OK, as a number of the projects we have been working on here are ‘hush hush’ we can’t share them with you yet. So instead I thought I would share our ‘top ten’ digital trends of 2013. Hopefully in the New Year we will be able to share some of the things we have been working on, a lot of which are based on what we see as the future of digital.
1. Adaptive websites
OK, Adaptive is so important for the future, that if your website isn’t adaptive, shut it down. A big call I know, but with the emergence of smartphones and tablets your web design needs to be able to adapt to all screen sizes, and be usable and navigable whether the screen size is 3.5 inches, or 70 inches. Have a look at the site we created for the TTNA as a good example. Grab the corner of your browser and resize!
Imagine if you could link your CRM software to your project management tools, and to your workflow software and to your accounting software, all in the cloud like this business does. Or your online store, to your inventory management software, to your warehouse dispatch system, to your returns system and have the whole thing linked into your accounting system like this Melbourne-based business. What’s that you say? You have been able to do that for a number of years? Well yes, but how about at almost zero cost? Now I have your attention, don’t I?
3. Internal Social Networks
Email is dead! Yay! Well not quite, but internal social networks can kill off email and improve workflow. We use Trello, but there are others such as Yammer and Convo out there and for workplaces that are increasingly global (such as ours) they are a must. In 2013 we will be allowing a number of our clients access to our workflow system, so they can see where we are at in terms of progress and speed up the consultation and approval process.
4. Parallax scrolling sites
The big trend in web design out of Europe. And we see it as the next big thing in web design in Melbourne. Big brands have been using these for the past 12 months as product marketing tools, however, watch in 2013 as this transition effect works its way into everyday websites *hint, hint*
5. Mobile Commerce
In 2012, 16% of Australian’s reported using their smartphone to purchase online. This number is growing at a fantastic rate and if your ecommerce platform and site doesn’t cater for mobile or tablet use, you will be left behind.
6. Unique content
Unique content has been a mantra of SEO and social media marketers for a while now, but with the algorithm changes Google has introduced over the past 18 months content must also be engaging. Google has publically stated that social sharing is several years off impacting its search rankings (I think mainly as they are a little pissed that no one uses Google+), so in the meantime, it is about engaging Google’s algorithms and as it stands, the most compelling content is king.
And this leads me to my next trend…
As bandwidth continues to improve, and more and more people discover the delights of cat videos on Youtube, video is going to become the norm for delivering content that once may have formed an in depth written article (like this one). But this isn’t just about Youtube and embedding of videos. Think turning your site into one large interactive video clip. Here is a basic example of a trend that is going to take off in the next 12 months.
8. Targeted Content, Ads and Sales
I have already mentioned unique content, but the next level is targeting this content to individual users. For a while now, marketers have been tracking what types of content gets hits in order to create more engaging content. But this assumes that all of us like the same things. 2013 will see the emergence of targeted content, delivered to users based on their individual tastes and previous content consumption patterns. Google is already offering this type of service to marketers with banner ads (known as remarketing), whereby ads for sites you have visited present themselves on subsequent sites you visit. Private sales are another extension of customised marketing, where consumers are offered “individual private, limited-time only” sales, based on their previous purchase behaviour. This leads me onto number nine…
9. Data management
To be able to delivery targeted content, data is king. And a good data management tool in king. This is not just a trend for 2013, but the future of digital as we come to grips with dealing with Big Data
10. The year Facebook goes bad
2012 saw Facebook go public, with its IPO ending up in disaster as the share price plummeted after the initial hysteria dissipated. The reasons for this drop are many and varied, but the bottom line is that public companies like Facebook are monetising social media in the interests of the shareholders, at the expense of the users (both individuals and companies).
Whether it is destroying the mobile experience with ads or the exploitation of businesses who have invested vast resources on their Facebook presence or the monetisation of individual users content (see the recent instagram debacle ).
Using Facebook as a broadcast medium has now become too expensive for many small, medium and large businesses (who now have to pay to reach all of the people who ‘liked’ their page) and it will see leave or pull back their involvement. I still see it as a great customer touch point (to answer questions and enquiries), and a place to create a community if your brand represents something, but for most businesses, I would recommend putting their resources into other digital marketing channels.
Alex Boston on Google+Design, Digital-Strategy, SEO, Social-Media, Technical