How Google Fiber Will Impact Digital Marketers
Google Fiber, an experimental broadband Internet network launching first in Kansas City, Mo., will offer connectivity at about 100 times faster than the typical speed. What does 100 times faster look like? Imagine driving your car cross-country from San Francisco to New York City. What would normally take you nearly two full days would take less than 30 minutes. Now apply that math to our digital world.
At 1,000 megabits per second, Google Fiber users can utilize technology at the speed of demand rather than the speed networks will allow. Never again will we need to buffer or wait for a scrollbar to slowly crawl through an upload. It was only years ago that we rid ourselves of the lovely melodic tune of screeching dial-up. Since then, the evolution of connection speed has flatlined.
The U.S. creates some of the most advanced technologies, yet it ranks 13th in Internet speeds — behind even Romania and Latvia. Google Fiber provides the infrastructure our innovation begs for.
It’s easy to get excited about this accelerated technology. But looking beyond the personal benefits, what does Google Fiber mean for us as digital marketers?
The Internet is the foundation of what we do. Without Internet, there is no need for digital marketing. It also is the life source of the way we work, and our speed of productivity relies on the speed in which it can operate. What if we could stream high-definition presentations to clients without wait time or worry? Our ability to upload, stage, test and go live can happen quicker than ever imagined. The speed and efficiencies at which we work will be revolutionized. You will no longer need to pause work for your connection to catch up. The time-wasted waiting can be put back into what we’re really passionate about— creating brilliant work to drive our client’s business.
As always, with our clients’ best interests in mind, we should look at what implications fiber connectivity will have for them. It will no doubt create shifts across industries. Quicker connections have potential to shift focus and budget allocation to accommodate new consumer demand. Products and services will require innovation parallel to this new wave of digital speed. It’s more than just allocating marketing budgets to digital. A more efficient digital infrastructure is the nudge businesses need to evolve.
The End User
Perhaps most importantly in our agency-client relationship is the impact this will have on the end user. The work we produce and decisions we make will need to account for the new realm of consumer expectations and potential shifts in consumption behavior. For digital advertising, rich media is a golden nugget. It is generally the most impactful option but also the most budget- and tech-intensive. Our data shows that experiential media is what our consumers demand, but our technological infrastructure fails to accommodate that as a standard. Without these limitations, Google Fiber may allow for more robust and engaging approaches to the consumer experiences we create.
Before we get lost in the optimistic clouds, keep in mind that Google Fiber, while revolutionary, may not be all gigabits and rainbow rabbits. With the bottleneck of limited Internet access removed, this may open the floodgates to digital overload. This means more communication clutter to cut through to make our clients’ message heard. Additionally, Google Fiber is complementing the Internet offering with cable, a duo package that is also threatening the livelihood of cable service providers across the country. One of the most cautionary shifts will be a new reliance on one infrastructure — putting data in the hands of a single powerhouse — whose company’s informal mantra just happens to be “Don’t Be Evil.” Users would have to trust Google to not compromise or inhibit access to the digital world. If Google Fiber becomes the end-all, be-all, does that mean a Google-future world?
With any innovation of this magnitude, there always lies doubt. However, the potential for revolutionizing our industry and world is at our fingertips. As digital marketers, we have a duty to inform not only clients but the community and ourselves about the promising power this technology may bring.
Google Fiber may just propel technology to catch up with consumer demand and catapult us into the next digital frontier. How we anticipate and leverage that power is up to us.
Brooke Beason, Digital Insights Analyst at VML, also contributed to this article.
Megan O'Malley is an Account Planner at VML, a digital marketing agency in Kansas City, MO. As an Account Planner, her role is to translate research and consumer insights into digital strategies for clients. Megan earned an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University, where she specialized in Consumer Insight. Connect with her at @xoxOMalley.