The way the networked world is moving.
As an internet marketing manager, it’s always interesting to watch the latest industry trends and tendencies. The following are just some of the hot topics out there that should be paid close attention to in the coming months:
– Social Media combined with PPC – Since most of the major social networks are free to the consumer, advertising is becoming very prominent on such sites. While standard banner ads have long been present on these sites, social networks are now expanding to include the very popular pay-per-click model. This will benefit both the sites as well as the advertisers in providing a more scalable and flexible model. This tendency will only continue and maybe eventually transform into the Pay-Per-Play model (described below).
– Widgets; scripts; addons; plugins: for most popular profile-sites – Thanks to new web-technologies like RSS, XML and others becoming more mainstream, cool and quite convenient applications have popped up to help arrange, manage, combine, and enrich the experience with popular websites and online services. This is also helping extend brands beyond a site visit by having sponsored applications that are persistent on the consumer’s computer.
– User-generated search engines; user-generated portals – No algorithms, just users, i.e. you and me, who decide and vote what’s hot and what’s not – what is more relevant for each particular search query. Same with portals, wiki-sites are the hallmarks of this movement and more are popping up on a daily basis.
– Free internet-television; free VOIP, free Internet messaging, free video conferencing: Is Internet moving to the ”free” direction again? I hope so! These are probably the most expensive technologies on the Web and with the rise and acceptance of online advertising, it’s possible to keep such services free while still making some money in the process.
– Combining profiles from all popular sites and managing them from one place: IMs, social networks: Why share just bookmarks or links? Share videos, photos, music, ideas, etc. – all from one place again. Sharing sites are becoming more popular and useful these days in finding something really interesting in any field online.
– Rating and tagging virtually anything: This is another phenomenon being driven by the User Generated Content movement. Sites like Digg and Technorati provide consumers with a quick way to get the latest news and for the vox populi to determine what should be talked about or not. Under the right circumstances, this can be a very powerful tool for an internet marketer.
– Connecting mobile technologies with World Wide Web in all aspects: WAP, .mobi domains, mobile optimization, etc. As the rise of smartphones like the iPhone have demonstrated, the Web is moving towards mobile phones with the future of the Internet in our hands, literally! There will soon be a virtual blur between what you do on your computer vs. what you can do on your phone. This includes not only business road warriors but also teenagers wanting to consolidate all of their communication into a single device.
– Targeted & smarter search results based on user preferences, search history, previous clicks, returning visits and former buys: Predictive technology is enabling site to dictate to us what we are actually looking for without us having to bother actually searching for it.
– Pay-per-play or pay-per-action: This is much better and more effective than PPC in that advertisers pay only if someone actually signups with them. The click fraud problem is solved, and generally it’s a way better and more honest way of marketing for search engines, popular portals and sites.
– Automation services: Passwords that are generated every 20 seconds with your Ã¢â‚¬Ëœmatching’ widget; form-fillers and form generators; virtual representatives; automated reservations for flights and hotels;
– Pre-made commercials; articles; resumes; business cards; websites; CMS-s; scripts; templates that anyone can buy and use.
– Domains: IDN: Internationalized domain names: Internet segmentation by languages; unlimited-domain hosting; new TLDs; The Internet is growing really fast and all the above is needed in order to keep it a huge open space for everyone. Domains are virtual real-estate except that unlike its more earthly counterpart, they are making more ”land” on the Web. Some people think that IDNs will break the Internet, but if you think about it there is no danger for that as people who don’t speak English would just use their own languages to find domains/sites on the Internet. IDNs will just enrich the user-experience on the Web.
Oh, and one more tendency: Google is buying out virtually everything on the web. But don’t worry, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Internet is too big, even for Google.
Generally, these trends are all about monetizing on what already exists and very popular by:
– Making them better/cheaper/niche targeted;
– Combining all or managing all from one place;
– Mixing 2 or more existing popular sites/technologies into a new one (called mash-ups);
– Creating useful add-ons, like widgets
And in some cases something completely new is created but that is usually linked to a new technology. We should always keep up with new arising technologies in order to succeed.
These are just a few examples of how you can explore new marketing channels, increase sales and drive more business to your little corner of the world. Good luck in conquering the World Wide Web!
Director, Online Marketing
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