Top ten digital trends for 2010

Simon Mainwaring / Brands / 10 years ago

It feels SO good to be in 2010. 2009 was full of upheaval for many reasons, not the least of which was changes in digital marketing. So let’s kick start the New Year will a look at some powerful trends that will shape the coming year.

In the past year we have seen a powerful increase in the mainstream adoption of social media. With the increase in popularity of veteran sites like facebook and twitter, along with location-based newcomers like Foursquare and Postabon, digital marketers will be forced to rethink their advertising strategies to incorporate this new location-based variable.

As social networking, real-time and geo trends are integrated with mobile devices that enable consumers to effortlessly produce, publish and advocate for brands, consumers will move towards a unique position where they become the de facto advertiser for much brand messaging.

As Twitter and Facebook posts become indexed, real time search will become part of our daily lives. Google and Microsoft Bing are currently leading the way and digital marketers will need to adjust their strategy and creative to capture, leverage and profit from this new immediacy. For marketers its a powerful shift in focus from archives and what was to intention and what will be.

As consumers come to understand that they are in charge of where they put their attention, digital marketers will be left with the responsibility of providing the “why” behind where consumer choose to look. This is especially true with millennials who are very aware of their role as cultural change agents.

Commanding consumer attention is becoming increasingly difficult due to a multiplicity of social media websites and advertisements throughout the Web, challenging digital marketers to stand out, grab attention and keep their audience interested. This is complicated by the fact that content is increasingly being dispersed across feeds and social media robbing marketers of the intended context for their content.

Web users not only have the power to determine when and where they will receive marketing messages, but they are using that power to resist payment systems for online content. As a result, digital marketers are being forced to embed ads in engaging content that captures consumer interest and dialogue better than advertising on its own.

AR has already begun to demonstrate its usefulness as a location based tool. As with other recent success stories like digital music service, Spotify, AR satisfies an undeniable consumer need in a simple manner that plays into the rise of mobile community and commerce. As such, digital marketers ignore it at their peril.

Marketers are being forced to develop a more sophisticated approach to the relevance or meaningfulness of a message to their target audience. As such, as Stowe Boyd stated, “Meaning is the new search’. Yet, measurement tools for the meaning offered, perceived or received by a brand or consumer do not exist. As a result, we can expect exploration into analytic tools that can measure and quantify meaningful impact for clients.

Marketers are still struggling to wrap their heads around the power shift to consumers armed with social media tools. In order to minimize risk, they will increasingly reach out to consumers for strategic and creative feedback, allowing them to participate and often lead initiatives to ensure that their efforts will be well-received.

Combine the trends of social media, real time search, location sharing services and augmented reality, and it’s easy to see how digital marketing is increasingly being exercised in partnership with consumers. With data, tools and networks being accessible everywhere, consumers can interact with each other in ways of their choosing that can make or break a brand. As such the most effective digital marketing with invite contribution and celebrate participation by consumers.

Obviously this list isn’t exhaustive. What would you add and do you agree?

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  1. Avatar lochwinnoch says:

    I'd say that, if the Apple Tablet turns out to be real, then those of us in digital will need to rethink how we plan and develop content, websites, interactive elements etc. Just as the advent of the iPhone app has led many brands to consider using this mobile and directly interactive medium, so the tablet will force us to consider developing bespoke applications for the format. This will apply to traditionally paper-based brands (e.g. IKEA catalogues, newspaper applications) but may also spread to the likes of clothing companies (interactive dressing rooms), car manufacturers (implementation of the Audi MS Surface app in-home). Granted, much of the interactivity can be done right now with mouse pointer and keyboard, but there is something inherently inclusive about large touchscreens that lends them to be more often involved in a shared usage situation (e.g. girls' night in, online shopping/clothes tryout on high-street brand applications).

    The speed of uptake for touchscreen smart phone apps has really surprised me and I think we'll see similar speed with tablets. Apple very likely have a clutch of big name brands already in the wings under NDA, ready to release impressive apps from day 1…

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  3. Thanks, Leon. I completely agree that the tablet will have enormous impact. As an avid Apple fan. I've been waiting for its launch and enjoying all the spy/fake renderings of it. If it turns out at all like those images, I agree the way it houses information and allows you to interact with it will change brand communications enormously. As you said, everything from retail to virtual experiences will be affected. Plus the shared usage aspect could be huge when you also consider how brands are now using gaming. I think the tablet format will take off just as quickly as the iPhone and yes, big brands will be on board already. All we need now is the tablet! The rumor mill is flying here but the 1st gen is always worth waiting out too. Thanks for calling out this trend. I completely agree it will affect digital marketing across the board. Happy 2010, Simon

  4. Avatar Brandon101 says:

    Great list Simon – thanks for putting this together. The one that I have a question on is AR. I definitely see the potential for AR to provide value to high-end mobile users, but my concern is that some eager marketers might jump at this trend without understanding where AR is in the adoption cycle. Honestly, some of the talk that I've heard on AR reminds me of the Second Life hype from a couple of years ago. Just because a technology is cool doesn't mean that the masses are going to embrace it. It seems to me that AR appeals to a relatively thin slice of the overall population, and as such should be approached as a niche tool/tactic. To be clear, I'm not discounting AR or its importance in future digital initiatives, but I'm cautioning against putting too much emphasis on it as a tool for reaching the masses at this time.

    I agree totally with you and Leon on the Apple Tablet – this can definitely be yet another game-changer, and one that could see mass adoption at a staggering pace.

    I'm curious to hear any additional thoughts you have on AR. I really do appreciate your insights. Thanks Simon!

  5. Thanks, Brandon and you make some valid points. In my limited experience with actually AR apps, what I find so appealing is the simplicity of the access to information. So I feel its appeal is based on simplicity and convenience rather than the unusual nature of the app. As smart phones become our alter egos, I presume we'll rely on them more for information served up in simple ways. that applies both to content we load into our phones and sourcing information around us. I think AR gives smart phones the potential to be our real world scanners and becomes comprehensively intergrated into our daily lives by a wide audience. That said, if the tools become polluted with ads or spam-like intrusions, it'll all be over before it began. Hope that helps, Happy new Year and great to be in touch, Simon

  6. Avatar Brandon101 says:

    Thanks for the reply Simon – sorry for the delay in responding. I agree with you on the potential, and also the idea that too much intrusive commercialization could be fatal. I think it really comes down to the numbers of smart phones that are capable of AR apps. I personally use an iPhone 3G, which doesn't have the video capability, and thus limits me. As new devices come out and people upgrade, these tools become much more viable. I just think we have to be mindful that just because devices are available doesn't mean that there are enough people that own them to justify a major investment. I do like the idea of developing pilot programs with AR, if it makes sense for the client.

    I'm definitely eager to see how this plays out in 2010 – especially the next generation iPhone. 🙂 Thanks again for your insights!

  7. Agreed. I think this will be big in 2010. I'm still seduced by the simplicity of AR but I know developers are struggling with how to monetize it. Will be interesting to see if its a staple or a fad. Best, Simon

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