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Econsultancy has published it’s Future Trends report, a 147 page deck of inspiration and innovation – smartly put together by New Media Age columnist and digital media consultant Neil Perkin.  Members can access the report here, but here’s our speed summary.  Top, top-line – Three big digital trends and opportunities are explored: Social, Mobile, Data.  And it’s exciting stuff, with some great quotes from Zuckerberg and Schmidt, and as the presentation concludes “The Key to Happiness is Excitement for the Future”.

Key Digital Trends & Opportunities

1. Social

  • We will get past the endless babble about social media platforms, and more companies will begin embedding it into practices, strategies and workflows
  • The true opportunity for social is INNOVATION (the commercialisation of principles or ideas), not communication. The Eureka Myth – the myth of the lone-creative genius with a spark of sudden inspiration.  The great driver of innovation has been the historic increase in connectivity between us that creates infinite possibilities for ideas to be swapped. It is the collision of these half-ideas, whether our own or from others, that enables breakthroughs to happen. Rather than being a single thing, ideas are networks, or new configurations (Where Good Ideas Come From – Steve Johnson). Ability to innovate a consequence of two things – competencies (things you can do) and connections (people you know)

  • The rise of talent networks: An influx of highly talented individuals into the market equipped with the ready means to turn that talent into real value. The need for organisations to be far more flexible with structures / overheads. The opportunity for organisations to work in a new way is properly viable. Networks are highly efficient: broad talent base, new thinking, flexible costs.  http://www.cocollective.com/ 4 senior execs from JWT, BBH, Wolff Olins – business model of co-creation, collaboration and co-venturing small, agile organisational hub that works with and draws from a list of 40 agencies, businesses and consultancies that are specialists in particular services a ‘brand studio’, like a movie studio – pulls in talent to work on specific projects, facilitates a good result, and provides the environment and the infrastructure for effective collaboration
  • The other big opportunity for social is not communication either – it’s UTILITY – and that means social apps
    • Apps for Social Curation – MTV Music Meter App – Top 100 Artists by Buzz
    • Apps Combining Professional Curation With Social Curation (http://givemesomethingtoread.com/)
    • Apps for Social Graph Curation – Flipboard
    • Apps fo Social Recommendations (Social Recommender Apps): Not just ratings, reviews…MOMBO – A movie recommendation service built on top of twitter Moving beyond ratings/reviews to sentiment analysis driven recommendation
    • “Content as a Service” Apps – French Connection YouTique,
    • Social as a Service Apps – Levi’s Friend’s Store
    • Social Commerce Apps (Asos Facebook App – 40,000 products across 850 brands • 1500 new products added every week)
    • Social Marketplaces – ASOS Marketplace – ―a cross between eBay and street blogs which launched in 2010, where individual sellers can trade their garments
    • Social Buying Apps – Private Sales Clubs – Gilt Groupe – An invitation-only retail site that specializes in limited-time sales of fashion and luxury brands at prices up to 70% off retail. More than 2 million members Revenue in 2010 topping $500m
  • Social Utility: “Communities already exist. Instead, think about how you can help that community do what it wants to do” Mark Zuckerberg
  • More business models focused around social utility; customer collaboration and facilitation
    • Facilitated group buying – Groupon – One of the fastest growing digital businesses ever, Social Commerce + group buying, Google offered $6Bn
    • Google Offers: Google Offers ―a new product to help potential customers and clientele find great deals in their area through a daily email. Users receive an e-mail with a local deal of the day. They then have the opportunity to buy that deal within a specific time limit. Once enough people have made the purchase, the Google Offer is triggered
    • Facebook Deals – Location + collaboration + CRM. Good for proximity marketing. Similar to Foursquare promotions. But Facebook already has the network – 200m+. Reward / privacy trade off
    • Social Discovery increasingly important: Facilitated by integrated technologies like Facebook Connect
  • A third opportunity in social is SOCIAL GAMING
    • Game Driven business models.  Gamification – The most overhyped word of the moment?  Gaming is already truly emersive, ubiquitous, shared, social:
    • Continued Growth of Social Gaming & Virtual Goods 12 million users, $1 Billion of revenue. Cataclysm made more money in 24hrs than the top 10 box office US films made the same weekend combined
    • Zynga social gaming co. has 235m active users/month vs Xbox (20m total, WOW 11.5m).  Estimated revenue $450m in 2010.  Zynga’s Farmville is so popular more virtual tractors sold everyday in Farmville than real tractors sold in the US every year.  Cityville acquired 22m active users in 11 days Less than one month to overtake Farmville
  • Communication may be a fourth opportunity in social media – but it will requires a mindshift:  Marketing on the Social Web: If the web is a mass of conversations, then get talked about. Make it as easy as possible for your fans to find it and spread the word
    • Develop strategies to turn followers into advocates.  Marketing spend generates traffic -> Some of that traffic sticks -> Users are inspired and enabled to talk about your product ->They spread the message around the network (Seth Godin: Flipping the Funnel)
    • Use social to ignite conversation and drive search: Social Launches: Ford revealed its 2011 Explorer on Facebook. The first time a major car company has forgone an auto show for a new car reveal. The day the car was revealed online, searches for Explorer more than doubled. Compared to a typical double-digit increase seen after a Super Bowl ad.

2. Mobile

  • “The Mobile web is growing 8x faster than the desktop web at its same moment in time. Currently 90% of mobile traffic is voice. By 2015 that will be 15%”Eric Schmidt
  • As I think about Google’s strategic initiatives in 2011, I realize they’re all about mobile.” Eric Schmidt
  • Mobile Internet traffic will overtake desktop by 2014 (Morgan Stanley)
  • The big opportunity in Mobile is UTILITY and that means Mobile Apps
    • BA Mobile Boarding Card/Nike Training Club =  Train like an athlete – access to training videos and a personalized training programme. Visit NikeWomen.com, create a mini avatar, customize a workout and invite friends for some competition.
    • Amazon price comparison app. Allows users to quickly compare in- store prices with the prices of by snapping a photo, scanning a barcode, or speaking or typing in the name of a product. If said product is cheaper, users can then purchase the item for delivery in a single click.
    • Augmented Reality: Over-hyped in the short-term, disruptive in the longterm Overlaying the real world with virtual information – utility and gaming will make the difference (Layar Augmented Reality App. An augmented reality browser that shows you the things you can‘t see. Information laid over live onto your camera‘s view.Syncs with location and social apps)
    • Utility Driven Augmented Reality Apps – Word Lens – Instantly translates printed words from one language to another using the video camera on your iPhone.
  • A second big opportunity in mobile is mobile commerce (m-commerce): NFC O2 and Orange both intend for their Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled handsets to become ‘cashless wallets’
    • Proximity marketing – location driven offers.  Offers access to exclusive digital content but only when users can prove their whereabouts via a location-based service like Facebook Places or Foursquare. As soon as they check in at a McCafé, they will be given the option to download their gift – be it an animation, offer, short film or piece of music. (See also Starbucks Wifi – access to WSJ/NYT)
  • Another big opportunity in mobile is a mashup with social:  There are more than 200 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices. These are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users. There are more than 200 mobile operators in 60 countries working to deploy and promote Facebook mobile products
    • Social Augmented Reality – Yelp, review overlay
    • Presents interesting opportunities for marketing – Google Goggles

3. Data

  • The Opportunity: Turning Data Into Wisdom – The DIKW Model  Data – Information – Knowledge – Wisdom
  • “Between the dawn of civilisation and 2003, five exabytes of information were created. In the last two days, five exabytes of information have been created, and that rate is accelerating” Eric Schmidt
  • “The ability to take data – to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it – that’s going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades…Because now we really do have essentially free and ubiquitous data. So the complimentary scarce factor is the ability to understand that data and extract value from it.” Hal Varian, Google
  • The opportunity is in DATA CURATION – Data As Content: The more data that’s available in the world, the more essential it is for somebody to make sense of it
  • Helping their audience to navigate and make sense of data – there’s not just more content but exponentially more. Expectation of any piece of content, anytime, anywhere. Owners enabling disaggregation and re-aggregation of their own content. Challenge to create interesting data-driven content.
  • Using data to deliver better user experience ―A visual record of what people are currently finding interesting on guardian.co.uk at the moment (Guardian Zeitgeist)
  • Forecasting: Twitter can accurately predict future box-office takings of big release films (Hewlett Packard study studied 3 million tweets about 25 movies last year. Taking account of the rate at which messages were posted about it could predict the box office takings before the film opened. Sentiment analysis on the content of messages could similarly foresee the ongoing degree of success or failure. Both with a high degree of accuracy)
    • Can Tweets Predict The Stock Market? (Indiana University Bloomington studied 9.8 million tweets from 2.7 million tweeters. Measuring the mood of the ‘twitterverse’ on a given day can foretell the direction of changes to the Dow Jones Industrial Average three days later with an accuracy of 86.7 %)
    • Social media participation and activity as a predictor of election results. The number of Facebook fans turned out to be a remarkably good predictor of the results in the US Mid-term elections. Facebook tracked 98 of the most hotly contested House races, as decided by leading political observers, and 74% of the candidates with the most Facebook fans won their races. Just over 82% of the 34 Senate races were won by the candidate with more Facebook fans