Web 2.0 Pays Off for Businesses

How is your company using Web 2.0? (Or is it?) McKinsey & Company recently released the results of a survey of how more than 3,200 companies in a range of regions and industries use Web 2.0 tools and technologies. Companies were asked about the business benefits and organizational impact of 12 Web 2.0 technologies: blogs, mashups (a Web application that combines multiple sources of data into a single tool), microblogging, peer to peer, podcasts, prediction markets, rating, RSS, social networking, tagging, video sharing and wikis.

In this fourth year of the study, Web 2.0 continues to grow. Two-thirds of the respondents reported using Web 2.0 tools in their organizations. The percentage of companies using social networking (40 percent) and blogs (38 percent) rose significantly, as did the number of employees using Web 2.0.

Web 2.0 Pays Off for Businesses

And those numbers will only increase. Two-thirds of respondents who are currently using Web 2.0 say they plan to boost future investments in these technologies, compared with slightly more than 50 percent who said they would increase spending last year. “The healthy spending plans during both [2009 and 2010] underscore the value companies expect to gain,” the study reports.

Now, this being a McKinsey study, the companies surveyed were not exactly small businesses. “So what does this have to do with my company?” you may be asking. Here’s why you should care, and why—if you’re not already implementing Web 2.0 tools in your business—it’s time to get cracking:  Nine out of ten respondents said Web 2.0 technologies resulted in at least one measurable business benefit. More specifically:

When working with customers, businesses reported Web 2.0 led to:

  • Increased marketing effectiveness – 63 percent
  • Increased customer satisfaction – 50 percent
  • Reduced marketing costs – 45 percent

When working with suppliers/partners, here’s what they reported:

  • Increased speed of access to knowledge – 57 percent
  • Reduced communication costs – 53 percent
  • Increased satisfaction of suppliers/partners – 45 percent

There were even measurable results internally: 77 percent of respondents said use of Web 2.0 technologies gave them faster access to knowledge within the company. (In other words, it helps you get things done faster—and every entrepreneur knows how crucial that is.)

However you slice and dice this study, it proves two things: One, that businesses can derive measurable benefits from Web 2.0; and two, that you’d better get in on the Web 2.0 game—because big companies certainly are.


Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.

11 Reactions
  1. If small businesses are going to survive, they have to adopt and utilize these technologies. It’s where marketing and business is and continuing to go.

  2. Soon web 2,0 results will increase to 100% and we need something new to increase 🙂

  3. It’s hard to imagine that there is still a third that are not employing web 2.0 into their marketing efforts. Today’s marketing is about branding and providing value online through engagement and interaction.

    This is not achieved overnight, so those companies that have yet to jump on board need to make that commitment a priority for 2011.

  4. Rieva —

    I do a lot of work in both the small business and nonprofit worlds and sometimes I like the terminology from those worlds versus corporate. I prefer the terms working wikily or being

  5. It seems many business owners are now starting to catch the wave of this web 2.0 THING. The challenge is how businesses will actually use these tools. I feel that not every web 2.0 media is gonna be useful for every biz owner. Here’s the biggest thing, I feel that all business owners need to start having more of an awareness when it comes to their marketing period. The days of biz owners just thinking they can hire somebody is over. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that biz owners need to be doing all this themselves, but I am saying they need to at least be aware and understand this stuff.

  6. I’ll be expanding more on Ron’s point, it is quite surprising to me that we’re still at that level where only 2/3 employ Web 2.0 strategies. All in all, I still feel there is a general lack of awareness when it comes to Web 2.0 tools and some companies who use these tools tend to not apply them correctly.

  7. We’ve been Web 2.0 immersed for three years and make significant money from it, but it’s just another communications medium and it’s effectiveness is being way overblown.

    Communications mediums are not the answer – we’ve had them since smoke signals. Here’s the most important stats:

    Only 1-2% of all product conversations are started on the internet, and only 7% of all product conversations are carried out on the internet (most of those are kick-started outside the internet). For people under 30 years of age, 85% of all product conversations are face2face and for those over 30 it’s 92%. The rest are phone, email, and yes, a small percentage on the internet/Web 2.0

    Less than 10% of all products are sold online. While it’s grown exponentially and is $190 billion-ish, still, $2.3 trillion is purchased face2face.

    People are still humans and still talk overwhelmingly face2face. Getting on Web 2.0 is nothing more than a company in the early 1900s getting a telephone, or in the 80’s getting a fax machine. It’s great technology. But face2face will always reign is the overwhelming #1 way to have a product conversation and get someone to buy.

    Technology is never the answer. Relationships are.

    • That’s true enough Chuck. But, I guess people are using technology to faciliate relationship building. And what’s more, you are face2face too with VOIP.