According to expert predictions made by the Mayans, a cosmic prophecy predicts one earth shattering experience that will occur on December the 21st, 2012.
The form of this cataclysm remains a topic of debate – a sunspot storm, an asteroid, alignment of the planets, or a warm welcome into a galactic fraternity of extra-terrestrials.
Other less destructive predictions for 2012, however, may include the following.
1. Content marketing to increase – With Google’s imminent Panda update, marketers will need to ensure that content focus centers on quality over quantity. Creating engaging experiences for their audiences will have a direct impact on search engine results.
2. Mobile continues its expansion – After years of saying that it was the “year of the mobile”, 2010/2011 was the first year it really kicked off thanks to Steve Jobs (RIP) and Apple, with Android following closely behind. Mobile continues its expansion with more and more brands looking for mobile solutions to their business issues while closely watching the rise of tablets.
3. Gamification – The hot topic (more among agencies than brands) of 2011 will start to get more serious and structured and be implemented in more campaigns. Though, by its very nature it will hardly be noticed. You will engage and “play” with a brand but not quite be able to put your finger on exactly why you are enjoying it as you admire your collection of badges and trophies.
4. Games – With the rise of mobile, social media, gamification and the stress on ROI, more marketers will be looking at using games as a tried and tested method of reaching their consumers (adver-games or games for content).
Seeding and promotion of the games will also gain more prominence in order to reach the target market more effectively.
5. Cloud computing – This is a bit like what mobile has been for years. Suppliers of cloud computing are starting to tout it as the big thing of the year but it has not quite taken off and probably won’t until late 2012 either.
6. Social media continues expanding – Facebook trundles on with its privacy issues while users and brands wish it would improve its search engine and make finding new content easier. Google+ which has been off to a reasonably good start will allow its platform to settle in a bit and will then start to push and market it from the middle of the year. Expect to see some good celebrity related stories in the press to help this along.
7. Security – Slowly but surely the boffins have been winning the war against hackers making it more and more difficult for them. Unfortunately that is only in the PC world – with the growth of mobiles, tablets, cloud computing and with more employees taking work home with them, whole new areas have opened up to hackers and we will see some embarrassed companies in 2012 as data is stolen on both an enterprise and individual level.
8. Engagement strategies – Closely tied with some of the above predictions, brands will realise the importance of developing an engaging and shareable brand. The most engaging brands will have the most brand advocates and will therefore be most liked by search engines. It’s a win-win situation if you can get it right.
9. SMO and SEO – Social Media Optimisation will play an increasing part in your overall Search Engine Optimisation where using social activities to support your SEO and the overall effectiveness of all social media marketing.
Think: sharing, engagement, content, recommendations and conversations.
10. Strategy – Surprisingly most brands don’t have a digital strategy in place and work on ad hoc projects instead. In 2012 more thought will be given to tying these projects together into a more effective strategy that will produce more gains and be more flexible over the coming years.
And in summary, 2011 was not the greatest of years with all the financial woes of Europe and the US, but 2012 should definitely be better; after all it will be at least one day longer.