There are a few clear, identifiable social media trends that have emerged in 2012 that any marketer can use to their advantage for the foreseeable future. Many are a direct result of the dramatic increase in mobile web usage, which is hard to ignore in the Post-PC world we’ve entered. Here’s a quick overview of some of the more obvious developments in the social media sphere as well as how they’ve affected current online marketing strategies.
Increasingly Sophisticated Mobile App Ads
Unless you’re a giant software outfit like Autodesk or, charging for an app is a tough sell. Many users expect mobile apps to be free and are willing to put up with ads if the app is worth it.
Getting the most out of mobile app advertisements depends heavily on targeting demographics properly. The rise of ad management platforms like Smaato prove that the mobile advertising model is maturing to the point where it’ll soon rival traditional web ads from platforms like AdWords.
The Rise of Gamification
Video games have come a long way since the early days of arcades and Atari cartridges. Considering their wide acceptance by a broad swath of the general public, it was only a matter of time before the gamification of the web occurred.
Essentially, gamification is the incorporation of video game principles and interaction into everyday web apps. Anyone can gamify their marketing efforts by offering their customers incentives and prizes via contests and promotions.
Geo-location and Mobile Marketing
Thanks to the widespread adoption of mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, location-based apps and advertising have finally come into their own. Location-dependent start-ups such as Foursquare have always shown a lot of promise, but they required some ramp-up time to really catch fire.
The geo-location skeptics are now being proven wrong as the returns to location-aware advertising continue to explode. GPS-based apps and marketing now impact everything from politics to real world socialising, and that’s a trend that can be expected to remain strong well beyond 2012.
Couponing Gets Serious
In the pantheon of IPO busts, Groupon will probably go down as one of the more egregious examples of hype obfuscating reality. However, that doesn’t mean that digital coupons aren’t a viable option for promotion.
Foursquare has already combined geo-location, targeted ads and coupons for the ultimate in personalised mobile coupon marketing. It’s safe to say that we’ll see others follow in their footsteps as mobile coupons that are aimed at niche audiences become more lucrative.
One need look no further than the Zagat-like review pages of Google+ and the integration of social feedback into search engine algorithms to see the writing on the wall.
While Google’s Page Rank algorithms are still king in the search market, the fact of the matter is that social cues are becoming more and more popular when it comes to ranking websites. The takeaway is obvious: if you want to drive traffic to your landing pages, your “social reputation” on Google+, Facebook and Twitter are crucial.
Staying on top of the constant changes in the social media arena is simultaneously exciting and overwhelming. Often, it helps to pause for a moment to reflect on the most recent developments and let them sink in fully.
The above trends are some of the most dominant in the world of social media and online marketing in 2012, though it remains to be seen how long they’ll be relevant. No matter what happens, staying flexible and fluid is the key to adapting to new paradigms.
Nicola Byrne writes for Calverton Finance, a UK company specialising in invoice factoring and payroll finance.