By now, we’re all (almost) used to the dizzying pace of change in the online world. But no sooner have we figured out Facebook than new platforms like Google+ and Pinterest are knocking at the door. Just when we finally feel like we have learned a thing or two about user experience and how to build a website, along comes the mobile web and responsive design.
The Millward Brown predictions point to some important emerging trends in the digital realm this year, many of which are highly relevant to international recruiters.
A few highlights:
The report predicts the emergence of integrated online platforms in China that combine social networks, micro-blogging services (notably Weibo), and other information platforms.
From December 2010 to the end of June 2011, Weibo usage has grown 200% [and it] is fast usurping other Social Network Sites as the place to broadcast…Weibo is fundamentally different from Twitter and offers multi-functions that essentially make it a simplified version of Social Network Sites. In China, where recreational time is a premium, this is critical.
Mobile goes social (and increasingly local)
The idea here is that the mobile web will be increasingly connected to social and location-based marketing platforms. “It’s obvious,” says Millward Brown, “that mobile, by nature, allows brands to talk to the right people at the right times in the right places, and brands will start to use the platform more effectively in the next year.”
They expect that this will lead to a greater number of mobile apps that combine geo-location and social networking, and that marketers will also increasingly target messaging in mobile campaigns by location and will pack in more features to promote social sharing.
This prediction reflects an increasing awareness among marketers of the importance of presenting highly targeted messages that reach the prospective customer at the right place and at the right time.
Google has carried out some fascinating research on this question as well via their Zero Moment of Truth project. A lot of the conversation in this space is currently geared to local services and consumer products marketing but savvy recruiters will find considerable inspiration and opportunities to innovate in this early research.
Sharing across borders
Social networks have established themselves as an integral part of today’s online experience. Tomorrow’s successful social networks will be those that allow users to overcome barriers that separate them from others; online traffic will be content-driven, not platform-defined.
This prediction reflects a ramping-up of consumer expectations in terms of how easily and effectively content and activity can be shared across websites and other digital channels, and certainly in relation to major social media platforms.
The implication here is two-fold. First, providing ready opportunities for your online users to share their experience is paramount. Second, marketers that provide truly compelling content or experiences can get a major competitive boost as users share that great content more widely and easily across the web.