The end of 2011 is fast approaching, and assuming the world doesn't end, 2012 is shaping up to be a pretty good year all round what with the Olympics, the iPhone 5, a new Batman film, as well as the England football team's obligatory ineptitude at the European Championships. Plenty to look forward to then. At Kalexiko we've had an eye on 2012 for a while now, so we'd like to share with you a few of the digital marketing trends that we think are going to be of particular importance over the next year, if not already.
SEO and quality content creation
You'd be forgiven for thinking that SEO and quality content creation has always been important, and you'd also be absolutely right. But as we covered in a recent article, Google has shifted the goalposts slightly of late, and the other major search engines are sure to follow. With the release of Google Panda earlier this year, the search algorithms were adjusted to reward websites more on quality content, functionality and design, as opposed to arbitrary keyword densities and the number of backlinks. Rewording the same article every few days and calling it a blog is now likely to do more harm than good, so what we're expecting to see in the coming year is a shift in emphasis towards creating quality content on a regular basis. Keywords and so on are still important, but only as part of a wider SEO strategy. This is arguably the way it always should've been, but it might pose problems for some. Just what constitutes good content? Is what you're writing/podcasting/YouTubing actually of interest to your target audience? How do you encourage people to share it? What if you simply haven't the time or inclination to generate the content yourself? Could outsourcing it be the answer? Shameless plugs aside, the fact remains that many of the SEO mantras from as recently as a year or two ago are now totally outdated, so we're expecting this to be a real issue in the coming year.
Social Media Marketing
Again this is already an important one, but changes are afoot in the world of social networks, and before planning a social media marketing strategy for the next year you need to know what the social networks themselves are up to. Facebook appears to be going from strength to strength, Google+ is committing substantial resources to usurping them, geo-social networks like FourSquare still haven't really hit the mainstream, and no one's yet decided whether Twitter is actually worthwhile. Frankly we can't be entirely sure about any of this ourselves; Facebook for instance have a knack for revealing new features only after people have complained about them. What we can say is that none of the major social networks have hit saturation point yet, so if you're not already acquainted with them, now is the time to do so or else risk missing out on some of the most powerful marketing tools in history.
Fun fact: mobile web consumption is, according to some studies, expected to overtake desktop web consumption by 2015. Staggering really. Smartphones are becoming more and more ubiquitous, and so the priority for marketers is how to channel their message to all of these people. The potential of geo-marketing hasn't been remotely realised yet, with location-specific offers and vouchers just being the start of it. And then there's NFC payment systems, which could be absolutely huge, although that's probably not one to worry about for the time being at least. Aggregator apps and in-app purchasing are likely to be the buzzwords for this year.
Of course, the problem with all this social networking and geo-tagging is that it relies on knowing who you are, where you are, who you know and what you're into. Many people, not unreasonably, have some issues with this. Indeed, it seems these days that there's a fresh privacy row in the news every week, be it about phone tracking, account hacking, facial recognition, browser cookies, or even taking photos of your house. All of which is deeply unsettling, and more worryingly it seems to be only a matter of time before someone really drops the ball on something like this, assuming they haven't already. That being the case, it's of huge importance to take all reasonable steps towards keeping your data secure, and if you're holding the data of others, treating it as if it were your own.
Onwards to 2012
Some of these points might seem a little vague, but the truth is that in such fast-moving industries it's nigh on impossible to make anything other than vague predictions about the future of technology. One new concept or idea could potentially change everything.
That said, 2012 is less than a month away, so with all this in mind now is an excellent time to start planning (if you haven't already) exactly how you're going to make it your year.