The last 12 months have witnessed a wealth of innovations in tech, leading some to dub 2012 ‘The Year of Technology’. That isn’t going to change in 2013 – in fact, the pace of technical developments is only going to quicken.
With that in mind, the team at Fast Web Media have got out our crystal balls out to see what we’ll all be talking about over the next year…
Since its inception in June 2011, Google+ has managed to acquire 500 million registered users. 235 million are active across Google (+1’ing apps in Google Play, hanging out in Gmail, connecting with friends in Search…), and 135 million are active in just the stream. Google is striving daily to perfect digital integration within a single Google account, and this is becoming increasingly evident. Companies and especially ones that operate heavily online are finding Google+ quite useful in obtaining a higher search ranking.
As there is integration between all of Google’s other public facing services such as Search, Google places, Google Maps etc., any business on Google+ will likely see an SEO boost from maintaining an active Google+ page, since they are indexed by Google and help achieve a higher online visibility. Also those likely to benefit from this improved quality in search results are white hat link builders, with Google keeping a close eye on false profiles and links to spammy sites getting a penalty.
Looking at current predictions for 2013, Google+ isn’t going anywhere but up, and with the current increase of Google integration in Digital Devices, Android smartphones coming with Google bundled software straight out of the box and their current Nexus line-up, makes them a force to be reckoned with.
We’re set to see an increase in integrated ‘holistic’ marketing in 2013. With explosive growth in mobile usage, a plethora of social networks and platforms, and huge differences in media consumption habits, now more than ever brands need to integrate their efforts to stay ahead of the game. Luckily, vast improvements in analytics and measurement have allowed marketers to ensure they’re integrating their marketing effectively across all channels.
Thanks to attribution modelling, we now understand a user’s journey to an online purchase better than ever before, and this means budgets can be targeted to the right people, with the right message, in the right place, at the right time; regardless of your media mix. However, one challenge still remains: having all of your reporting in one place.
This is where Fast Web Media’s BIGprofile solution can really help. BIGprofile is an operational service that integrates best practice digital strategy with a host of data sources and analytics APIs, and brings it all together via a digital reporting dashboard. That means less time trying to collate your resources, and more time spent on the important stuff: actioning new ways to target your customers and increase revenue.
The mobile industry is constantly evolving and growing at an astronomical pace. Currently 20 per cent of UK internet traffic comes from a mobile device. Over the next year we will see even more communications, commerce, entertainment and service industries dependent on wireless services. The two biggest drivers of this demand are video streaming and M-commerce usage. By 2015, video is likely to account for nearly 60 per cent of all traffic. Likewise, M-commerce has dramatically changed the way brands reach customers, making it faster and easier for consumers to make purchases on the fly while avoiding the hustle and bustle of the high street.
Typing on mobile phones is an on-going problem, according to an eConsultancy report, which says that two thirds (67%) of shoppers find it difficult to purchase from a mobile device. So brands will need to develop solutions which remove the effort of typing an address from a mobile device.
Meanwhile, mobile search is poised for tremendous growth in 2013 as advertisers shift additional budgets and consumers use it more often. This will, in turn, increase advertising on mobile search platforms still further, and local-centric companies such as Yelp.com and Local.com are likely to become even more significant. Responsive web design is therefore more important than ever as companies have to ensure their site adapts to the settings of whichever device it is being viewed on. Fast Web Media has been building responsive sites since 2011 and will continue striving for innovations in the field in 2013.
Social media, mobile devices and websites are the greatest generators of data about human behaviour that we’ve ever had, for the simple reason that 2bn people use them and everything we do on the them is logged and therefore available for analysis. Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone, according to an IBM report.
This data comes from everywhere: sensors used to gather climate information, posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, purchase transaction records, and mobile phone GPS signals to name a few. This data is big data. Enterprises are awash with ever-growing data of all types, but at present only a half of one per cent of the world’s available data is being mined for value.
In 2013 we will start to see more companies leveraging opportunities from this data in real time, e.g. turning 12 terabytes of Tweets created each day into improved product sentiment analysis. Big data is more than simply a matter of size; it is an opportunity to find insights in new and emerging types of data and content, to make businesses more agile and to answer questions that were previously considered beyond our reach.
Mobile is all about shortcuts, and near field communication, or ‘NFC’, allows you to transfer data to your mobile device via ‘touch’ (or bringing into close proximity) rather than scanning via a QR Code or augmented reality app. NFC facilitates fast and simple setup of wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth & Wi-Fi, and will bring the mobile wallet closer to reality by providing solutions in areas such as: security access, information collection and exchange, loyalty and coupons, payments and transport.
NFC, though not present in current Apple mobile devices is present in the new Nexus, and recent Blackberry, Samsung, Sony and HTC handsets. Facebook is also developing NFC technology. Advances made to NFC technology in Japan have inspired the industry to sit up and take notice, but mobile companies need to capitalise in 2013, persuading banks and credit card companies to get behind it to ensure users have the confidence to start touching rather than swiping.
Some progress has already been made, with MasterCard recently signing a strategic partnership agreement with C-Sam (NFC mobile wallet and transaction platform provider) and the Oyster readers on all London’s buses being upgraded to accept contactless payments alongside Oyster transactions. Further integration can be seen in the “Recommended on Google” shop window stickers, which are embedded with NFC technology and allow users to access information/offers/vouchers simply by holding their phone up to the window.
Long a mantra for city types playing the markets, tracking and incorporating live trends within marketing campaigns will become more and more important for marketers. With such a wealth of data available from such a vast range of source (including chat rooms and Twitter, from which trends are being discerned and used to ‘auto’ buy and sell shares), it is increasingly common for real time available data trends to be used to help shape real time marketing campaigns. With that in mind Fast Web Media has launched weatherFIT, an innovative new PPC tool that ensures specific PPC adverts are sent to specific towns and cities based on live and forecast weather conditions.
All the marketer needs to do is to tick a box for the ideal weather trends he’d like a specific advert to be seen during and the rest is dictated by the actual weather itself. If a brand or company is aware of any specific live trends that could help their business, FWM would love to discuss further with a view to developing a tool based on our existing trend template.
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2013 will see the continued growth of Hacktivism, a digital form of protesting. It can be seen in many forms, from simply defacing web pages or email bombing, to website mirroring, anonymous blogging and Doxing (outing of private information of individuals or corporations). A detailed account of the person’s life (browsing history, banking details, emails and so on) will be collected, manipulated and used against them as online attacks on large organisations and government bodies by hacktivisim groups around the world increase.
This will see the rise of specialist teams for digital crisis communication to provide counter-Hacktivism services and data forensics (ownership, clean-up and erasing) will be a specialist requirement in reputation management as the victims of hacktivist groups seek to protect themselves.
As m-commerce increasingly becomes the most convenient route to purchase for online consumers (currently just over 30% of retail traffic in the UK), digital reward and loyalty schemes will become more prevalent as retailers and location/loyalty specialists look to secure their apps’ position on people’s devices.
In the UK, smartphone owners are beginning to curate the apps on their devices, with relevance and frequency of use being two of the key indicators in apps surviving the cull. Apple is already ahead of the curve here having recently introduced Passbook for iOS, a virtual wallet where loyalty cards and coupons can be stored, while the successful offline loyalty schemes are all readying app-based updates.
One new player to the market is Elephanti, a sort of loyalty-reward-card-meets-Foursquare app. When a consumer uses the app, they will find partner stores offering guaranteed discounts exclusively available to them and other users of Elephanti. Yelp, Foursquare and other location-based services are reading similar updates to rival this offering, while anticipation is growing for the digital evolution of the UK’s most successful loyalty scheme, the Tesco Clubcard.
The ‘Internet of Things’ may sound like a strange phrase – isn’t the internet itself the ‘Internet of Things’? – but the term has a very specific meaning. The ‘Internet of Things’ refers to the rapidly increasing number and variety of devices (things) connected directly to and available from the Internet, as opposed to via a PC or server. From cameras, TVs and printers to ovens, door bells and light bulbs and sensors of all kinds, especially RFID chips, your world will increasingly be available to you online, giving you data and remote control of all the electrical devices in your life.
Perhaps more importantly, the devices will also talk to each other, sharing data wirelessly. Although the idea isn’t new (companies such as www.thinfilm.no have specialised in the Internet of Things for some years), the progression of technology from 4G networks to the IPv6 protocol and the prevalence of wifi networks in homes, offices and hotspots around the world are rapidly destroying barriers to devices being online all the time.
Responsive design has been around for a few years now, but its application doesn’t stop at your website. This year it was estimated that around 55 per cent of 18-34 years olds read marketing emails on their mobile device, so it’s vital to ensure your email campaigns are optimised for on-the-go devices as well as your site.
This is where responsive email comes into play. Like responsive web design, responsive emails are built to adapt to the device they’re being viewed on, shifting automatically to its resolution and screen size. By doing this, the email accommodates the user’s preferred method of reading their messages, and this in turn improves the chances of an email being read, clicked on and ultimately achieving its goal of driving awareness, traffic and sales.
Technical problems have so far rendered responsive email almost impossible, but with technology becoming smarter, that will change in 2013.