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Is This the End of Websites as We Know Them?

Is This the End of Websites as We Know Them? | Social Media TodayIt isn’t news to anyone that the marketing and social media landscape is changing at a faster rate than ever before.

New networks take the world by storm on a regular basis, but up until this point many businesses have been able to utilize a fairly simple online marketing framework to maximize their success - so long as you had a website, and a relatively active social media presence, you were on track and doing things right.

I say 'had' for a reason.

Recently, we 've seen signs of yet another industry-changing trend, one that will simplify things, but will also pose new challenges to businesses of all sizes.

It wasn’t so long ago that social media was only a supplement to a brand’s website, it was that cool and trendy thing you did to stay relevant but it couldn’t hold its weight against having a your own site.

That paradigm is shifting - in fact, it's reversing. Social media is becoming increasingly important - to the point where now, some companies aren't even bothering to build a website. Today, nearly 80% of businesses have a dedicated social media team, social media is now a standard operating procedure. And given that's where your audience is too, it may actually make sense to simply meet them there, instead of shuffling them back to your owned properties.

A Sporting Chance

A great example of the trend away from websites can be seen among professional athletes.

As a sports fan, I remember only a few years ago when the top athletes all had their own websites, while those that didn’t constantly teased that it was coming.

Now everyone from Alex Ovechkin, to Lionel Messi, to Kobe Bryant, have left websites almost completely and are engaging directly with their fans via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

And for those looking to catch me out - yes, www.KobeBryant.com is an active website, but it's an online store, not a website dedicated to the player himself.

Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo also has a website but it's more of an advertisement for the player’s documentary and a place to promote his social media profiles.

Increasingly, these big names are relying on social platforms to connect with their audiences and build their personal brands - and given the reach and response they get, the change in focus makes sense.

No Website? No Problem

This week, Clique Media Group, the parent company of WhoWhatWear, will launch a brand that will exist solely on social media.

obsessee.com does exist, but it’s only function is to enable you to connect to their various social media profiles - ten of them to be exact.

The brand is targeting women between the ages of 14 and 22 and the content editorial team, made up of staffers from the same age bracket, will be charged with posting photos, videos and text across all of their social channels.

The more brands realize how powerful social media is, the more we will see forward thinking companies bringing teenagers onto the payroll to manage content. They're the first generation who have grown up with Facebook and Twitter and they're early adopters of the latest and greatest in social such as Snapchat.

Clique Media Group’s Co-Founder and Chief Executive Katherine Power is betting on a distributed content future.

“I think at a certain point as publishers we will largely be distributed content on social media platforms rather than on our own domain,” Katherine said. Obsessee will “play into Gen Z’s habits of consuming media on these social platforms.”

Generation Z are of course the right audience to test this out on with over 71% of teens using multiple social media networks.

This distributed-only content model is a ways away from being the status quo, but we're currently at ground zero of what is bound to be a massive trend for online business content in the years to come.

Instagram pictures, Snapchat how-to videos and Facebook Instant Articles - the blog posts of the not-so-distant future.

I’m not saying it's time to dump your website, but I am letting you know that online marketing continues to change and it's important to be able to see what’s coming down the track. Because you might not see it yet, but there is a train coming, and nothing is stopping it.

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