Study: Why Marketers Need An IPv6 Education


Feel free to ignore IPv6, but I recently came across a white paper that describes to marketers why they should care about the transition from IPv4. The good news is that marketers likely have a few years before the technology will influence the speed at which ads serve up or influence search engine marketing, especially on mobile devices or Internet-connected TVs. Just don't expect a magic day when one switch flips on and the other off. It will happen gradually -- and brands need to prepare.

Last week, Google posted an update to its blog post on World IPv6 Day, calling the "test flight" a "success." Google began monitoring the transition by its users from IPv4 to IPv6 in 2008. I began writing about the technology shift in May 2006.



On World IPv6 Day, Google carried about 65% more IPv6 traffic than usual, saw no significant issues and did not have to disable IPv6 access for any networks or services, Lorenzo Colitti, Google network engineer and IPv6 Samurai, wrote in a blog post. "Over the next few weeks, we'll be working together with the other participants to analyze the data we've collected, but at least on the surface the first global test of IPv6 passed without incident," he wrote.

We learn why marketers should care about the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 in the white paper published by Demandbase Chief Technology Officer Martin Longo titled "Transition to IPv6: Why Online Marketers Should Care: If you think it's just IT's problem, think again."

If marketers are not prepared for the transition, they can expect poor or degraded service or Web site performance; denial of service; reliability issues resulting from weaker network connections and monitoring; broken applications such as VoIP services, geo-locating services; and lack of reporting and analytics tied to IPv6 addresses, according to Longo.

The positive side is that IPv6 adoption will give marketers greater granularity when identifying the Web site traffic from various businesses, office locations and devices, providing the ability to identify a tablet vs. mobile phone vs. computer. Business-to-business marketers will have the ability to identify companies that engage with the site.

As IPv6 rolls out, it will provide enough IP addresses to identify each business, brand and device. As a result, marketers can gain better insight into their customers, deliver more personalized Web site experiences, and drive higher conversion.

Of course, this white paper was not created without self-serving motives. Demandbase does offer services to support the transition. But it's also important to point out that most marketers and businesses are not prepared for the transition.

This is apparent in a survey that Demandbase commissioned through FOCUS among B2B marketing and IT professionals to determine how prepared businesses are for the IPv6 transition. The findings reveal a need for better education, and most respondents are uncertain how IPv6 will impact their business.

Twenty-three percent of respondents are uncertain about the applications the transition will affect. Only 12% of all businesses have started to plan for the transition, and 6% say they had no awareness of IPv6 at all. Ninety-seven percent of companies surveyed have yet to set a concrete date by which they hope to be fully IPv6 compliant.

The study also finds that small businesses show little concern or preparation for IPv6 compared to enterprise companies, which are better equipped to handle the changes. One-tenth of small businesses are completely unaware of IPv6, while all enterprise respondents reported knowledge of IPv6.

Still, 41% of small businesses report no concerns surrounding IPv6, relative to 7% of enterprise companies. Only 3% of small businesses have a formal plan in place to address the impact of IPv6, although 21% of enterprise companies have a plan. Marketing should stay informed and talk with their IT departments about a potential approach that suits their business and their customers' needs.


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