In a world where we are bombarded by new and exciting online marketing opportunities, it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate between cutting edge and bleeding edge.
To give you a helping hand, we’ve compiled our top web trends for the immediate future – things you should be thinking about now…
1. Broadcast/Audio Revolution….
What’s after Twitter? Maybe Qik.com? 12 Second TV and Audioboo are the next thing to fuel our egos or the need to tell the world what we are up to via video or audiomicro blogs, watch this space for further updates.
2. Mobile Revolution
As predicted only a couple of years ago, we are now en masse handsets with the ability to successfully render actual websites, we have a little way to go, but be under no illusion it’s the beginning of the end for WAP and small screens are already getting larger. With many websites (such as Facebook and Twitter) seeing a large proportion of their users engaging via mobile, the significance of mobile internet users should now be grabbing your attention, if it hasn’t already. Your customers (or fans as we often call them) and other website visitors are no longer limited to the PC or laptop. Start thinking about how you can capitalise on this. So could an iPhone App, Android App or Blackberry App transform the way your customers or employees engage with your brand or business?
3. The Cloud
If there is one way to start thinking green, think about where and how your website is hosted. Using the Cloud can be much more power efficient. It’s huge and we love it! Giving sites quicker loading times, a more cost efficient service and better reliability, The Cloud is here to stay (for the time being anyway). We’re looking forward to further advances and a maturation of the marketplace starting with the Open Cloud Manifesto, giving true scalability and cross-platform compatibility – you can find out more about this in Bluhalo’s blog post on the Open Cloud Manifesto.
Possibly one of the most significant trends on the web today, Software as a Service is fast becoming an internet phenomenon. Closely related to The Cloud, SaaS provides software to users without the need to physically buy the software, use hard drive space or implement updates. Providing a dramatically improved user experience, variety of subscription models and greater control for the software provider, SaaS is set to make it big in both the software and gaming worlds. You can find out more about it in Bluhalo’s blog article on SaaS.
5. On Demand Services
We’re familiar with on demand TV both on TV and online. Extending this model further, there has been a recent increase in a variety of other on demand services, partly thanks to the increase in popularity of SaaS. With gaming, music, software (to name a few) all seeing a rise in usage, and with the recent high profile launch of Quake Live, on demand services will continue to grow in terms of reach – potentially extending into other areas of our physical lives as technologies become more sophisticated. Playstation ‘home’, the equivalent of Second Life could be the perfect place for these environments to develop.
6. Social Media Mashups
Mashups come in all shapes and sizes, with social media mashups providing a host of additional opportunities for brands to engage and interact with their consumers. The applications are virtually limitless… If you’re in retail marketing you’ll know that people buy online (and offline) based on recommendations and reviews – fact. So, imagine taking all the positive talk on your brand from the social media world and showing it next to the relevant products on your ecommerce site – starting to get excited by this…? You can read more about mashups in Bluhalo’s recent blog article.
7. Brand Buzz Monitoring
“To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person”, although said by Bruce Lee in relation to martial arts is very applicable to your brand online. More so than ever before, your brand is not in any way, shape or form limited to the parameters dictated by your brand guidelines. Your brand is a product of the input of thousands, maybe millions of people from around the world giving their opinion of your brand, publicly loving or hating it, praising or complaining about it and the chances are, you probably don’t even see the majority of this – the brand you’ve created and you see is likely to only be the tip of the iceberg. Brand buzz monitoring gives you the ability to not only monitor your complete brand (warts and all) and its mentions online, it also gives you the opportunity to respond and interact with all that touch your brand. The value of this is, frankly speaking, invaluable, and with many brands enthusiastically embracing the huge potential of brand buzz monitoring online, now is definitely not the time to be left behind! To find out more about buzz monitoring and social media ROI, read Bluhalo’s recent blog article.
8. Web 3.0
Web 3.0 is all about getting your computer to act on your thoughts to help you get things done without you having to do anything…it’s early stages but it’s certainly exciting. For starters it’s worth checking out Gazaro, a brand based search engine that keeps an eye on product pricing to keep you up to date with the best prices. Another of these new wave search engines worth watching is Evri, not new but an early semantic search engine.
9. Pervasive Web
Very much linked to Web 3.0, it’s almost here and when it does go mainstream, the pervasive web is going to make a pretty huge splash in the same way Twitter did at the beginning of this year. We’re keen on Ztamp:s, part of the Nabaztag’s growing line of accessories. They can get your umbrella to tell you the weather forecast or your coffee mug to read out the latest business news! Sound too futuristic to be true? You can check out Ztamp:s and the rest of the accessory range on Ztore.
It doesn’t always have to be about an all singing, all dancing, cutting edge website (of course we love those too), but to quote Einstein “simplicity is the ultimate complexity”. Some of the most successful things online have been born out of the simplest ideas – just think about Google and Twitter! A great site we’ve come across recently is Domai.nr – really useful in a world where it is increasingly difficult to find the perfect domain name.
Senior Vice President,
Global Practice Leader – Digital
Bluhalo Ltd – Part of the GyroHSR Network