With a new year comes exciting new possibilities. These often come in the form of resolutions, but here at Evolve, we took a stab at predicting how several of the key aspects of the Web world might change in 2012. Take a look at our thoughts on what the next big thing might be. Also, check out the reference links for even more insight into the world of possibilities for 2012.
Search & SEO
Google will continue to own this space. Their blended results (local search, video, social, news and images) will continue to change throughout the course of the year, and it will grow as a local search tool. More small- to mid-size companies will recognize the importance and value of paying for professional SEO support.
Small businesses will try their hand at this, but struggle without some third-party support. Medium- to large-size businesses, however, will start paying attention to social metrics and succeed. New social start-ups will emerge, but we'll have to wait and see what the next big thing is going to be. Facebook, the most popular social network of 2011, will continue to dominate the social space with more acquisitions, enhancements and older users flocking to this platform. Some believe Twitter will be used for news feeds more than conversation, and will start to die off. Others who disagree note the many users that complain Facebook is clogged and annoying, while Twitter is quick and easy. Twitter will need to be watched closely.
- How Facebook Conquered The Social Web in 2011
- Twitter's 15 Major Milestones in 2011
- 2012 Trends: Social Media Metrics Take Center Stage
This will continue to be one the best forms of up-sell, cross-sell and lead generation marketing tactics in 2012. The big change will be in mobile email marketing, as it's growing rapidly. Email marketers will need to pay closer attention to mobile going forward, and should keep it in mind when they design and strategize for this platform.
PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Marketing
PPC has historically been owned by Google, who recently blurred the lines between what is a "paid ad" and what's "not." Our usability testing has revealed many users can't tell the difference. In either case, Facebook PPC will challenge the Google giant in 2012, and will become more popular for companies that decide it makes sense to try out.
Many marketers still have no idea what this is and what it does, but the industry is hoping to see more marketers budgeting for this. With more technology and interaction being integrated into websites, the importance and popularity of this service will surely grow. We may still be a couple of years away though.
Ecommerce will continue to grow with more product-driven business models. Mobile shopping will emerge as a viable platform, and social shopping will also grow for consumer markets.
We're already seeing a shift in analytics with mobile browsing gaining traction, but it'll continue to be a hard sell to upper-management. This should be the year for mobile, but whether that holds true is still to be determined.
- 10 Ways Mobile Sites Are Different from Desktop Websites
- U.S. Mobile Web Usage Grew 110 Percent Last Year; Apple Dominates, Android No. 2
This one's a no-brainer. Apps have become the hottest new trend, and will continue their dominance this coming year. Costs will determine who can play in this space, and the target audience will determine what platform to invest in. iPhone? iPad? Android? All of the above? Regardless of the choices made, the staggering popularity and capability of this service will provide plenty of fuel for 2012.
With the growth in sales over the holidays, tablets will be a viable platform for Web development this coming year. Marketers and designers will need to start paying closer to attention to their users and how their websites perform, look and interact on theses mobile browsing devices.
Firefox will lose some additional ground to Chrome, which will grow in popularity among younger demographics. Safari will continue to hang on with the Apple OS backing it, and IE will gain more traction with the introduction of the new Windows 8 operating system. We may even see the death of IE7 (at least our industry hopes so).
- Global Web States for November 2011
- Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview 4: Windows 7 Users Need Not Apply
Each year the amount of video viewed online continues to grow. As mobile devices get savvier with serving up optimized videos, we'll start to see videos on almost every website.