2012 is quietly sneaking up on us as we approach Thanksgiving and with Christmas just around the corner. While consumers are planning their holiday dinners, shopping and gift ideas, marketers are heavily concentrating on the upcoming trends for the New Year. Many trends look to be emerging for 2012 from SEO updates to social media channels to the advancement of mobile technology & mobile marketing. Beyond those typical digital marketing arenas, more advanced technologies are propelling digital signage and digital-out-of-home displays forward.
With the release of the Panda updates throughout 2011, improving content has been top of mind for all search marketers. That isn’t predicted to change moving forward into 2012. Relevant, original content will continue to play a major role in all SEO strategies.
In November, Google rolled out two more SEO updates that will have a significant impact on search and search results pages – freshness and social. The goal of the freshness update is to ensure searchers are getting the most up to date information – specifically when it comes to news and sports. For example, if you search “Olympics,” Google will know you mean the upcoming game in London in 2012 rather than results from four years ago. If your website is a news site or concentrates on current information, this new update may impact your SEO. Moving into 2012, updating content regularly with unique, relevant information will help keep your website from slipping in being found in search results.
Watch for continued social medial integration in search marketing and more emphasis on website content moving into 2012.
Social Media Marketing
As mentioned about, social media and SEO will continue to become more integrated moving into 2012. Google and Bing have already begun the integration process. In May, Bing pushed a Facebook integration which allows logged-in Facebook users to “like” search results and sites and brings users personalized results based on information from their Facebook profile. Additionally, Bing shows logged-in users what they’re friends are “liking,” reading and sharing. More recently, as mentioned above, Google’s new update has the ability to push Facebook comments and Tweets into search results.
The rollout of Google+ Pages for Business creates an additional communication channel for business to consumers and business-to-business. Google+ lets businesses showcase their portfolio of work and give additional information and products and services offered.
Social media and social media marketing will continue to be a “mover and shaker” with consumers, business and brands and the communications between them in 2012.
Mobile technology and advanced mobile marketing strategies will continue to move forward in 2012. Mobile marketing moving into 2012 will continue to include local mobile search, mobile app development and in-app ads and mobile coupons. Local mobile search will make its mark as Smartphone users continue to increase and use their phones to search for restaurants and shopping near their current location. Mobile couponing will remain steady as consumers remain pressed in their spending on non-essential goods.
The newest technologies moving forward in 2012 and beyond include near field communication (NFC) and voice search. NFC is the technology behind the “mobile wallet.” It allows consumers to have money in their phone and not have to necessarily carry a wallet or purse. The mobile wallet will continue to rise in 2012 and beyond as more Smartphones include the NFC technology.
Voice search has appeared more heavily on marketers’ radar with the release of Siri and the iPhone 4s. Siri allows users not only to set reminders and have messages read out loud, but it also allows users to search by talking to Siri and not typing in a search engine. Search markets and mobile markets now need to consider the differences in how consumers search when they type vs. how they ask questions. While this may not be an immediate need in 2012, it is definitely something to consider moving forward with mobile marketing strategy for the future.
Outside of SEO, social media and mobile marketing there are additional digital trends to watch for in 2012. Digital signage and digital-out-of-home campaigns create a new sense of interaction with consumers. I’ve only highlighted some of the many digital trends moving into the New Year. As technology continues to change, Google makes more major algorithm updates and consumers change the way they use social media, how businesses market to consumers will change rapidly. Keep an eye out for those changes, or at least be sure your digital marketing agency is, and develop an integrated marketing plan + strategy with ideas surrounding the 2012 digital marketing trends.