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Digital boffins tip more fun and games for 2012

This time of year always prompts us to look back on the 12 months that was – and do a spot of crystal ball gazing.

Colmar Brunton and global partner Millward Brown’s Futures Group have peered into the digital tea-leaves to identify some emerging trends for next year. Among their predictions – gamification, “virtual togetherness” and real-time online decision-making will be the big hitters of 2012, changing the way marketers interact with consumers via digital channels.

Brands become more playful

Gamification is a simple idea: engage people by applying game mechanics to non-game situations. For example; next year Dad could unlock his Super Dad achievement for purchasing Pampers five weeks in a row, earning himself a ten percent discount reward. Or he could get 50 points each time he and his friends buy Special K in the same week, and level to Master Environmentalist for reducing his car’s weekly mileage and refuelling with BP.

Virtual togetherness

Social media technologies that let people interact with television programs will explode in 2012. This will see TV becoming an even bigger echo-chamber for interaction and engagement. Throw in Twitter, a backstage blog, a handful of hash-tags and an interactive app and TV will be on social steroids. Social media will allow users to interact with TV shows in innovative ways and TV producers will use this data for creative inspiration.

Services such as Bluefin Labs and GetGlue indicate traditional TV ratings may be augmented by “social ratings” as advertisers will no doubt be keen to understand how well a show is travelling beyond the TV audience.

Online advertising: real-time decision making

2012 will see increased demand for real-time brand and creative-based campaign insight, fueling the emergence of intelligent automated decision-making processes for campaign optimisation which are a significant improvement on current click-based systems. This will be the year when this impact is felt across the industry. Media buyers will invest heavily in their demand-side platforms and become accustomed to responding to real-time analytics.

Industry players such as market researchers and creative agencies are rising to the challenge and creating solutions that provide real-time ad evaluation and creative recalibration. Successful players will be those who learn to merge real-time data from media plans with analytics and creative evaluation to optimise online advertising.

Wide spread adoption of the mobile wallet

Many of us take our phones everywhere we go, much like our wallet.  So it makes sense to combine them.  One less thing to lose!  The rise of mobile payment systems is one of many indicators the mobile phone will become the hub of our lives.  Not only is it a social enabler, bringing us texts, calls, emails and Facebook, it enables practicality. In a few years we’ll be using phones as identification, license, passport, office pass, boarding pass and as keys to our cars and homes.  God help us when we lose it.

Other predictions include the continuing rise of online video, viewed on over-converging platforms, from mobiles to tablets to old fashioned television.  And expect more mobile marketing – using the data and movements of consumers for target marketing. For more crystal ball gazing click here.

This story originally appeared on StopPress.