2011 proved to be an eventful year for digital marketers with scandals, acquisitions and IPOs. From the way things are looking now, 2012 is shaping up to be quite the ride as well. Here is what we can expect to see in digital and interactive media in 2012...
1. Attribution is everything
The volume of digital data on the planet will grow another 48 per cent in 2012 reaching 2.7 zettabytes (2.7 billion terabytes). For CIOs data management must be pervasive and protective but for brands, publishers and agencies it is analysing, interpreting and translating this data into meaningful insight and attributing the source that really matters.
2. Tech meets agency
Code is the universal language of the web. It forms the building blocks of everything digital. As the level of complexity to deliver brand engagement and grow revenues across multiple channels increases, agencies and brands will be expected to understand what underpins everything. Knowing what an API is and how to build a multi-platform app will become a marketing prerequisite and as empowering as desktop publishing became in the 1980s. For the same reason, 2012 will see a significant rise in the number of collaborations between brands and tech start-ups.
3. Consumerisation of B2B
Gamification -- engaging consumers by applying simple game mechanics to pedestrian situations -- was a big trend in 2011. 2012 will not only see an evolution of the principles of gamification beyond crude points-based badgification but also a shift towards gamifying the enterprise. Brands will realize that their business customers and employees are consumers too and want the same level of fun, persuasion and incentives to perform mundane, repetitive tasks and those that get it right will see huge returns not just in conversion but in loyalty too.
4. Mobile wallet -- tap it, swipe it, buy it
UK smartphone adoption is forecast to tip from 40-60 per cent next year and for many the relationship with the phone will become more intimate and complex than ever -- 83 per cent of millennials already sleep with their mobile. With mass storage and apps everything we need and hold dear is found on our mobile. In 2012 we'll be adding our wallets to this list. Around 170,000 UK shoppers a week are already using eBay's mobile app; PayPal saw mobile transactions up a staggering 552 per cent in the last twelve months; Google hopes to launch its Google Wallet in the UK this year and Near Field Communication (NFC), which enables data transfer between two devices in close proximity will become a standard smartphone feature. This in turn will in turn create opportunities for mobile operators and brands to engage with consumers in exciting and new ways in the battle for the digital wallet.
When it comes to true customer engagement, 'phygital' sums up where marketing is going and is set to become one of the big trends of 2012. Phygital creates an ecosystem between brands and consumers across the physical and digital worlds, speaking to the needs and aspirations we have as human beings and the physical relationships that are so important to us. What we are seeing at last is a genuine move beyond delivering a one-dimensional brand communication cascaded through a series of channels. Brands are now building saliency, increasing sales and market share through phygital interaction.
6. Social, location-based, mobile commerce
The future of mobile marketing will be intertwined with social, location and commerce. In 2012 social and mobile commerce will expand to make up 20 to 30 per cent of overall e-commerce transactions. 2012 will see a huge rise in location-based interactive services as our devices start to take advantage of near field communications (NFC). NFC enables a brand to send a message to a mobile device when its owner walks past or comes close to a specific spot, whether that is in a train station, airport, shopping centre or supermarket. That message can be an exclusive promotion or a QR code offering a shopper an instant discount on a specific product.
7. Connected TV
We've been hearing a lot about the convergence of television and the web this year and it's predicted that about 350 million connected TVs will be on the market by 2014. The formation last month of the Connected TV Marketing Association
8. The app is dead, long live the mobile internet
With more than one million apps in existence and more than two billion apps being downloaded a month the app story isn't over -- it's just moving up to the next level. As universal adoption of HTML5 drives down the cost of cross platform development for the first time the number of mobile and tablet applications developed will exceed websites.
9. New kids on the block
Google+ was among the new kids born into 2011's digital block. Fast-forward to the end of 2012 and I predict there will be another new bunch of companies all vying for their space in the digital ecosphere. And who knows, today's favourites could well be tomorrow's also ran.
10. BRICS & CIVETS driving growth and innovation
The BRICS are all well on the way - we all know about the explosive growth of China's social media platforms Ren Ren and Kaixin and micro-blogging phenomenon Weibo (which overtook Twitter users in 2011). But 2012's story will be all about ecommerce, where thanks to Government subsidized broadband; excellent e-fulfilment and distribution via Taobao; and Alipay a version of PayPal that only releases funds when the consumer is happy, China will soon become the world's largest ecommerce nation. 2012 will also see the rise of new digital powerhouses Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa where a lack of legacy infrastructure and massive growth (from a low-base) has resulted in a stream of innovative and disruptive mobile technology particularly around banking, health and agriculture.
I'm always interested in feedback. Are my predictions valid? Have I missed the boat on something? Let us know below!
Justin Cooke is a Bima chair and the CEO of Fortune Cookie.