Ring in the Digital New Year with 2012 Predictions

By Bizclik Editor

With the focus on the Best of 2011 this December, let’s shake it up and look toward the future to better bring in the New Year. It’s time to put on our top-of-the-line technology thinking caps with the 2012 Digital Predictions from Millward Brown’s Dave Barrowcliff. Barrowcliff is a specialist in Social Media Measurement for Millward Brown’s media & digital practice.

“We predict huge change in the way brands adopt and develop emerging technologies,” Barrowcliff said. “They will use these technologies to engage with a growing generation of digital consumers in more playful and enjoyable ways.”

Topping off the list is unlocking Gamification. It’s time for big brands to get a bit more playful. This simple idea applies game mechanics to non-game situations to engage consumers with aspects like points, level progression, badges, achievements, virtual currency and puzzles. Effective execution can be difficult because people’s motivations and approaches vary, but crude forms like Foursquare-style badges and points-based reward schemes are aiming to fail. Set your sights on multi-player, multi-brand, multi-channel real-life game systems to find virtual success.

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Keeping with the idea of virtual currency, the Mobile Wallet is ready to step up to the cashier at No. 2 on the list. Developments like Near Field Communication facilitates data transfer between devices in proximity. Brands need to focus on mobile payments to leverage them with customers to connect on a meaningful and compelling level.

Nothing beats being together (minus gamification and mobile wallets), which is why Virtual Togetherness is trending this New Year at No. 3. Prepare yourself for an explosion of social tools and technologies that people may use to interact with TV programs on a level never conceived previously. Social media and TV will interconnect in innovative ways that will allow producers to creatively use the data. Stay tuned.

Online Video is making a digital leap at No. 4 from the laptop to the big screen thanks to technologies like Boxee, Apple TV and Google TV. These are attempting to bridge this virtual gap to create an immersive multimedia experience. Expect the creation of content agreements, distribution channels and strategic partnerships.

We know Mobile Marketing is becoming a must for businesses at No. 5, and it is only expected to become even more social and local. Combine relevance, location and timing for successful social and location-based marketing. SoLoMo is expected to prevail in geo-social apps like Shopkick and Yelp, while retailers experiment with geo-fenced mobile marketing with companies like Placecast. Social buying, think Groupon and LivingSocial, should become more app-focused with real-time alerts on local deals. Brands will create their own apps to tap into these geo-location services and social networks. Tip:  Messaging will become more relevant as well to embed social content and shareability.

Take it to the technological edge this New Year and make it the best yet for your business.

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