The web itself has been transforming at an exponential rate; becoming more innovative through each evolution. So how has the internet differed between web 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and the prospective 4.0 and what implications does and will this have on marketing?
The internet plays a huge role in society today and has altered the way in which a vast range of industries and professions now operate.
This snowball effect of transformation all started at what is known as ‘Web 1.0’. Web 1.0 is referred to as the ‘read only’ web (Flat World Business, 2011) and primarily just provided information to users. (Etlon Boocock, 2014) All the data on the websites within this era were presented in a static means to the viewer, with no opportunity for interaction. In terms of marketing, Web 1.0 introduced the simple online ‘shopping cart’ form e-commerce between business and consumers. The marketing behind this was very simple- a product was merely presented to a consumer as a catalogue would, in hopes that a consumer would find it appealing. (Flat World Business, 2011) There were limitations on to targeting these advertisements to a specific audience.
Progressing into the 21st century, Web 2.0 saw a new platform for the internet, allowing for the interaction and participation of users online. Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, YouTube are just a few of the many paramount additions into what as referred to as the ‘read-write’ web (Flat World Business, 2011) The introduction of social media opened up a whole new playing field for marketers; allowing them to set up social media accounts for their businesses, permitting live interaction with users. This poses both positive and negatives on businesses, as unlike Web 1.0, Web 2.0 is less controlled and the information which consumers may share is entirely up to them and could potentially be harmful to a business’s image. (Flat World Business, 2011)
Web 3.0, or commonly known as the ‘executable web’ or ‘semantic web’ (Aghaei, S, Nematbakhsh, M A, and Farsani, H K, 2012) is more or less the current stage the internet is at today. Web 3.0, involves the computer or device keeping a record of everything the user may search or browse at online, takes note of how frequent these occur and makes connections between the data. (Flat World Business, 2011) This is all done to allow for a personalised web to best suit the consumer. For example, when user searches something on a search engine such as ‘Google’, what is known as a ‘filter bubble’ occurs- this involves an algorithm based on the users recent or common searches in which the search results they receive are based on. This has become a huge tool for marketers, as now they can target their products directly to those consumers who are most likely to be interested.
Although still a vision for the future; Web 4.0 is set to be known as the read-write-execution-concurrency web. (Aghaei, S, Nematbakhsh, M A, and Farsani, H K, 2012) Building on from Web 3.0, 4.0 will have the knowledge of the users interests, common habits etc. and make executive decisions based upon them. This web will excel in devices such as smart phones which have access to the user’s calendar, social media, text messages, browsing history, GPS etc. and will make connections and decisions based upon these. An example scenario of Web 4.0 as mentioned by Seth Godin on his blog, is that if someone was late to a dinner/ lunch with some friends, the device would have picked up on it due to the calendar, GPS, traffic status and therefore alert the people waiting that they will be late. (Godin, S 2007)
The web has drastically changed the way marketers sell and promote their products, opening up new platforms and a larger consumer base. There appears to be no slowing down, therefore marketers will need to adapt to these changes and make the most of these technological advances in order for their product or service to excel.
- Flat World Business, 2011, ‘Web 1.0 vs Web 2.0 vs Web 3.0 vs Web 4.0 vs Web 5.0 – A bird’s eye on the evolution and definition’, Flat World Business, viewed 17 August 2016 <https://flatworldbusiness.wordpress.com/flat-education/previously/web-1-0-vs-web-2-0-vs-web-3-0-a-bird-eye-on-the-definition/>
- Web 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and Beyond – Information and Interaction, 2014, online video, 27 May 2014, Elton Boocock, viewed 16 August 2016 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZQd1c3YVuI>
- Aghaei, S , Nematbakhsh, M A, and Farsani, H K 2012, ‘Evolution of the World Wide Web: from Web 1.0 to Web 4.0’, International Journal of Web & Semantic Technology, vol. 3, no.1 pp. 1-10, viewed 15 August 2016 <http://airccse.org/journal/ijwest/papers/3112ijwest01.pdf>
- Godin, S 2007, ‘Web 4’, Seth’s Blog, 19 January 2007, viewed 17 August 2016, <http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2007/01/web4.html>