A very Happy New Year to all the readers! Now that we have all stepped into 2011, it’s the season for predictions on every possible aspect and I thought I would hop on to the same bandwagon and share a few points that I feel might be crucial for all of us Internet marketers.
With the way technology has been evolving and more and more new data sources and marketing channels opening up Internet marketing is going to become a much more interesting mix than it was even a year back. While some of these are very apparent some would still leave many of us speculating, whether or not this is going to happen. Let’s take a look at the following points:
- Location Based Marketing: Yup!! We have seen Foursquare, Google Places, Tags, Boost, Facebook Places, Gowalla and innumerable more and this definitely going to grow. With increasing number of people using internet from mobile devices, people would get more comfortable checking into places, merchants would work actively in tapping into this audience by offering coupons, discounts and local offers. I would expect search engines would probably also tap into this data and use this for improving their local search results and location based web search results.
- Search & Social – Search is likely to get more and more dependent on social, in other words, search engine algorithms would factor in social media metrics in much more details and these would become crucial functions for your search rankings. You can read my other detailed article on how Social Media is going to affect Search in 2011.
- Videos : Videos are going to be one of the most important marketing tools on the web in 2011. We have seen how brands have been increasingly using videos effectively and this is going to get all the more intense. Besides typical video syndication, I would predict live streaming on the web become more frequent and more and more businesses would be using this for effectively reaching out to their target audience. Besides, YouTube, it would be wise to keep our eyes on sites like Daily Motion, Viddler, Vimeo and UStream. Adoption of Universal search has already made videos an easy way to hit the first page of search results for competitive terms and with more brand conscious marketing strategies and the inherent viral nature of videos would make them all the more important in this socially focused web.
Social Commerce: This has also taken off already and is going to get bigger by days! The same reason why word of mouth marketing is immensely powerful, social recommendations are going to be big time influencers in purchase decisions.
Merchants have always set up shop where people are and in 2011 what better place to set up your shop than the social platforms like Facebook ? Facebook already has a full-fledged ecommerce integration option and it would not be surprising to find other social platforms offering similar facilities and even simpler point and click setup for ecommerce stores within social platforms. The ease of setting up such social ecommerce stores would be a big determinant of the growth of social commerce in 2011.
- More Than Your Website: If we look back a few years, we would remember where businesses were just dying to have a website, anyone who had a website had a clear advantage over the ones who didn’t it. Now in 2011, that almost all businesses have a website, what would make the difference? The differentiator would be whether the businesses are present where their customers are, namely, social platforms. It would be equally important for businesses to establish their presence in Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn FourSquare and similar social platforms – having a website is just not enough anymore.
- Reputation Management : The wave of reputation management would continue to get bigger. Even smaller businesses would get extremely brand conscious and work actively towards reputation management. This is also likely to give rise to a lot of new businesses who would start offering/ claim specialization in reputation management. From a SEO’s perspective, educated customers are likely to get demanding in ensuring that SEOs are careful about what they do to achieve ranking, so as not to affect the reputation of the brand in any way during the process.
- Mobile & Smartphones: Most companies would start considering a mobile strategy very soon. A huge number of users are already accessing internet on their mobile devices – the smart phones and tablets are getting increasingly powerful. Businesses would leave no stones unturned to tap into this audience and mobile apps and advertisement would be the two most effective and popular channels adopted by businesses. The war for establishing your apps in the crowded appstores have already started and it is going to get fierce in 2011. There would be a lot more independent agencies and mobile strategy companies that would start offering app marketing as a stand-alone service.
There are definitely more surprises waiting for us in 2011 and one year down the line if we try to do a review of this year has delivered this list would probably get much longer. Feel free to share your thoughts on these predictions and also what are the other possibilities you think 2011 holds for us.