Hold the phone – not so fast.
In the Tibetan philosophy, Sylvia Plath sense of the word, we’re all dying.” ~Narrator
The standalone webpage as we know it might soon be a thing of the past.
A growing number of publisher sites are now shunning the concept of finite pages, opting instead to serve users seamless, often endless streams of content. The webpage, largely a hangover from the world of print media, suddenly seems outdated and archaic in a digital world. For a generation glued to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, more often than not on their phones, the standard webpage is as anachronistic as a home telephone. Publishers are rushing to catch up to changing digital habits, and one of the biggest changes is the rise of streams.
Media companies and content makers have been having this conversation for a few years now – the role of content delivery – in sharing information. Yes, there is Instagram and Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook and they compel you to consumer information differently than a website does.
I wrote about coke’s impressive Tumblr page, back in the summer of 2012 – comparing Coke to Pepsi (Coke won in my assessment, unsurprisingly) in Cola Wars.
Coke’s social media and content team gets the idea of using different platforms to push different information out. Pepsi, unsurprisingly, still doesn’t. Coke manages to reach different audiences with their different pages and still keep the content fresh and on brand. They are a vastly successful company, and it’s not because they ignore their consumers. And while Pepsi has original content on their pepsi.com site, I have to wonder who their audience is when they have a Top ten teen movies of all time that leans towards 80’s flicks and doesn’t mention Mean Girls?
The reality, as Marshall acknowledges is that larger businesses are dependent on metrics and advertising dollars.
For most publishers, the fact is that their business operations and ad revenues are closely tied to metrics like pageviews and impressions, which their advertiser clients understand and demand. Metrics more suited to feed-based content experiences, like time on site and other “engagement” metrics aren’t yet well understood by publishers or their advertisers. That will change, but probably not quickly.
“We’re stuck with pages for a little bit, while we wait for things like advertising to catch up,” Kearney concluded. “But we’re just starting to scratch the surface of how people can move around a site in a very natural way. There are better ways to do so than with pages the way they are today.”