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Top 20 digital predictions for 2011 – part 1

Tanya Goodin
Tanya Goodin
CEO
23 November 2010

While the credit crunch has eaten its way into most global industries, this year has been a very exciting one in digital, laying the foundations for a 2011 revolution in the way consumers use the Internet. I’m doing TWO top ten predictions this year. We’ll publish the second list tomorrow but for now …

Social commerce, location-based services, cloud computing and mobile apps make my list, but so too do the less glamorous areas of analytics and even the humble Cinderella barcode. Read on, enjoy and let me have your comments and thoughts:

planning(1) The marketing theme for 2011 is “multi-channel planning”

In order to spend their tight budgets wisely, marketers must find synergies between channels – from analysing user search behaviour to accurately target display ads to making social engagement more mobile friendly – and press suppliers for proof of unduplicated value within them. Accurate multi-channel planning will be the buzz words for 2011 as marketers strive to make every penny pay.

(2) It’s all about apps

In 2011, you won’t be able to turn around without bumping into a device that supports apps. What started out as a perceived iPhone ‘gimmick’ will soon revolutionise the way we all perform online tasks. More and more smartphones, eReaders, TVs, Blu-ray players and other products are now utilising apps.

Gartner estimates that by the end of 2011, approximately 1.2 billion people will carry handsets capable of rich, mobile commerce, providing an ideal environment for the convergence of mobility and the Internet that apps provide. And because the quality of many of the apps is so good, more users are choosing to interact with companies solely through apps on mobile devices. The result is an ongoing competition to deliver better and better apps. I predict that by the end of 2011 50% of all online purchases will be made from a mobile device via an app rather than a browser.

7743(3) Location-based services will be about more than just check-ins

We’re at the very start of an exhilarating journey to discover what our GPS-enabled devices can enable us to do with location-based services. After the initial rush of enthusiasm for badges and mayoralties in 2010, next year will see increasingly sophisticated uses of location to serve up precisely targeted messages and functionality (disabling text functions while driving perhaps?).

The just-launched Sparkle platform, for example, will allow applications with ‘geofencing’ technologies such as Neer to become more readily available for iPhone and Android, and be more practical in function. ‘Geonotes’ can be automatically delivered to mobile users when they enter or exit certain areas. Imagine SMS messages auto-fired to friends when nearing your house, or parents setting up location-based controls for their children. Where location services are concerned, the theme tune next year should be “We’ve only just begun”.

(4) Google Android will surpass the iPhone in 2011 (maybe)

Google’s foray into the mobile device operating systems market has been steadily gaining momentum, and its platform will certainly continue to grow in popularity. Apple isn’t exactly wilting in the face of the opposition but its lead is decreasing at a fairly significant rate. Google has a whole battalion of manufacturers making stuff for the Android platform and it seems that the only smartphone operating system capable of matching the iPhone platform is ’droid-based’. Analysts predict it will topple the iPhone by 2012. I think it could well be next year.

PHE1696(5) I said 2010 would be the Year of the Tablet. In fact, it was simply the Year of the iPad; 2011 will be the Year of the Tablet

Tablets will continue to grow in popularity during 2011, with many manufacturers already coming out with their own take on Apple’s iPad, which has sold 60 million units worldwide (and counting). Samsung’s Galaxy tab is a particularly impressive offering, with a confident price point ahead of the iPad.
Despite the “but what’s it for?’ cynicism that greeted the iPad launch, Apple has already secured a large slice of this market. Competitors seeking to emulate Apple’s success are now racing to catch up but the point about there being a place in the market for tabs has definitely been made.

(6) Daily newspapers will die

The print daily has had its day and 2011 will be the year it finally gives up the ghost. I predict as many newspapers will go online-only in 2011 as banks failed in 2009. The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are the only two US papers to see an increase in print subscribers in recent years. Major dailies will either go weekly, fold into Sundays or bite the bullet and shift to 100% online-only. While failed experiments in the US have shown the high-risk nature of this strategy, the rise of the tablets and smartphone apps should cushion the revenue losses.

However…

Newspaper Board(7) The inexorable rise of personalised news aggregators will continue

It’s not the message; it’s the medium that’s causing the problems for journalism. The appetite for relevant, quality content is still as high as ever, but users want it personalised without having to wade through a mass of other content. Personally curated news feeds via a variety of aggregators will take over news and feature delivery in 2011. What started with RSS readers and carried on into the Twitter feed and, in 2010, the truly brilliant FlipBoard for iPad points the way for the future. No editor can ever edit a paper for me and my uniquely quirky collection of interests (gadgets, tech, travel, yoga, celebrity gossip, fashion) better than I can myself; I have seen my reading future in 2011 and beyond– and it’s the FlipBoard.

(8) The cloud will replace servers

‘Cloud computing’ may well be one of the most over-used phrases of the past 12 months but there is no doubt it will radically change the way businesses work – and it’s started already. Over the next three years, Gartner has predicted that vendors will deliver cloud implementations ranging from public cloud service technologies, which can be delivered inside consumer’s enterprises, to ‘private’ cloud services. The extraordinary buzz around increased flexibility, agility and ‘on-demand’ computing ensures thatthis trend plays right into the hands of the current economic environment and rings all the right bells for businesses large and small.

3d-glasses-broken(9) Blu-ray will go up, 3D will come down

Blu-ray will slowly, steadily move closer to the mainstream in all home entertainment markets. More catalogue titles are being released every day, and price reductions have boosted sales rapidly. 2011 will finally be the year when Blu-ray will take the place of DVDs in the mainstream market, so you’d better start planning to replace all your DVDs now.

Conversely, 3D television won’t gain as much traction as forecast. It seems to me that manufacturers are the ones pushing it, rather than genuine consumer demand. With very little 3D content currently available and given that there are only a handful of 3D TVs on the market, I’m going to wait to see whether 3D will go down in history as another Betamax, or crest the wave of the future.

(10) We will witness the rise of next-generation analytics
Analytics, formerly the province of the back-room number crunchers, takes centre stage in 2011 as apps on both PCs and mobiles will be provide real-time analysis of each and every business action, along with the ability to predict future returns. These technologies will provide significant improvements to business results and will make changes that are difficult to resist.

Social analytics and attribution modelling are key focus areas for 2011. Social analytics (including social filtering, network analysis, sentiment analysis and social media analytics) will explode as companies rush to measure, analyse and interpret the results of interactions among consumers and brands. If you don’t already have social analytics, you will within three years.

Attribution modelling is another ”must have”. The conversion of a visit to a sale may occur over several site visits so it’s important to analyse and attribute the sale to any/all of the channels that contributed, not just the ‘last click’. Online marketers have been grappling with this for a long time but in 2011 companies will finally get on top of the challenge.

Tomorrow, we’ll delve deeper into online marketing 2011 with ten more predictions that I think will reshape the terrain in which we work…

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