2011 was a game-changing year for digital (although let’s face it, every year is when it comes to the Internet). We saw the birth of Facebook’s Timeline, got to know Siri, and who would have picked that Instagram would grow to be bigger than Foursquare?
And we’re excited for what’s coming next. We’ve made a list of predictions on what will shape the digital environment in 2012.
Facebook is about to offer frictionless sharing by integrating the various actions users take across the web into the social network. Actions are similar to the ‘Like’ button on display but would include elements like ‘Read’, ‘Listen’, and ‘Watch’ – these are automatically posted on your timeline or news ticker.
Depending on how wide they open up the action functionality, it could lead to brands being able to take ownership of whole verbs specifically for their campaign.
Social Plugins and Aggregators
We’ll probably continue to see a rise in mobile services that plug into the existing social environment (like Flipboard, Path and Instagram). These types of aggregators play on the idea or thought that social media has evolved as a tool for the curation, distribution and sharing of current and news and events.
We may even see behemoths like Facebook fragment bits of their services into discreet apps (as they’ve already done with chat), letting you use the platform à la carte.
It may be early days yet, but we believe the tap technology of Google Wallet and other mobile apps will catch on fast. Our Scandinavian correspondent reports that, in Stockholm, travel cards are fading away as people simply scan their phones to access public transport. In the UK, use of NFC (Near Field Communications) is set to boom as it is integrated across London 2012 sites.
Pinterest: the new social favourite
Both highly visual and addictive, one sharing tool that has caught our attention is Pinterest. The tool makes it a snap to share images, quotes, articles and products. It is also a lot more ‘credit friendly’ than Tumblr, tracking repins and where images originate.
According to Businessweek, traffic has increased sevenfold in the last five months, and recent investment in the company, means Pinterest is set to launch more features. Word has it that, in the near future, content shared on it will enjoy significant SEO value if tagged appropriately.
Will Google+ shake up social media in 2012 or will it just mess up the Internet? We see a lot of opportunity for Google+ to be used in interesting ways, but we think it needs some more dedicated development from Google’s team, otherwise it could go the way of Buzz.
Brands need to be aware that search engines evolve, social endorsements such as ‘plus ones’, ‘likes’ and ‘tweets’ can have real SEO value applied to them, as SERPs become tailored for individual users.