Digital Predictions for 2012 close

Mark McDermott
Mark McDermott
In Musings
19th January 2012
Digital Predictions for 2012

Have you got bored of saying Happy New Year in emails yet? This may well be the last new year related article you read so I will try and make it a good one. 2011 was another bumper year for digital but like IE6, that's dead now. What does 2012 have in store?

Social Commerce

Conversion optimisation will be the SEO of 2012 (if it isn’t already). Ranking and traffic are crucial starting points but are irrelevant without conversion. Aside from applying user centric design, inspiring content and products we can greatly support conversion with social proof.

The weight of the opinion of our peers in commercial decision making is immense. Social proof is the theory that we look at what others are doing to reassure us we’re making the right decision. To date almost 50% of shoppers have made a purchase based on a recommendation through a social network. This will only increase with moves by Google to bring search results and social networking more closely aligned with Google+ data influencing rank. In 2012 brands will begin to invest more in taking a sophisticated approach to social commerce and harnessing peer power.

Location Based Marketing

Although Foursquare and Facebook Places have trail blazed location based marketing, uptake is still not that great. However targeting consumers by location is a sophisticated way to engage people in a way that’s personal to them.

Google recently announced it is working on new products that make use of its location based services. Marissa Mayer, Google’s VP of product management, said during a session at LeWeb in Paris that they were exploring monetisation of check-ins. In a similar way to mainstream mobile web I can see this prediction hanging around for a while before it really takes off, but it will.

Mobile Payments

UK smartphone adoption is forecast to tip from 40 to 60% this year and for many the relationship with the phone will become more intimate than ever. 83% of millennials already sleep with their mobile. With large storage capacity and creative apps in abundance everything we need is on our mobile. In 2012 so will our wallets.

Roughly 170,000 UK shoppers a week are already using eBay's mobile app. PayPal saw mobile transactions multiplied by almost 6 times in 2011. Google Wallet should be launched in the UK for the Olympics. Near Field Communication (NFC), which enables data exchange between two devices will become a standard smartphone feature. This in turn will create opportunities for mobile operators and brands to engage with consumers in convenient new ways.


The number one buzz word of the previous year was gamification. 2012 will be the year this evolves as brands embrace the concept, following early successes of Get Glue and Badgeville. Gamification will see brands integrate this technology into their own products and services, offering more sophisticated points and rewards systems.

Convergence of platforms

In 2012 we will see a greater emphasis on single build development projects that encapsulate all digital platforms into one single code base. HTML 5, JavaScript and CSS3 will form the foundation of all these builds with minimal native coding. This will be partly to save budget but mostly to create a consistent, real time user experience across all digital touch points.

In order to achieve this developers do require the widespread adoption of standards compliant browsers by users. Thankfully smartphones already use pretty sophisticated and up to date browsers. The acceleration of the innovative browser chrome, which is only 3 years old and already holds 26% market share, shows that we are beginning to see the stranglehold of IE, at 40%, loosen.

Social platforms to look out for

You might think its all about Facebook, Twitter and Google+ now but you might want to look out for these up and coming (mostly mobile) platforms in the next twelve months:

Going Public

The latest forecasts suggest that Facebook will be worth as much as $100 billion on its Wall Street debut, creating at least a thousand millionaires. The expectations for the Facebook IPO are very high. Many internet firms, including Groupon and LinkedIn, went public in 2011, but the response was mostly underwhelming. However investors have big hopes for Facebook and as regulators enforce the public disclosure of figures in the build up we will be learning a lot more about its business model and their future vision for the social web.

Did I miss anything? Please let me know in the comments below.