Where is Digital Marketing heading in 2011?

Dec. 08, 2010 | by Gregory Lyons

As the year draws to an end I’ve started thinking about where online is heading in 2011.  Below I outline four areas I think will be important next year. Almost everything I’m going to talk about is already happening, therefore these are not predictions that may or may not happen but rather observations as to what is already happening and what you need to do to stay ahead of the game.

Visual: search is becoming more visual, images and creative now matter more than ever and website optimisation is no longer simply about getting the right words in the right places it’s also about getting the right pictures and creative message in the right place. Images are working their way into the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and you don’t need an eye tracking survey to know that an eye catching image will attract more attention than a text only link. We can see that in the above example the top 3 results are much more eye catching than result 4 which does not include an image.

Secondly Google now allows users to visually preview a site before visiting it, we’ve got full write ups on this new feature here , here and here , suffice to say in the above example which of the two sites would you visit!

In the summer Google introduced visual ads as part of image search (above) and product images in the ads on the main SERP, full write up here. With all these images appearing on the SERPs, choosing the right images and making sure you have images to be displayed in the first place is going to be important. Testing the Click Through Rate (CTR) of images via A/B testing and other methods will become common place on all good websites.

Location: This year all the buzz has been about location and ‘check ins’. First Foursquare started doing it, then Twitter got in on the act and now Facebook’s jumped on the bandwagon. Location has been important for a while now, Google has been personalising search results based on location for a long time, but for location based services to become mainstream they need to move beyond the simple game element espoused by foursquare. The vast majority of people (outside of the early adopter crowd) do not care if they are the mayor of Starbucks, what they do care about is getting free coffee! Discount voucher sites have risen in popularity, just take a look at the meteoric rise of Groupon and Googles rumoured acquisition bid. 2011 will be the year the two worlds of check ins and discount vouchers will meet. Instead of printing off a voucher on your PC, you will be able to check in using your smartphone to receive the discount. This will be easier for the consumer (no need to remember to print off that voucher) and will benefit the retailer because that check in and discount can then be broadcast to that users ‘friend list’ via whatever platform they used to check in (ie Facebook wall, Twitter feed etc)

Mobile: is going to continue to get bigger. It is the future and if you need any more evidence, here it is. The annualized run rate on mobile for Google is now one billion dollars. Let me repeat that, Google is now making a billion dollars (annualized) from mobile. Mobile is a serious channel (the draft for this post was written on my iphone) and your business should be ready for it. Mobile friendly sites, mobile apps and mobile marketing should all be part of your everyday vocabulary now, don’t be late to the party.

Personal: your internet experience will continue to get more personalised. With your information following you as you move around the internet your internet experience will get more and more personal. Searches will get more personalised, websites will get more personal, advertising will get more targeted and with more of your internet experience moving to the mobile (a device that by and large is unique to you) advertisers can highly target their message. How long until we get to this stage?

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    Comment (1)

    • Nuria

      Great post Greg!Jan 10, 2011 01:37 pm

     
    Please note: the opinions expressed in this post represent the views of the individual, not necessarily those of iCrossing.

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