David Hughes, CEO- The world economy will continue to face turmoil as the European economy continues to decline, the BRICs will continue to grow, but at a slower pace than over the past 5 years, and the US Economy will actually be deemed a safe haven despite slow growth (1.5-2.5%). Unemployment will not break below 8% next year. What does this mean for marketers? There will be continued stress placed on them to drive ever better ROI from their advertising spends with limited customer growth or demand. Despite that, all forms of online marketing will continue to grow with especially fast growth in the Mobile sector.
Dewey Northington, Manager of Creative Design- Growth in mobile will continue to surge in 2012. As exemplified by Facebook’s recent acquisition of Gowalla, geographical data will be used more effectively. Location-based services will continue to grow with users’ expectations, as will the demand for companies to deliver a high-quality mobile experience.
Ranil Wiratunga, Group Account Director-
- Mobile: Year of mobile has come and gone, but innovation within mobile is not slowing down. NFC technology is young, and 2012 will bring NFC infrastructure innovation and consumer adoption. Mobile advertising products will mature, and Google AdWords/AdMob will be the flagship of mobile advertising maturation in 2012.
- Social: The battle between Google and Facebook will intensify. Both hold incredible amounts of data. Google’s ability to unify email, tools, sharing, etc. through Google+ will dictate the social war of 2012. The question will be whether or not can Google+ increase usage to Facebook levels after their integration with other products and platforms.
- Online Legislation (SOPA – Stop Online Piracy Act): Some people say the internet is a modern day wild west. In recent years, governing bodies through their constituents and lobbyists have become increasingly aware of the power of the internet and search engines. Legislation has the potential of slowing and, in some extreme cases, stopping free speech online. Filtration can have a lasting impact on SEM, SEO, and Social Media of the future. How certain countries handle online, mobile, and search engine legislation will again be formative in 2012.
Caragh McKenna, Senior Manager, SEO- Having monitored the huge amount of content orientated algorithmic changes in 2011, I would suggest the market in the coming year will build on the “fresher” approach to search with continuous emphasis on unique, engaging and quality content. I believe the importance that will be placed on the content elements will be reflected in a change to linking/promotions strategies. In 2012 the search market as a whole will embrace sophisticated unique content strategies that lend themselves to attracting links and promotions from stronger linking strategies. The most natural place for this to occur will be within the social media sphere and across marketing for mobile devises.
Keith Wilson, VP, Marketing Strategy-
1. More than 50% of the Super Bowl ads shown in 2012 will reference a “Facebook” logo.
2. Federal legislation around privacy laws will continue to stagnate into 2013.
3. Mobile search will exceed 20% share of search queries by the end of 2012.
Mike Solomon, VP, Marketing Strategy- While I thought 2011 was the year of Mobile, and it was, I think 2012 will be the year of Attribution. There is so much opportunity for brands that can figure out the value of various conversion points, sources of traffic and relative value of leads, sales and customer relationships. The key to making all of this happen is having the data, which is the breakthrough I will be looking for in the coming year.
Barbara Palmer, President – I am going with mobile again this year. My 2011 prediction did come to fruition, and mobile was huge, but it was just the beginning. 2012 will be mobile expanded. With Google stating that they will penalize sites that do not have a mobile website, rather than just reward those that do, it is crucial that mobile be a part of the marketing strategy and consideration set for all. It is already exciting to see the creativity and functionality of apps, and I think with a hyper-focus on mobile, that creativity will be taken to new heights. Couple that with the ease of online consumption (purchase, payment, price comparison), and mobile arms the consumer to be smarter and more efficient. It will be an on-the-go 2012.
Sinead Downing, Manager, Reporting & Analytics- As companies continue to invest their online spend into other growing areas, e.g., mobile, social media and display, I think we’ll also see an increase in time devoted to evaluating the opportunities and benefits of these channels and understanding how they can add value to the online advertising portfolio. As these channels have gained momentum, the available reporting has slowly begun to expand. In addition, because advertisers have invested in these channels, we now have a significant sample of available data, giving us a more comprehensive picture of how these channels can add value and increase overall online revenue and/or conversions. So, I think there will be an increase in channel-specific analytics as that data becomes more available, which will in turn give us a better understanding of the impact these channels have on the account as a whole.
Louise Vine, Content Editor- I expect Siri and voice search technology will continue to grow and improve next year. I also think it could be possible for voice/mobile search, local, and social to all come together as one, perhaps through a medium such as the new Schemes service recently launched by Google+. Perhaps Siri, or technologies like it, will be able to conduct searches based on a user’s current search and social media activity, in addition to location and voice/text prompts. I think in terms of content, it will continue to get harder for sites to keep up with Google’s Panda updates unless they are constantly creating fresh, unique and engaging content. What’s more, I think it will become increasingly more difficult to scrape content from another site unless done on Google’s terms.
Mike Jarvinen, VP, Marketing Strategy- Microsoft triples down on Xbox as the “search hub” of the television, pulls in a ton more partners and buys something big: Hulu, DirecTV.
September Withers, Content Editor- In 2012 we’ll see the launch of a brand new social networking site, one which won’t have been developed through a search engine. I think the social site will be used primarily by a specific niche group of people, perhaps aimed towards a younger audience aged between 12-17. The site will be different, because it won’t just be fixated on your online social interactions with other people, but rather how you organize yourself. Perhaps like a social and educational tool to help manage your revision or homework schedules, while allowing its users to compare tips and discuss topics. It’ll be like an online Filofax or homework diary for adolescents.
Grant Simmons, Group Account Director- Although much of the focus is on Google, Bing, Facebook and YouTube as dominant search destinations, I think 2012 will be the year when some other less obvious search engines and methodologies come into their own, primarily; niche interest search engines, App search, (non computer) Device search (like TVs) and mobile voice driven search (a la Apple’s Siri).
In a world where Google is faced with anti-trust and privacy concerns, I don’t believe they’ll be able to defend their market share long term, especially since their efforts to expand beyond desktop and mobile map search has been slower than anticipated. Google TV is waiting to be reinvented as a viable consumer alternative (it will happen), but in the meantime other competitors are looking at non computer device search as an opportunity to tie together everyday life with the ability to find solutions to ‘in the moment’ problems. I still believe my prognostications of last year are somewhat realized, a few home appliances are now connected (think fridges http://www.lg.com/uk/about-lg/innovation/lg-technology/home-network-technologies.jsp), though the automobile is still in it’s early stages of location-aware recommendations, it’s coming. Soon.
For mobile, there’s already been a move toward App-based search based on brand-supplied Apps (find a local pizza store with Dominos app) and news organizations providing authority-based trust and loyalty (e.g. CNN and local news ABC7.) While we may look at these Apps as merely convenient, they transparently replace our need to visit Google or Bing to find the relevant information.
This year *will* bring an Apple electronics product that lives in your living room. There’s too much opportunity to provide the confluence of the “digital hub” Steve Jobs envisioned by creating a TV or enhanced AppleTV that offers similar functionality as Apples iPhone4S, with Star Trek-style voice activated commands through Siri that could potentially control your home, and through that interaction provide the search results you’re looking for, outside of the traditional computer experience.
These new or better channels will open up new or better opportunities to connect with consumers both though content optimization, their social graph, and semantic relevance; search will be uniquely personalized to who you are, your friends, your habits and your life style. This “übersegmentation” means more finite persona development, discreet targeting, and brand vs. non-brand differentiation.
What big trends or developments do you predict will impact online marketing in 2012?