The world is a fast changing place with new technology pushing forward paving the future of the way we operate within our daily lives, communicate with others and engage with brands. In the past year we’ve already seen a shift in consumer behaviour, particularly online, search patterns and accessibility to knowledge and communications. This is somewhat largely due to amount of algorithm changes Google has made this year but also due to the technology that is now accessible.
4G recently launched in the UK, broadband speeds are getting faster, Google glasses got it’s debut, Steve Jobs clocked out and left the company in new hands which has led to the launch of the iPhone 5, iPad mini, new iMac etc, Obama has got a second term, Toyota has gone back it’s roots with the GT86 and not to mention the recent events of Hurricane Sandy taking out New York thus highlighting serious flaws in the technology that keeps it running daily.
With all this change even only in the last 6 months i’ve decided to write a blog on my predictions for the future of digital marketing and then this time next year i’ll re-visit this blog and see if I was right or wrong.
I was recently inspired by a Google employee at a local digital marketing conference who talked about the future of Google, it’s plans and objectives and some of my predictions are drawn from his comments. It’ll be interesting how this pans out none the less.
1) The tablet market.
It is said that this Christmas the no.1 top present for the majority of individuals is a tablet. We’ve seen a massive growth in the variety of options available at present and whilst there is no doubt the iPad paved the way from the start, there is huge competition on price now. The Amazon Kindle Fire HD, Google Nexus 7 & 10, the iPad mini, the Samsung galaxy Tablet 2 – All these tablets are designed to be targeted at the budget conscious end of the market, for those who desire a more cost effective browsing experience, get mail, play games and download apps and because of this it’s naturally positioned to target a much wider market than ever before.
The tablet market is predicted to increase by 20% in the new year which is a massive growth. This means more people browsing, engaging, reading, reviewing and accessing all sorts of content. This backs up theories about shifts towards a 4 screen environment whereby the user wants information, quickly and easily. Whilst watching TV the is a higher percentage of users now with smartphones poised, tablets on the lap and laptops buzzing away. How many times have you watched TV whilst having some sort of digital device within an arms reach? I bet it’s at least 90% of the time.
2) Death of the desktop (Well almost).
Leading on from my previous prediction I believe that the desktop is a dying breed as we move to a more mobile and digital environment. That said the desktop still is firmly planted in the work environment, for power house activities, but even then with tablets becoming more powerful who knows even then the desktop could well be extinct soon – though not in the next 12months.
Looking at the graph below we can clearly see how desktop usage picks up during working hours but falls flat in the evenings as mobile and more importantly tablet usage increases. As a designer and digital marketer this creates a really interesting topic when it comes to web design considerations and how responsive design for mobile platforms really has become highly important. I’ll come onto this point shortly.
3) Voice search.
Google has already rolled out voice enabled search in the US and it is planned to roll out before the new year here in the UK but I really think that this is a big leap in a new direction around the way we search for stuff. Apple’s Siri and Androids Jellybean also represent a share in this new found ability to search for stuff via voice, we can now talk to our devices, get information, compose messages and control applications without even typing a command.
Taking a leap even further we’ve already seen reports about Google glasses and the ability to search on the fly and as the graph above illustrates the use of mobile and tablets in the evening increases which also falls in line with the usage of TV. Mobile search will equate for over 30% of all search traffic globally, that’s how much presence mobile has on the way we trawl the web and engage with our peers.
4) Augmented reality.
It’s kind of a bit of a buzzword in the last year but augmented reality really does have the ability to transform the way we interact with the real world via a virtual environment. We’ve seen clever uses of advertising and QR codes dotted around by all sorts of brands but what really gets me excited is the opportunity to interact, engage and become immersed in the environments around us. There is so much knowledge and information around every corner and between the many devices we carry every day uniting them together really helps provide a much great experience.
This is where I see Apple visioning with the shift to cloud based storage for more than just music and videos, but documents, applications and software. The new iMac for example ditches the CD drive in favour of SD cards and cloud based storage. Despite feeling that this advancement is a little premature and will alienate many users (initially) it feels right that this is the direct of change for all technology as wireless devices are getting better and 4GEE options pending we’ll soon be able to browse, access and engage even quicker than ever before.
I think next year we’ll see even more clever use of augmented reality not only in advertising but also in daily applications and uses. Checkout this video from the TEDindia conference about Sixth Sense technology, bearing in mind this was filmed in 2009 it’s extremely exciting what future this holds.
5) Head in the clouds.
We’re already seeing a massive shift to cloud based services from hosting to data storage but what really intrigues me is the shift towards accessing applications and software via the web. Adobe this year launched their subscription service whereby rather than buying software on CD you have a monthly subscription and just download whatever software you require with a one off flat rate fee. Resources such as Dropbox are providing a really great experience for file sharing and creative opportunities to expand the amount of storage available so it only makes sense the applications that are already available via the app store will start become a part of the devices OS from the outset.
Apple already provides every customer 5Gb of data to transfer, store, sync and backup all devices connected via the Apple ID and even unique Apple email addresses. Microsoft has a similar setup with SkyDrive and Google has Drive both of which have limitations but I can see both becoming more prominent in daily usage as consumers demand faster and better access to resources. Even shared browsing where you can perform a search via one device, pause, and then continue that operation on another device at a later time, the possibilities are endless when it comes to cloud based portability.
So that’s a quick round up of my top 5 predictions for 2013, what’s your thoughts for the coming year? Where do you see technology and digital marketing going?