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Destination Web

June 6, 2009

Interesting blog post by Steve Rubel.


Micro Persuasion

Steve Rubel

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The End of the Destination Web Era

Photo credit: Décoration du château de Versaille by Djof

For the last 15 years marketers lived like kings online. We built ornate palaces in homage to ourselves in the form of web sites and micro sites. Each acts as a destination that embodies our meticulous choice of aesthetics, content and activities.

We still put a lot of time, effort and money into erecting these palaces, much as Louis XIV did in planning Versailles. And, for the most part we have been rewarded handsomely for our efforts. For years consumers flocked to our sites, reveled in all we had to say, played with our toys and, sometimes, were motivated enough as a result to buy our stuff.

That’s what life was like in the good old days. But now we’re in the age of online enlightenment. People (rightfully) have reasoned that they too can be creators, not just consumers. Content choices became infinite and peers are trumping pros.

After years of erosion it now it appears the destination web era is drawing to a close. This a trend that digital thinkers like Om Malik have long noted. In fact, the numbers prove it.

In March the average American visited a mere 111 domains and 2,500 web pages, according to Nielsen Online. What’s worse, our attention across these pages is highly fragmented. The average time spent per page is a mere 56 seconds. Portals and search engines dominate, capturing approximately 12 of the 75 hours spent online in March. However, people-powered sites like Wikipedia, Facebook and YouTube are not far behind, snagging nearly 4.5 hours of our monthly attention.

In the post-destination web era the secret to breaking through won’t be advertising. A new study from ARAnet in conjunction with Opinion Research Corporation confirms what PR execs have known for years – we are far more likely to take action when reading online articles that include brand information (51%) compared to search engine advertising (39%) or banner ads (25%).

Unfortunately, digital marketing is still wired for the destination web era. To succeed going forward we have to change our thinking…

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