The World Wide Web (also referred as W3, Internet, or simply as the Web) has been turning into indispensible global communication media over the last two decades. Nowadays, billions of people around the world are online for 24 hours a day. On one hand, the Internet users are constantly growing particularly in developing markets like China, India, Brasilia, and Eastern Europe. On other hand, the broadband Interment connections are getting wide-spread in the developed countries in North America, Europe, and South-East Asia. These two major developments of the last several years make possible many new trends in Internet marketing strategies to occur. Novel trends in Internet marketing are successfully employed by global companies like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and many others. In addition, Internet offers some valuable options for reducing the cost of many marketing strategies, which is becoming more important in the presence of world-wide finical and economical crisis.
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The main research focus of this dissertation is set on investigating recent trends and developments in Internet marketing. The application of Internet as a novel business tool created completely new approaches for doing business known as Internet or Online marketing. The usage of Internet for providing services or products is known as Internet, Online, Web, or simply i-marketing. Since, the Internet has become a global interactive media the impact of the Internet marketing has dramatically increased over the last decade. Internet marketing is all about generating web traffic to a particular website and employing this traffic for generating sells of products and/or services, and making promotions of any kind including online advertising campaigns.
Internet has profoundly changed the way we do business in many different areas and has created completely new business models. With its global reach Internet has turned electronic commerce (e-commerce) into the fastest growing tool for promoting, selling, and buying services and goods around the world, 24 hours a day.
The e-commerce is a traditional and important part of Internet marketing. In addition, Internet marketing has currently expanded into many different business areas beyond e-commerce. For instance, online banking has been provided by growing number of banks that offer very useful services to their clients 24 hour a day not matter where they are. Selling products directly to consumers via Internet is known as B2C (business to consumers) while selling goods to businesses is known as B2B (business to businesses). Websites that are used to sell directly to customers or businesses are known as lead-based sites. Another e-commerce approach is referred as affiliate marketing. This is an arrangement between an online merchant and affiliate, in which the affiliate earns a commission for generating sales, leads, traffic, and/or clicks for the merchant’s website. For example, many credit card companies are paying a commission for each visitor sent to their website who completes a credit card application.
Targeting actual, former, or potential consumers with email messages is known as email marketing. It is estimated that in the USA companies have spent over 400 million USD for email marketing in 2006. The email messages can be sent for various marketing purposes including acquiring new customers, adding advertisements to e-mail for new products, encouraging current or former customer loyalty, or sending e-mails over the Internet to unknown recipients. There are many advantages of email-marketing like low cost, fast delivery, and others. There are many computer programs that can generate media reach emails and can send emails to many consumers simultaneously. At the same time email marketing is facing a real problem caused by the huge amount of unwonted (spam) email messages. Many companies have well realized the problems facing email marketing by the spam email and have tried to address it using Newsletters and other new forms of email marketing.
Social network marketing is making headlines these days as the most noticeable social websites are Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace. There are currently more than 40 different social networking sites on the web with over 350 million registered users only by Facebook. It is a very fast growing new field of Internet marketing that may be very efficient in addressing specific groups of consumers. Facebook marketing is a very productive approach for relationships building marketing strategy and promoting new products and services among targeting groups of consumers. Many companies like Dell, Sony, and many others are now using Internet marketing by creating official company’s pages in Facebook and other social networking websites. The social websites are accessible not only via personal computers but also though mobile devices like iPhone. This represents a recent trend that bustles additionally the growing field of mobile phone marketing. As a result many companies are making their leading websites mobile phones friendly. Facebook has played a remarkable role in the presidential campaign of President Barack Obama. He was able to collect many small donations from his fans on Facebook that made the biggest sum of any presidential campaign so far. In addition, his Facebook campaign has demonstrated the enormous power of social networking websites for organizing groups of specific interests.
Blogging marketing is also an important communication channel for many companies that wont to be in touch with their customers. A growing number of customers want to voice their opinions on products and services they have purchased. At the same time many companies are realizing the huge potential of using Internet blogs for trustful by consumers online advertising.
The Internet marketing has profoundly changed the advertising industry. According to a Price-Water-House report 16.9 billion USD was spent on Internet marketing in the U.S. in 2006.8 The Internet advertising possesses a significant advantage over any offline media. The effect of online advertising can easily be measured in real time. Almost any aspect of an Internet advertising campaign can be measured and tested as solid statistical methods can be applied. Such statistical approach for measuring the impact of Internet marketing is not only accurate and very informative but also inexpensive. There are plenty of different methods for measuring the effect of Internet advertising that include pay per buy (PPB), pay per action (PPA), pay per click (PPC), pay per play (PPP), and others.
New important trends in Internet advertising apart from mobile phones are so called viral and widgets marketing. Despite its dangerous name viral marketing is a new advertising method for getting a marketing message spread among a targeting group of consumers by their own emails usually employing funny animations, videos, or pictures. Widgets are small web applications widely used on social networking websites that are designed to get the visitor’s attention.
Video marketing on Internet has been expanding in the last few years as the YouTube having the lead. Many global corporations like Dell and Sony have set up their official websites in YouTube. Moreover, they have built their in YouTube channels.
Internet marketing can be employed to different scopes including international, county-wide as well as local businesses. The local Internet marking is used by home-based companies traditionally selling goods in their local areas and using Internet to find and attract local consumers.
However, Internet marking is usually focusing on broadly targeting specific interests rather than reaching out some local area. Wide-spread methods for target specific interests online are search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO). Both methods aim to increase the popularity of a website within a target group of interests by attracting Internet traffic via keyword search in Internet search engines. The main difference is that SEM uses paid inclusions while SEO applies unpaid search results. The development of innovative methods in SEM and SEO draw Google Corporation to a leading position in this multi-billion business with a global reach. This trend was even more noticeable in 2009 as Google extent its lead to the closed competitors Yahoo and Microsoft.
The true power of Internet marketing lies in its global reach. In order to make the global Internet marketing more efficient various geo targeting methods are being applied in recent years. In geo-targeting different methods are used to locate geographically website visitors and to adapt the website’s content to their language and culture. The geo-targeting methods in Internet marking are made possible because the development of novel Internet programming tools that make the Web content dynamic and adaptive to a concrete user.
Examples for different content by choice in geo-targeting are the websites of German automakers like Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, and BWM where Internet users have the option to select their country first and are then presented with a different website content depending on their choose. At the same automated different content in Internet marketing is often used to delivery different content based on the geographical location and other personal information.
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The recent trend of Internet, referred as Web-2.0, is associated with the development of different Internet programming technologies that deliver dynamic content on the websites. The term Web-2.0 originates from the O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference in 2004. It is in contrast with the term Web-1.0, which refers to rather static Websites that have a constant content and do not adapt to different users. The term Web 2.0 is referred not to a single technology but rather than to many new technology developments that make Internet content much more dynamic, interactive, and user adaptive. These new technologies allow Internet users to interact with dynamic Internet applications in real time making possible the social networking websites like Facebook, mobile phone marketing using 3G-mobile connectivity, Video marketing and many other new Internet marketing strategies like behavioral and geo-targeting.
Together with the significant advantages Internet marketing has yet some unsolved problems. An important turning point in the history of Interment marketing is known as the “dot-com bubble”. In the first decade of its existence the Internet marketing has been expanding rapidly together with the expansion of Internet as this trend was particularly strong in the USA. New venture investors were ready to invest hundreds of millions of USD in the rapid expansion of Internet companies not matter how they were doing. At that time Internet marketing was based on a rapid expansion of customer base of Internet companies, regardless of producing large annual losses.
It is well known that companies like Google, Amazon, AOL owned by Time Warner, Boo.com, Startups.com, eToys, GeoCities, and many others did not make any profit in the fist years of their existence but did undergo a rapid expansion. Such expansion was possible due to the constant raise of the prize of their shares on the Wall Street until the fist quarter of 2000. On March 10th, 2000, NASDAQ Composite index reach its peak of over 5000 points as more than double its value for just a year. By the end of the year NASDAQ Composite index collapsed to around 2000 points. Many Internet companies like Boo.com, Startups.com, eToys, GeoCities bankrupted. The bursting of the “Interment bubble” caused a big doubt of the mainstream Internet marking strategies employed until 2000. In fact, many Internet companies never saw a net profit before filing for bankruptcy. The unsubstantial expansion of many Internet companies was among the main reasons for the bursting of the “Interment bubble”. However, some innovative Internet corporations like Amazon, Google, Yahoo, and others managed to survive the “Interment bubble” by freezing their spending and focusing on innovations on the web that give them the chance to be profitable corporations at presence. Perhaps the best example for a big and well doing Internet company that focused on innovative Internet marketing is the Google Corporation. Google focused its online business strategy on search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO). Nowadays, Google Corporation has turned into one of the leading Internet companies mainly because its clever Internet marketing strategy.
The raise and the burst of the “Internet bubble” and the creation of global Internet-based corporations like Google demonstrated how important is to understand the current trends in Internet marketing. Moreover, Internet marketing strategies have far reaching impact not only on Internet- based firms but also to the whole global industry and services since the Internet communications are widely used virtually in any modern bossiness activity .
Many high-tech companies are investing in research on the current and future trends in Internet marking. The companies that will be able to predict the future trends in online marketing and integrate these trends in their business practice will have a cutting edge advantage over their competitors. Successful application of modern Internet approach may results in a big corporation profit. Corporations that do not take into account the latest trends in online marketing may lose a lot of its customers and decrease its market share.
Thus, it is important to investigate the current trends in Internet marketing and to try to predict the possible future developments not only from an Academic point of view but also from a practical standpoint. It is important to draw a clear picture for the advantages Internet marketing may offer not only to Internet-based companies but also to any business. At the same time, one should be aware of the pitfalls that accomplish online marketing and the methods that can be employed to avoid or minimize the risk of it.
For example, blackhat marketing refers to a marketing strategy that employs deceptive methods to drive web traffic and or affiliate offers that are not intended and requested by the Internet users. The methods involved in blackhat marketing includes spam emails, routing users to websites they have not wanted to visit, cloaking within the search result pages, and other unfaithful actions on Internet. Another yet unsolved issue over Internet marketing is the security of user’s data as well as information collected by the companies. Recently some companies selling over Internet are found to sell information about their customers. All these problems restrain many potential customers to buy goods and services over Internet and are a major hurdle to the further expansion of Internet marketing. Another obstacle in front of Internet marketing is due to the fact that some people simply do not use Internet for however reasons. Such people are excluded from the reach of the most Internet marketing strategies.
Digital marketing is a relatively new term that include itself Internet marketing. It also referees to mobile phone, sms/mms, display / banner ads and digital outdoors. Some influential people like Bill Gates believe that Internet will power one day any media and all kinds of marketing strategies will be online. Such options can not be ignored and one day all sorts of marketing may really become matter of online marketing.
The current thesis is focused on the latest trends in Internet marketing. The thesis will try to reveal not only the latest trends in Internet marketing but also the implications of these trends to the general economy. It will address more specifically the latest trends in Internet marketing developments and how these trends influence the consumer’s behavior and buying decisions as well as the marketing strategies of small and big companies. The main parts of the current thesis are as follows: Introduction, Literature Review, Research Design, Analysis and Research Results, Conclusions, Summary, Appendix, and References.
Please note: The references will be given when the thesis is completed in order to avoid repeats.
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