There are several trends that will shape the near future of digital marketing, including geo-location services, social networking innovations, gamification, and cashless payments, according to the third edition of Hotwire PR's annual 'Ten driving forces in digital marketing' report.
The report highlights the emerging trends impacting brands and their PR and communications teams, from breakthroughs in location-based services to the impact of tablets in the workplace and gamification. The full list of ten digital trends identified in the report for are as follows:
- Interest graphs
These are a new way to describe all the information about you that brands and advertisers would really love to get their hands on. Whether they are looking for your shopping habits, what you search for online, which of your friends' tweets you respond to or how much people pay attention when you post your views on a given subject.
- Putting your business on the map
After a couple of years of growth, Foursquare emerged as the leader in location. But with the introduction of Facebook Places, if you're not building your presence on location-based services that matter to your customers, 2012 will be the year you fade from view.
- How tablets are changing communication
Following the success of the iPad, other tablets have flooded the market and consumers have put their netbooks and newspapers to one side. In broader terms, tablets are changing the way brands and companies publish information, resulting in a dramatic change in how marketers communicate.
- Who are the new social media celebrities?
2012 will see the further rise of the 'social media celebrity', those who are experts in their field, influencers, keen communicators, people who will provide marketers with feedback and by their serendipitous retweets, projects us into viral stardom within their personal niche.
- The socialising of TV and music
It is no longer uncommon to see a hashtag appear in the title sequence of a hit television show. The next generation of TVs and other media devices are internet-connected and have social design 'baked in', which will be incredibly powerful for the media industry.
- Social media and internal communications
Systems such as Ning, Posterous and National Field have begun to generate real traction amongst brands looking for ways to engage their most powerful and critical audience: their staff.
- How cashless payments could unlock a wave of innovation
If you're a brand, you need to think about how to make sure people can tell the world every time they buy from you. If you're a venue, you need to be on the electronic map. And if you're a developer, you need to make sure you can bake payments into your apps and services.
Before we ever learn to work, we excel at play. Whether you're a brand, a publisher, a Government or a developer, game dynamics offer a low-cost way to enhance even very basic products and services.
Arguably where social media evolved from the primordial soup of the early web, forums could be a dark horse this year. Organic growth has built deep, networked relationships over time, explaining their engagement, loyalty and why their users have potential to best brand advocates.
- Automotive app stores
The mobile device that doesn't fit in your bag: the car. Drivers will be a major new market focus in 2012, and brands should be planning how to tap in the newest app environment.
"Navigating the fast-changing digital space can pose both short term and long term challenges for brands. In the short term the communications priority could be to gain market share or deal effectively with a crisis, and in the long term we are all looking at how to organise teams, what skills are required and where to invest," said the trend report's co-author Drew Benvie, Hotwire's group managing director for the UK. "The reality is that, while some of these trends are now considered mainstream, others are still new to many individuals and businesses. Only by embracing the fact that social media for customer service, brand insights, community management and crisis communications are all here to stay, brands can achieve a real competitive edge."