If at any time, you approach a few people on the street and ask them to describe the benefits of technology advancements in one word, there is a high probability that the majority will say “convenience”. Technology advancements have driven much of the changes in society’s media consumption behavior as well as its expectations of mass media. In the past, we expected to search for content of our interest whether it was on the radio, TV, newspaper, or magazine. The Internet has made that process much simpler and faster, and so our new expectations were that mass media channels would make their content available on the Internet and searchable. Nowadays, thanks to the rise of social media and mobile devices among many other technologies, we expect mass media content to be dynamic. Not only do we want it to adapt itself to whichever device we decide to use to access it, we also want it to be tailored to our interests.
Technology advancements that brought us server technologies, such as PHP, enabled organizations to create websites that provide a dynamic experience to the audience through pages that are put together as visitors navigate them, and content that is personalized to each visitor based on historical data and his or her engagement with the website as well as other online applications, such as search engines. Such technology advancements represent benefits not only from the perspective of audiences, but also from that of organizations. Dynamic content provides audiences with a better experience while serving as a method for communications, sales, and marketing teams to target audiences and leads, gain more exposure, and increase revenue (CDNetworks, 2016).
Check out the CDNetworks slides below, which contain examples of websites that successfully leverage dynamic content experiences to increase sales:
While dynamic content is typically associated with positive developments in the technology, communication, and marketing fields, it has been argued that from a societal stand point, dynamic content may be hindering important processes, such as the formation of shared knowledge. Keith Hampton of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, explains that when the algorithms that create dynamic pages limit or privilege audiences’ access to content, they also restrict exposure to diversity, omit information, and, consequently, reduce the quality of opinion (Hampton, 2016).
Despite the opinions against dynamic content, it appears that audiences in general welcome the convenience of being provided content that reflects their interests while navigating the web, as long as that content is truly tailored to them. A Janrai study revealed that 74% of Internet users experience frustration when navigating a website that displays dynamic content that is not closely related to them (Denenholz, 2013). While the study does not seem to consider whether those users would prefer not to have dynamic content presented to them, it clearly shows that, along with technology advancements, our expectations of mass media are constantly evolving (i.e.: now that we can have dynamic content, we also want it to be personalized), which provides organizations with opportunities to create new business models that are more audience-centered than ever before.
CDNetworks. (2016). 5 websites that successfully leverage dynamic content experiences to increase sales. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/CDNetworks/5-websites-that-successfully-leverage-dynamic-content-experiences-to-increase-sales
Denenholz, J. (2013). Online consumers fed up with irrelevant content on favorite websites, according to Janrain study. Retrieved from http://www.janrain.com/about/newsroom/press-releases/online-consumers-fed-up-with-irrelevant-content-on-favorite-websites-according-to-janrain-study/
Hampton, K. N. (2016). Persistent and pervasive community: new communication technologies and the future of community. American Behavioral Scientist, 60(1), 101-124. doi:10.1177/0002764215601714
Newman, A. (2016). What is dynamic content? Retrieved from https://blog.stackpath.com/glossary/dynamic-content/