Digital Marketing Predictions Revisited

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Written by Digital Surgeons,
• 6 min read

Way back in the prehistoric time of December 2011; the incredibly intelligent, talented staff of Digital Surgeons wrote a list of predictions for 2012. These predictions were based on fact, science and the dark arts. Yes, the dark arts. We actually consulted an oracle for a glance into the near future. We asked her what the next year held in store for the digital marketing world. In retrospect, we should have asked who would win the World Series and placed bets accordingly. Oh well, as you can see below, the oracle’s $17.50 worth of wisdom was right on the money…

There will be hackers! Security will become a bigger priority

  Boy, oh boy, were we right on this one. The list of sites attacked by hackers in 2012 is a who’s who of hot web properties. Hackers had some very high profile assaults; with LinkedIn, Dropbox, and the Apple App Store among the victims. These attacks didn’t go unnoticed though: the Department of Defense has requested a record 3.4 billion dollar budget for Cyber Security in 2013.

Mobile Gaming starts to catch up to consoles and PC

  Mobile gaming has seen incredible growth in the past year, just as we had predicted. In the United States, the amount of mobile gamers grew 35% to 100 million. The mobile gaming industry might not have seen the huge graphical innovations we predicted but there have certainly been some interesting advancements, such as incorporating Angry Birds with Samsung TVs.

Daily Deals Diminish

  Unfortunately for daily deals websites, our prediction seems to have come true. Category leader, and now publicly traded Groupon, has been in the news recently for poor financial performance, claims of shady business practices and members of their sales team abandoning ship. With widespread talk of large companies like Groupon, Yelp and Foursquare pivoting their strategies to remain relevant, it is safe to say that the daily deal bubble has burst.

Even Grandpa will use the cloud

  We predicted that “even grandpa will use the cloud” in 2012. While it is increasingly difficult to survey global grandpas, we did find some interesting statistics. In a Business Software Alliance survey from July, only 33% of computer users in developed economies (United States, France, Germany, UK) used some sort of cloud based service. 33% is far from everyone and their grandpa. To put this number in a little bit more context: in the United States almost 33% of smartphone users have an iPhone. The iPhone is one product in a market of many alternatives. Cloud computing is a market with many products. Cloud computing did not grow as much as we had previously predicted for 2012.

Internet Explorer Will be Alright

  Internet Explorer is still hanging in there, but things are definitely not “alright”. In 2011, IE had a 42.45% global share. Now in 2012, that has slipped drastically to 32.4%. To add even more insult to injury, Google’s Chrome now has a 33.8% market share and this seems to be growing. We may have been too kind to the red headed stepchild of the browser world in our 2012 prediction.

24/7 Customer Service on Twitter

  We’ve seen this trend continue strongly throughout 2012. Twitter has become a source of capturing customer service requests from angry complaints (we like to call them “TwitFits”) to support questions. While not all brands are providing the necessary response (only 40% of customer service questions are answered within 24 hours) top brands such as Amazon, Dell and Best Buy have response times in the 2-3 hour range. The initiative is making a difference. According to a press release from American Express, social media users “tell significantly more people about their service experiences, and say they’d spend 21% more with companies who deliver great service.”

Parallax, Parallax more of the Parallax

  We still love this design on websites and have seen consistently phenomenal implementations. For those that aren’t huge web design nerds like us, parallax design is a technique by which the background moves slower than the foreground. This gives the appearance that what you are viewing actually has depth; the poor man’s 3D. Our favorite of 2012 has been the Victoria Beckham Land Rover site which almost mimics a commercial.

Speaking of Politics..

  The presidential election was far from heated up when we published our 2012 predictions. But now, mere months away from the presidential election, candidates have been taking advantage of every form of communication. We missed the mark, however, by underestimating the mobile app sphere. Both candidates have released several apps. Romney started with a fun “With Mitt” app where voters fit a custom image into one of the app’s preset Romney-supportive artwork. More recently, Romney’s campaign team released an additional app that not only collects info about the candidate’s voter base, but will allow early notification of Romney’s VP choice.

  Obama’s app, aptly named “Obama For America,” uses the voters GPS data to provide information on Obama’s policies that will effect his/her area as well as some additional information about local events and voting locations.

  Both apps (which are free) skyrocketed to the top 100 in the Apple App Store

Companies will finally embrace the power of digital

  The surge in spending for digital marketing channels (social media, email, mobile, etc.) has reached the point of undeniable. Social media has been the most obvious, with some CMOs saying they forecast a 46% increase in spending for that area before March 2013, specifically in the B2C sector. Surprisingly, email has been equally important in marketing efforts and many CMOs surveyed (66%) say that email marketing “was their most successful solution, ahead of website performance and interface solutions, and paid and organic search.”

Growth in Mobile-first/Responsive Design

  Well, it’s only August and we’ve definitely heard “responsive web design” a couple hundred thousand times. From consulting mobile sites while shopping to browsing news stories, users have come to expect mobile-friendly sites, which means designers have changed their style to accommodate the increasing reliance on mobile sites.

  We were so commonly charged with creating responsively designed websites for clients, the team at Digital Surgeons actually created our own framework for it: Gumby. The Gumby responsive grid framework is popular not only in our office, but all over the world, being downloaded by developers over 7,000 times!

  Designing for mobile-first means simplifying the content and the experience, according to industry expert Luke Wroblewski, author of “Mobile-First”. “Until recently if we did anything for mobile it was an afterthought, a port, sort of a separate thing. But the sheer number of smartphone users means that’s increasingly becoming a backwards way of doing stuff,” he said.