Six digital trends for 2013

As 2012 draws to a close it’s time for some predictions as to what will be big in the next year. I’ll be writing my top five for next year early next week but for now I found some pretty interesting trends. For me the most exciting one is the thought of axing QR codes. I recently saw a QR code on the street pole ad (about A2) with a tiny QR code on it. What do they expect, for us to

Smartphone and tablets divided

Smartphone and tablets are often lumped together in the mobile category, but usage and impact of these devices varies greatly. Smart marketers will start delineating their messaging accordingly.

Tablet usage tends to be more research and entertainment focused, whereas smartphone usage is more task focused. In 2013, we’ll have more ways to target and identify device types and deliver better messaging. This not only applies to digital media opportunities, but also to your response goals and metrics as well.

The new shareable experience

Digital interactions have always been one-on-one. You don’t use your computer or surf the web with other people watching over your shoulder. We don’t invite friends over to gather around a computer to watch movies. But that’s starting to change.

Today’s mobile computer usage reminds me of the early days of digital photography. When people first started using digital cameras, the first thing they did after taking a picture was to quickly turn the camera around and show their friends the photo on the back of the camera. The same thing is now happening with mobile. Photos taken on smartphones are often shared with other people immediately via text, Facebook, Instagram, and via other means. This includes the people sitting on the couch next to them.

Death of the QR code

The QR code has struggled for years to gain adoption. It’s a simple idea: QR codes gave us the ability to quickly get to detailed information by simply scanning a graphic. Great concept — but a horrible experience for a variety of reasons.

First, code scanning isn’t native on many devices. You have to download a special app, pull it up, and scan the image.┬áSecond, marketers have, for the most part, fallen short on their implementation of QR codes. For those of you who have tried to scan a bar code, how many times are you brought to a home page, a non-mobile page, or a page that had the same info you just read when you scanned? Where’s the benefit in that experience? So, unless code scanning becomes native in new devices and marketers start really using them for the intended purpose, QR codes will be going the way of Betamax.

Direct video sharing

With tools like Instagram and Snapchat, people have realized the power and fun of sharing images. In 2013, I expect we’ll see opportunities to start sharing videos the same way. Marketers are going to jump at this opportunity by inserting pre-rolls, sponsor sharing, and other promotions.

The privacy debate will get a verdict

There’s been a lot of discussion about whether or not cookie tracking is an invasion of privacy, and in 2013, there will be some legislation either for or against cookie tracking. And either way, digital advertising will increase.

Marketers will still have a need to build awareness and increase purchase intent. How we do it might change, but the need and opportunity won’t diminish. I encourage marketers not to waste a lot of effort complaining about how this works out. Instead, embrace the decision. Direct mail has always had more consumer data than we ever see, and broadcast has built a huge business on limited ratings data with limited audience detail. Digital marketing isn’t going away.

Increased focus on the social environment, instead of building a social platform

Marketers will finally tire of trying to manage and lead the conversation in social. They will instead focus on surrounding and participating in conversations.

Social media is about personal interaction and conversation, and people don’t invite brands into those conversations. In 2013, we’ll see a shift from brands trying to build their own social platforms; instead, they’ll start participating in ways that provide consumer value.

Ideas from the traditional marketing world will begin to migrate to the social world. For example, a brand that might sponsor parties at spring break or align itself with a sporting event will seek and benefit from the same type of experience and exposure in social. I won’t need to “like” or follow a brand; it will just be part of my social world like it is everywhere else (just like billboards at a stadium).

There you have it folks, digital media in 2013. Of course in South Africa you might want to start Googling “Top campaigns from 2011″ in order to get some ideas that South African customers might be comfortable with.

Source (IMedia Connection)

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