positive shift towards the new wave of immersive media and brands are going to the lead the way in pushing this medium,” said Parikh.

Offering virtual objects is an an emerging form of engagement, exemplified by platforms such as Quidd, an online marketplace where users can pick up and trade virtual goods such as licensed 3D toys from Funko to connect with TV shows such as Star Trek, Rick and Morty, Game of Thrones and others. The company’s CEO and co-founder Michael Bramlage told AListDaily in a separate interview that the platform mainly appeals to millennial females, many of whom have grown accustomed to interacting with each other digitally using GIFs and stickers.

Facebook 3D objects can also be brought into Facebook Spacesan experimental VR social platformwhere users can interact with them. That is the extent of its cross-platform capabilities for now, but there are more enhancements being developed. Eventually, 3D posts will support higher-quality 3D models, interactive animations and having objects placed in the real world using augmented reality.

Lucy Bradshaw, product manager of Facebook social VR, told AListDaily that 3D posts will eventually open the way for objects to be shared across multiple platforms including AR, VR, mobile and web. Facebook regards 3D posts as an additional medium, evolved from photos and videos, that allows people to share the things that they care about.

“With 3D posts, we ultimately want to enable people to tell a mini-story on Facebook, with interactive three-dimensional objects and even whole scenes,” she said. “We envision a future digital world where people can share these immersive experiences across VR, AR and Facebook news feed seamlessly.”

5 Major 2018 Mobile World Congress Takeaways For Marketers

While Mobile World Congress 2018 draws to a close, its prevailing themes—from the ethics of AI to the possibilities of 5G—leave mobile marketers with much to think about over the coming year.

Augmenting Our Reality

Google launched its ARCore platform during MWC that works on 100 million Android smartphones. A preview version of Google Lens was introduced for English-language users.

Verizon-owned media company Oath rolled out mobile AR ad offerings that can be embedded directly into mobile apps like Yahoo Mail. Selecting the ad allows consumers to visualize products within their surroundings.

“The rise of mobile AR provides a valuable new medium for marketers to create experiences,” Carter Rogers, senior analyst at SuperData told AListDaily. “Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore have expanded the addressable audience for high-quality mobile AR into the hundreds of millions.”

5G Connects The World

“As smartphones and 4G have become commonplace, mobile technology has lost some of its magic, and 5G looks unlikely to set the consumer world on fire,” predicts Rob Gallagher, research director of consumer services for Ovum.

Sprint plans to roll out 5G networks in select US markets this year, with plans to bring the service to the rest of the country in 2019.

Higher connection speeds are being considered for uses other than smartphones. Huawei brought a prototype robot to MWC that is controlled by a human user via 5G. The robot is designed to replace humans in hazardous workplace situations.

AI Should Help, Not Hinder

As AI becomes a core component of digital marketing, ethical approaches become a pressing topic. Douglas and IBM’s Jay Allen led a workshop that addressed the differences between compliance and ethical business. The goal was to make sure clients consent to and are comfortable with data practices.

Robots are here, but they haven’t rebelled against their creators yet. Experts stressed the importance of making AI helpful rather than a replacement for humans altogether.

In a panel, Google technical lead manager Behshad Behzadi predicted that many jobs will be complemented by AI, while new jobs will be created.

The Future Is Female

Unilever has partnered with UN Women and 22 other companies to form the Global Innovation Coalition for Change. Unilever vowed at 50 percent of the start-ups it invests in by 2023 will be female-founded, but has no plans to give preferential treatment. Businesses have to be deserving, according to Unilever VP of marketing Aline Santos.

“It will trigger action from accounting companies to incentivise young women . . . and scouring companies to bring us a more balanced slate,” Santos told The Drum. “It will affect the whole supply chain of startups. Every time a big company like Unilever says something like that it has lots of positive effects.”

Customer Experience (CX) Is King

When you look between the lines of shiny new gadgets and this year’s hottest buzzwords, the underlying theme of Mobile World Congress was delivering a quality experience to customers.

Brands At MWC Eye AI For Personalized User Experiences

Artificial intelligence in on display at Mobile World Congress as brands shift focus to creating a personalized customer experience.

While AI has become one of the biggest buzzwords of the year, its use as a marketing tactic has some in the industry raising eyebrows. Just as marketers stretch the limits of what constitutes VR versus 360-degree video, they should be cautious about misusing AI as a sales tool and focus on experiences instead.

“From the perspective of consumers, they are not going to buy AI,” Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight told CNBC. “They are going to buy products which use AI and deliver a fantastic experience.”

The AI products on prominent display at MWC are focusing on customer engagement as a central value proposition.

Mercedes-Benz placed a heavy emphasis on mobile integration and AI, unveiling a line-up of vehicle features that learn and adapt to each driver’s behavior and preferences. A new chatbot called “Ask Mercedes” allows users to ask questions and view augmented reality functions using the mobile app.

Telefonica launched AI-powered digital assistant called Aura in six countries during MWC and announced a new smart home device, Movistar Home.

Asus unveiled its ZenFone 5Z and ZenFone 5 smartphones that feature dual-camera systems that use AI to adapt and learn.

As AI is a tool proven to make sense of data, some marketers have been left to wonder about their job security. During a panel at MWC, Google technical lead manager Behshad Behzadi claimed that many jobs will be complemented by AI, while new jobs will be created.

“For sure there is some shift in the jobs. There are lots of jobs which will [be created which don’t exist today]. Think about flight attendant jobs before there were planes and commercial flights,” said Behzadi. “No one could really predict that this job will appear. So there are jobs which will be appearing of that type that are related to the AI.”

“I don’t think there’s any profession in the world that will not be hit by artificial intelligence in the coming years,” added Bob Lord, IBM’s chief digital officer during the panel.

As the deadline for GDPR guidelines looms, and brands are feeling the pressure. With AI able to process so much helpful information, data privacy is throwing a monkey wrench into the aspirations of many.

IBM executive partner Jessica Douglas called on marketers to look at data privacy not as a challenge, but as a way of life. Data privacy, she said, is “fundamental in the future of the digital world: transparent, truthful and fair.”

5G Offers New Possibilities, But Marketers Wonder What Those Are

The dawn of 5G promises to solve a number of problems for marketers, but as the launch of the technology looms sooner than expected, brands struggle to find the most profitable use cases.

For marketers, a faster network opens the door to interactive ad strategies that would not have been possible on slower networks. The use of embedded AR and VR ads, for example, may become more common as 5G would be able to handle the load.

On mobile devices, 53 percent of users will abandon a page if it takes more than three seconds to load, Google found recently.

Much like the IoT and VR, marketers can dream up any number of possible use cases for 5G, but the “next big thing” may not have been invented yet.

“There’s going to be a new class of companies that are going to show up because of this transition,” Drew Henry, senior vice president and general manager of infrastructure at ARM told Venture Beat. “There’s going to be big IPOs, maybe some of the biggest we’ve seen. It’s going to be fun.”

The communication technology industry desperately needs something new and exciting to boost consumer adoption. Smartphone sales dropped for the first time ever in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to Gartner. As phones get more expensive and offer more features, consumers are holding on to them longer, resulting in a drop of 5.6 percent for smartphone sales.

By extension, brands and retailers that partner with handset manufacturers feel the pinch as well—and shiny new 5G options could be just the thing to get customers back in the stores.

Handset manufacturers are looking for a 5G hook beyond speed alone.

“The big issue is if 5G can make money for us,” KT executive vice president HongBeomJeon said during an Intel event at MWC on Sunday. “It’s not only the technical issues. It’s the business issues. At the Olympics, we demonstrated many interesting applications. But we don’t know what is the killer application for 5G.”

Massive amounts of data being processed is good news for AI providers—and for marketers as well, depending on what information is gleaned from that data. Targeted marketing efforts stand to benefit from new information gathered, but only if marketers know what to do with all that data.

Targeting Consumers During ‘Personal Prime Time’ Varies By Generation

Consumers are creating their own “personal prime times” to engage with media throughout the day, according to a report by The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). Understanding this behavior across age groups and devices creates opportunities for marketers to cater their targeted marketing strategies.

Released during Mobile World Congress on Tuesday, Personal Prime Time looks at the customer journey on a typical workday across episodic shows, music, news, podcasts, short videos, social media and weather.

All three age groups studied—millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers—share a common trend in that they engage with the example media types several times throughout the day. The difference, IAB found, is in times of day, devices used and reasons for engagement.

“In the age of ‘big data’ it makes no sense for advertisers to place their focus solely on big numbers, when they can take advantage of insights that can help them pinpoint the right customer, the right way, at the right time,” Anna Bager, executive vice president of Industry Initiatives at IAB said in a statement.

For this study, millennials are defined as between the ages of 18-34, Gen X is 35-54 and Baby Boomers are over the age of 55.

While 82 percent of millennials and 66 percent of Baby Boomers report checking social media during various dayparts or all day long, motivations for doing so are different. Respondents were provided with a list of “need states” to choose from that best describe their reasons for engaging.

For millennials, social media is used to “pass the time” and “be entertained” while Boomers are looking to “connect with others.” Younger consumers turn to their mobile devices to check social media, while older generations use a desktop computer.

Among the 69 percent of consumers who regularly check social media, 45 percent report the highest concentration during the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. This is also the time period in which all respondents perceived the highest value of the information they were receiving.

“Brands should no longer expect a single, universal moment of greatest engagement,” said IAB alongside its findings. “While audience size might shift between different times of day, every daypart is ripe for meaningful consumer connections.”

Among respondents that engage in media on a regular basis throughout the day, popular activities varied by generation.

Consumers 55 and over check news and weather most frequently. Gen X listens to music and checks the weather most often, while millennials listen to music and check social media. Among all three age groups, podcasts were the least popular in terms of being conducted on a regular basis.

Seventy percent of consumers who say they regularly post on social media do so multiple times during a typical weekday.

All generations studied check news most frequently in the early morning hours at 38 percent, followed by the early evening at 36 percent. The least popular time is during late night at just 10 percent.

One Year Later, Instagram Stories Ad Strategies Decoded

On March 1, Instagram Stories celebrates the one-year anniversary of its official advertising rollout, which combines Snapchat-like aesthetics with Facebook’s audience-targeting capabilities. Over the past year, marketers have used the short-form video platform for a wide range of campaigns to varying levels of success.

Platform Successes

It’s worth noting that while Instagram Stories advertising is a relatively new format, it’s one the industry can wrap its head around: it’s a hybrid between traditional Instagram post ads—which itself is a young platform, only rolling out large-scale in late 2015—and YouTube/Facebook-style pre-roll advertising.

While not a perfect platform, Instagram Stories gives marketers an opportunity to reach a large audience with video for a relatively small financial investment. And when done right, it can reap considerable benefits.

Nike and Laundry Service had one of the earliest marketing successes on Instagram Stores through the Jumpman23 account. The Michael Jordan sneaker-centric Instagram feed was an established favorite with sneaker- and sport-loving Instagram users, Nike used the Jumpman23 account to debut a new Michigan football jersey in Instagram Stories in the summer of 2016 before Stories advertising launched globally.

According to AdAge, the short video racked up 800,000 views in 24 hours. To put this into perspective, Instagram Stories had approximately 100 million daily viewers in October 2016, two months after the ad aired.

Although a campaign video with viewership level this high is an outlier, it gives a good idea of reach. As of November 2017, the most recent month for which data is available, Instagram Stories have 300 million daily active users.

Airbnb has also found some success using the platform, seeing a double-digit increase in ad recall from an Instagram Stories campaign, according to a post on Instagram’s business blog.

Many marketers will find Instagram Stories advertisements familiar, as the ads resemble vertical-oriented versions of traditional preroll. Instagram Stories ads just takes this a step further. For instance, campaigns can leverage Instagram-native elements.

For a campaign in late 2017, McDonalds Malaysia worked with agency IDOTYOU to target two animated video ads promoting McFlurries and McCafe drinks to Malaysians aged 18-44 with an interest in desserts and coffee. The firm integrated a timing bar made out of coffee beans into the ads and animation to differentiate it from conventional ads. According to Instagram, the campaign successfully reached 60% of the target audience and tripled in-store sales.

Overcoming Usability Challenges

While marketers are often fascinated by new technologies, they aren’t always perfect fits for their brands or campaign needs.

When it comes to Instagram Stories advertising, “skip swipe” is one of its most challenging aspects, said Alec McNayr of Fullscreen, as users are hypersensitive and can tell the difference between a friend’s amateur work and a “professionally-produced vertical spot.”

“An Instagram Stories view is one of the hardest views to earn in social media—but worth it,” McNayr told AListDaily. “You have to advertise while not looking like an ad. Instagram Stories is a much more private experience for people—much more than other social platforms, or, for that matter, the main Instagram.”

This may be a challenge for Instagram Stories to tackle in hindsight while the platform focuses on competing with Snapchat. As a selling point, Facebook offers its Instagram marketers considerably more detailed analytics than its yellow-ghost adversary—marketers can craft Instagram Stories campaigns around view counts, traffic, conversions and mobile app installations.

These abilities compensate for shortcomings in placing advertisements on Instagram Stories. Stephanie Cartin, co-CEO of social media firm Socialfly, noted Instagram Stories has a shorter call-to-action window for marketers compared to other formats.

“The user can’t go back to the Instagram Story ad once it’s played,” Cartin said. “This means they can only choose to take action, such as swipe up, within the time period the ad is playing. The length is also relatively short, from 1 to 15 seconds, which may not be preferable to a brand that doesn’t have a simple message for their advertising campaign.”

To maintain the platform for future use, Facebook regularly rolls out new tools for marketers to use within Instagram Stories campaigns. In February of 2018, Instagram debuted Carousel Ads within Stories—a new technique which allows up to three photographs or videos to be inserted within a single Stories ad. Corporate customers like The Gap are already using the new functionality.

‘Pikachu Talk’ Markets Pokémon Day With Zero UI

In honor of “Pokémon Day” on February 27, which honors the franchise’s 22nd anniversary, the Pokémon Company has released Pikachu Talk—a new skill for Amazon Alexa and Google Home that allows users to have a “conversation” with the famous Pokémon character.

The skill follows a trend of using celebrity and fictional character voices for zero UI marketing, which creates opportunities for brands to get creative with consumer interaction. Over the past year, marketers have experimented with uses for voice interaction that range from video game integration to cocktail recipes.

Fulfilling the childhood—and in some cases, adulthood—fantasies of interacting with a character such as Pikachu can create a sense of closeness with the brand. Parents can use the Pikachu Talk skill to introduce a “childhood friend” to their own children using their voice. Interacting with a celebrity-voice AI can also make consumers feel connected to someone they admire and by extension, the brand they represent.

Eric Bisceglia, vice president of Go-To-Market at Voysis—a voice AI platform that enables natural language instruction and search—says that this emerging technology creates opportunities for more than just Google and Amazon.

“Just like with mobile devices in the early 2000s, voice AI is revolutionizing how we interact with technology as well as how we discover and consume content,” Bisceglia told AListDaily. “As usage of voice continues to skyrocket, it’s critical that marketers develop a voice strategy now.”

Brands are noticing and taking advantage. In December, Activision and developer Bungie launched an official Alexa skill that integrates directly into Destiny 2. The Ghost skill—so named for a player’s companion AI in the game—uses voice recognition to equip loadouts, provide details about a player’s progress or connect with other players through Alexa.

For the September debut of Star Trek: Discovery, CBS created a feature for Amazon Echo. Users can change the wake word to “computer,” as if they are speaking to onboard computers in the Star Trek universe. Consumers can also try out different sayings to prompt Star Trek-themed responses from the AI assistant, such as “Alexa, red alert” and “Alexa, beam me up.”

Last April, Hearst—publisher of O, The Oprah Magazine—teamed up with Amazon to create an experimental project called “O to Go.” The skill for Amazon Echo features Oprah Winfrey reading 90 snippets from her book, What I Know for Sure when prompted by the user.

First released in Japan, Pikachu Talk is now available for Amazon Alexa devices in most countries and Google Home devices in the US. Fans can ask Alexa or Google Home to speak with Pikachu and he will respond. Users can then ask questions or have him tell a story, all the form of “pika” or “pikachu.”

Further celebrating its holiday beyond the Amazon skill activation, The Pokémon Company has also introduced Snapchat filters and special events inside its hit mobile AR game, Pokémon GO.

Inclusive Internet Index: Connectivity Hurdles Persist In Developing Nations

Low-income and emerging nations are expanding their internet infrastructure almost ten times faster than the developed world. But despite the triumphs of higher connectivity and cheaper access, many problems still persist, the Inclusive Internet Index reveals.

“Connectivity gives people a voice and helps them find and share knowledge, strengthen their economies, and improve their communities,” write Robert Pepper and Molly Jackman, Facebook’s head of global connectivity policy and public policy research manager, respectively. “Bringing people online can offer life-changing opportunities, but there are still approximately 3.8 billion people without internet access.”

Facebook and The Economist Intelligence Unit’s second annual Inclusive Internet Index has revealed that the developing world has increased internet access by 65.1 percent over the past twelve months. Despite this impressive growth, the absolute numbers are less impressive: low-income-nation access to the internet is still only 13.2 percent of households.

Expanding and improving access to 4G mobile internet networks is picking up the slack, nearly doubling in availability for low-income countries.

“In some countries, fixed-line internet access is too expensive or inaccessible — that’s why mobile services are critical,” Pepper and Jackman write. “In fact, the average 4G coverage rate for low-income countries increased year-over-year from 9.1 percent to 17.3 percent, with particularly rapid expansion in Guatemala, Indonesia, Thailand, Zambia and China.”

This increased access to the internet is driving consumers in developing and emerging markets to earn more, spend less and feel more independent. Almost 70 percent of internet users in Asia, the Middle East and Africa claim that internet access has made them more empowered and independent, while 67 percent believed that internet access is a human right. In the same regions, the average price for broadband plans dropped by 17 percent.

Not all of the Internet Inclusivity Index’s findings were positive, however. Despite reduced costs, the price of internet access is still too high for many, especially in developing countries.

“People are still devoting too much of their earnings on internet access relative to their income level,” write Pepper and Jackman. “In too many low-income countries, it is still not as affordable as the UN 2025 target of less than 2 percent of GNI [gross national income] per capita.”

Additionally, concerns over privacy and security have caused many to limit their internet use. Fears over “creepy” messaging isn’t limited to the first world: less than half of all internet users feel at least “somewhat” confident that their online activity is private, and 85 percent of European users claim that privacy concerns have caused them to use the internet less.

This fear can hit brands, especially ones focused on e-commerce, directly in their wallets. Only 62 percent of global Inclusive Internet Index respondents reported feeling safe and secure while online shopping, costing e-retailers potential customers through no direct fault of their own.

The push for a more inclusive internet is making significant progress, but work remains to be done if marketers hope to expand their share of global prosperity.

“Private companies can continue to extend the internet’s infrastructure and invent new technologies and applications that increase access to connectivity and amplify its relevance,” Jackman and Pepper write. “There is still more to do.”