by Todd Bertsch - Evolve Owner/President
With a new year... come exciting new possibilities. These often come in the form of resolutions, but here at Evolve we took a stab at predicting how several of the key aspects of the web world might change in 2012. Take a look at our thoughts on what the next big thing might be. Also check out the reference links for even more insight into the world of possibilities for 2012.
Search & SEO
Google will continue to own this space. Their blended results (local search, video, social, news, and images) will continue to change throughout the course of the year and it will grow as a local search tool. More small to mid-size companies will recognize the importance and value of paying for professional SEO support.
Small businesses will try their hand at this but will struggle without some third-party support. Medium to large-size businesses, however, will start paying attention to social metrics and succeed. New social start-ups will emerge, but we’ll have to wait and see what the next BIG thing is going to be. Facebook, the most popular social network of 2011 will continue to dominate the social space with more acquisitions, enhancements and older users flocking to this platform. Some believe Twitter will be used for news feeds more than conversation and will start to die off. Others who disagree, note the many users that complain Facebook is clogged & annoying, while Twitter is quick & easy. So Twitter will need to be watched closely.
This will continue to be one the best forms of up-sell, cross-sell and lead generation marketing tactics in 2012. The big change will be in mobile email marketing, as it is growing rapidly. Email marketers will need to pay closer attention to mobile going forward and should keep it in mind when they design and strategize for this platform.
PPC (Pay-per-click) Marketing
PPC has historically been owned by Google, who has recently blurred the lines between what is a “Paid Ad” and what is “Not” (our usability testing has revealed that many users can’t tell the difference), but Facebook PPC will challenge the Google giant in 2012 and will become more popular for companies for which it makes sense to try out.
Many marketers still have no idea what this is and what it does, but the industry is hoping to see more marketers budgeting for this. With more and more technology and interaction being integrated into websites, the importance and popularity of this service will surely grow. We may still be a couple of years away though.
Ecommerce will continue to grow with most product-driven business models. Mobile shopping will emerge as a viable platform and social shopping will also grow for consumer markets.
We are already seeing a shift in analytics with mobile browsing gaining traction, but it will continue to be a hard sell to upper management. This SHOULD be the year for mobile, but whether that holds true is still to be determined.
This is a “no-brainer”…it’s the hottest new trend and will continue its dominance this coming year. Costs will determine who can play in this space, and the target audience will determine what platform to invest in. iPhone? iPad? Android? All of the above? Regardless of the choices made, the staggering popularity and capability of this service will provide plenty of fuel for 2012.
With the growth in sales over the holidays, tablets will be a viable platform for this coming year. Marketers and designers will start paying closer to attention to their users and how their websites perform, look and interact on theses mobile browsing devices.
Firefox will lose some additional ground to Chrome which will grow in younger demographics, Safari will cling with the presence of Apple, and IE will gain more traction with the introduction of the new Windows 8 operating system. We may even see the death of IE 7 (at least our industry hopes so).
Each year the amount of videos viewed online continues to grow. As mobile devices get savvier with serving up optimized videos, we’ll start to see videos on almost every website.