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By Thomas Baekdal - July 2010

Social, Mobile Internet, Friends and Summer

It is not unusual for many websites to lose 20-50% of their traffic during the hot summer months. It happens every year, because people rather want to be outside with their friends, having fun barbecuing, than sit inside in front of a computer.

Many companies adapt to this by slowing down too. They are not releasing anything new, they send their employees on vacation, and they prepare for autumn.

Why try to engage people via digital channels, when your audience are spending all their time outside instead? Right?

But, this "seasonal internet" is about to change.

Social network, location based marketing, and sharing is a perfect match for the hot summer days. We are naturally drawn outside, we go to more events, we visit parks, we have barbecues - all combined with a much higher level of social engagement.

And when you mix that with the mobile internet, which is expected to surpass desktop internet within the next 3 years, you end up with an explosive cocktail.

Take... a sunny day, ice cream, great friends, vacation, fun events, BBQs, long days - mixed with Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook, Twitter - mixed with mobile devices that can capture and share every moment, look up friends, check out things to do, wherever, and whenever...

...and what do you get? Right? And incredible amount of internet activity.

The internet is no longer an inside-and-mostly-during-winter thing. It's mobile, it's out there, it connecting people, and it is perfect for summer.

You shouldn't slow down your digital strategy during the summer. You need to take advantage of the new mobile internet, and that people are naturally more active and socially engaged when it's hot and sunny.

You need to take advantage of location based marketing. Give people something to do, places to go, and things to share.

(photo credit: Scott Raymond, Gowalla co-founder - taken by Robert Scoble)

Sunny days are for snacking, cold rainy days are for contemplating

It is important to remember that people will have a completely different behavior when they are outside with their friends.

They not going visit your website, or read lengthy articles. They might relax with a good ebook, or an even better Audiobook. They might play Farmville on the iPhone (a brilliant move by Zynga). But they won't spend a long time "on a computer."

You need to design and plan for this. Create short socially active in-the-moment things to do.

Think fast, easy, and consider-it-done!

Think location, specials, meetups - and extend that beyond geography.

People will not spend an hour uploading their vacation photos, when their friends are having fun outside. But, they are very likely to share a bazillion pictures published *live* from their mobiles.

(photo credit: We capture every moment - taken by Wendy Piersall)

People will not read through catalogues for things to see, buy, or do. But, they will use location-based services to find out where the action is right now.

It doesn't have to be short, but it does have to be effortless. Create a lot of snacks!

2010 might be the first true "internet-summer" - but remember it's not going to happen on a computer.


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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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