In terms of mobile Internet development trends, Latvia is very close to the Western European level. Today’s smartphones offer almost the same functions as personal computers. The only difference is that they are smaller and only a bit slower, Artur Zawadzki, Gemius President, told the business news portal BNN.
Already now the Internet and various online media show how much they can promote or destroy a particular company’s development. Will this impact grow even more in the future and what could be the possible trends? Will businesses be able to survive without the Internet?
Well, we have been living without the Internet for a long time. Of course, it is not absolutely necessary but still it is easier to live when you have it. Now we have a possibility to use the traditional Internet and the mobile version. Maybe in the next ten or fifteen years, there will be something completely new and that is good. New opportunities allow mixing all this if you are creative enough.
Can you mention three key things for a company to promote its communication on the Internet?
It is hard to give three specific criteria for everybody. If it were possible, it would be very easy for everyone to prepare excellent campaigns or media plans. I think there is one issue, which is really necessary and that is an idea. If you have an idea of what and how you want to promote it is already half of success. What is left is only realisation, good copy, catchy slogans and so on. First and foremost, it is the idea of what you want to do and what you want to have at the end of the day.
Have you observed how the Internet communication is developing in Latvia, compared to its neighbouring countries, namely, Estonia and Lithuania?
It is not easy to compare, because I know the Latvian market the most. I doubt there are big differences. However, I can compare it to the Polish market, which, to my mind, is the best for the Internet development. Latvia is very close to that.
Maybe differences emerge because Poland takes up a much larger territory than Latvia?
Of course, Latvia is smaller. In Poland we have additional opportunities connected to the size of the country, for example, the Internet users and page views. But it is very very similar here in Latvia as well.
In terms of quality?
How were the Internet communications affected by the crisis? Positively or negatively?
I think a certain crisis is always good. Of course, it is no good to be in a crisis all the time, but it is beneficial from time to time. The crisis has this cleaning function. Only the strongest players remain on the market. The idea is that it helps people to choose the best way to develop companies and themselves. It is good for all sectors – entertainment, media and also the Internet.
Given the smartphones era. How are the Internet communications developing in Europe exactly in the mobile Internet sector? Is Latvia keeping up with these latest trends?
Yes, I think you are very close to what is going on on the Western European markets. Today’s smarphones have almost the same functions and possibilities like regular PCs. It is just that they are smaller and mobile. Maybe only a bit slower. The only difference between mobile phones and PCs is the size of the screen. It is hard to prepare presentations and documents on mobile phones because of this reason and the speed of the software, but you can if you really want. The key thing is what size of the screen you have. If you have an iPad, it is almost the same as for a PC and you have the same regular version of web sites.
Do you think it is important to have a mobile version of a homepage?
I would say it is not necessary, but nice to have. Few years ago, we had a WAP protocol, first version of websites on mobile phones. Back then, it was said everyone had to have WAP version of a website, as it was believed to be the future. After two years, people no longer knew what it was. Now everything is HTTP and mobiles have almost the same browsers as PCs and tablets. But again it is linked to the size of the screen. If you have a smartphone, you do not even need to use the mobile version of a homepage.
Do many Polish homepages have their mobile versions?
Yes, most of them. Possibly, the cost of developing such pages is lower than in Latvia. No matter what country, but one has to spend one to two weeks on developing such a mobile version. However, in our case it is a person from a 500-employees company, while in your case only from 50-employees one.
What’s your view on mobile applications future?
It’s hard to say how they will develop. Most of applications offer the same as some web sites, for example, weather forecast, betting sites, data bases and music applications.
If you had to choose, would you opt for a mobile version or an application?
I would choose an application. Applications are not, of course, possible for all websites. But to browse some favourite or most popular sites, I would definitely choose an application.
What are the most topical latest news on the Internet advertising industry?
It’s quite a boring industry. Nothing like rocket science. The latest events are linked to people, companies and media thinking of ways to share information via mobile phones, smartphones, especially, tablets or anything based on information about glocalization. So I think it is the very latest news or gossip related to that topic. People are really thinking how to use glocalization for promotion.
How would you describe mobile marketing in the Central and Eastern Europe?
It’s nothing specific. It is the same as for the Internet. To my mind, there is no such a notion as «mobile«, there is just various equipment that can be used to get the Internet access. It is also connected with the size of the screen. Of course, you can do almost everything with a laptop, a bit less with tablets and even less with smartphones. I think the future is marketing plus glocalization. This is what will develop the most.
What should Latvia do to promote mobile marketing?
The same they are doing right now. Latvia has good infrastructure, cheap Internet access and a population than can afford to buy the same hardware that is popular in the rest of Europe. You are very close to the latest trends.
Is the number of mobile Internet pages growing rapidly?
Usually, there is no such a thing as a mere mobile page. There are regular websites with mobile versions.
Which countries do you plan to include in Gemius audience research in future?
We want Serbia but we can already officially speak about Iceland and Belgium.
What about the invasion of social media? To give an example, Google+ has already gathered over 25 million users.
I am not the right person to answer this question, because I do not have an account on any social networking sites.
I don’t need it and I see no grounds why I should. If I want to know something, I visit news web pages or call people directly.
What if there are people who want to find you, for example, on Twitter or Facebook?
Yes, there are many people asking where they can find me. I do not feel the need to promote myself on social networking sites. If I want to share something, I can send it by e-mail, telephone or to the home address and it is enough for me. I do not need any additional ways to communicate where I am and what I am doing at that moment.
Artur Zawadzki is a graduate from the Private Higher School of Business and Administration in Warsaw majoring in financial engineering, he began to pursue his career during his studies. He has run his own financial and insurance counseling agency and has been involved in the Internet industry since 2000, when he began working in the Internet Department of international publisher– Trader.com. Since 2001 he has been working in Gemius SA, and since 2003 he has been the company’s Vice-President. At Gemius, he is responsible for sales and marketing. In the years 2003-2005 he was the Vice-President and Research Director at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Poland, where he was responsible for interactive market and supervising the Research Department. He regularly speaks at various workshops and industry conferences.
Zawadzki is the President of Gemius SA since 2009.