American Registry for Internet Numbers CEO and president John Curran discusses the issues comms pros face with new Web protocols.
The supply of Internet protocol addresses, which the Web is mostly based on today, called IPv4, will soon run out. What impact might this have on the Web-based strategies of communicators?
PR pros are increasingly being held accountable for results, which are reflected in Web metrics, for example, showing click-through rates from a particular geography or market segment.
These metrics are all based on being able to identify underlying network information where the end user is coming from. However, upcoming network changes will impact websites that are not updated to support IPv6 – the new network protocol created to account for the growing Internet.
If your website is not both IPv4 and IPv6 compatible, your target audience may not be visible in your reporting or it may switch to a better-connected competitor, which can translate into loss of revenue and visibility.
What should PR pros emphasize when trying to convince their C-suite to adopt IPv6?
Communicators rely on website analytics to highlight the success of their campaigns and to gather information for future efforts, but analytics derived from IPv4-only websites can be unreliable and lead to incorrect reporting.
For example, technologies developed to prolong the life of IPv4 could cause website traffic to appear to be coming from the locations of the transition gateways, rather than the actual geographic location of the customer.
PR and marketing practitioners need to communicate the urgency of this potential problem to the C-suite to demonstrate how inaccurate Web analytics can affect their organization's bottom line.
So what do people need to do?
Communicators have to convey the ROI of the switch by explaining the consequences of not transitioning to IPv6 to their organizations, clients, and partners.
If you develop a Web campaign that consists of IPv4-only content, slow load times and website unavailability will cause your target audience to turn to your competitors who have deployed IPv6.
Additionally, the cost of enabling IPv6 for existing websites is not prohibitive; it is primarily additional configuration of the existing servers and network equipment already being used to host the website.