It doesn’t look like we are going to be bowled over by a flood of new digital trends in 2011. All the trends that have been predicted to dominate the digital world this year are those that we are already familiar with, but improved, innovated and expanded.
We are already “social” and “connected” and we go online to fulfil great deal of our personal and professional needs. We will clearly continue spending more time online as more and more aspects of our everyday life becomes dependent on technology. Now we can access internet on the go and anytime we like through smart phones, tablets and the like. As a result, digital trends are becoming an integrated part of cultural trends as they seem to shape and alter the way we interact, exchange information and live our everyday lives. I have therefore picked a few digital trends that I believe will have a significant impact on the way I do things and also those that will be fun to watch evolving.
To start with, there will be shift from ecommerce to social commerce, which has been coming for a while now. Since we can make our buying decisions based on advice from those we trust, why should we rely on the advertising? As a result, we will be more likely to make a purchase online and we will increasingly do so with our smartphone. In addition, our online shopping activity will be facilitated by the relevant app that will make our shopping experience easier and more enjoyable. Mobile apps such as scoutmob.com and shopkick will improve accessibility, help us to get all the product information we need and make transactions fast and painless. Moreover, the use of geo-localised apps will help us save as we benefit from discounts and special offers that come with collective buying. Apart from being kind to your pockets, using apps such Gowalla, Foursquare, Brightkite or Loop will also be social as they let us check where our friends are and what they are up to.
As the digital world is enters all areas of our personal and public lives there will be more and more issues around privacy. This debate has become a driver for innovations and improvements i.e. Facebook groups etc. and it will heat up in 2011 shaping the digital world further.
Let’s look further at these 5 top digital trends of 2011:
1. Apps, apps everywhere
Apps will continue the move beyond mobile, invading other platforms such as desktops, tablets, TV etc. As user expectations grow apps will continue to innovate and 2011 will see the improvements in the relevance of Apps as users look for a more personal, tailored experience
2. Digital convergence
2011 will see multiple devices coming closer together. Experts are predicting that in the future we will have only one device to do everything. The most exciting thing here is the potential of “web-enabled TV”. We have already seen this happening with Google TV and Apple TV. As this trend continues to grow it won’t be long before our tablets become our computers, TV’s, phones and anything else we might need. Expect to see the first “connected TV”, right on cue for the Olympics.
3. Geo-location, Geo-location , Geo-location
We are already used to Google,Yahoo and Bing displaying our search results according to the location we are in but prepare for things to get even more localised and personalised as Google plans to add contextual discovery to search.
This will mean that Google will work out your location, conduct a search and choose the best results for the particular user. Google’s aim is to push search results to users based on their location and their preferences - Google Places and Hotpot will be the means of gathering these preferences.
We will also go local when “checking into” places via our smartphones. We’re all familiar with Foursquare, Gowalla, Brightkite, Loop, Google Latitude and Facebook Places. Geo-location combined with social media will be huge in 2011 we can expect numerous Groupon and LivingSocial copycats to spring up. You should also expect Google to dominate location (primarily via mobile) with embedded social elements to it.
4. Ecommerce is over - Long live social commerce
“If I had to guess, social commerce is the next area to really blow up” Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder) Social commerce involves the use of social media, in the context of e-commerce, to assist with buying and selling products and services online. In the last few years users are increasingly reliant on collaborative ecommerce tools that enable them "to get advice from trusted individuals, find goods and services and then purchase them."
This Social Commerce includes customer ratings and reviews, user recommendations and referrals, shared online shopping, advice forums and so on. Facebook’s virtual currency, “Facebook credits”, will initially allow users to pay for virtual goods such as games, but will eventually let them buy anything, with the network expected to take a 30% cut of all transactions… Procter & Gamble has started selling its Max Factor brand cosmetics through Facebook as part of what the FMCG giant calls ‘small-scale direct-to-consumer’ initiatives. The ability for users to buy products without leaving the site could have major implications for retailers.
"Major brands will create social transactional applications and it will become commonplace for users to be able to make transactions on social media platforms rather than simply using social media to influence their purchasing behaviour," predicts Justin Cooke, chair of the British Interactive Media Association.
5. Internet privacy
The concerns regarding data protection and safety will continue to be a subject of numerous discussions. The debate will heat up this year as the privacy issues have to be regulated and there will need to be consensus between regulators and the industry about the scope of personal information which forms an online identity.
We can expect online activities such as Cookies, digital fingerprinting and behavioural targeting to come under strict surveillance in order to get them regulated and safe. In addition, online marketers will have to work harder to provide transparency and build credibility as consumers are becoming increasingly more scepitcal. They will have to be clearer about their data models and enable users to manage their own profiles.
With the coming changes and developments in digital technology expect to be given even greater ability to engage with all the messages coming at us as we are constantly encouraged to have our say, express our “likes”, comment and make recommendations to our friends.
You can read more about the digital trends here: