11.17.2009

Top 7 Online Trends Moving Into 2010 | TECH / CONSUMER INSIGHTS



Our good friend, writer, blogger, Colleen Quill, did a '5 Questions with Zandl Group' last week, covering our blog, online trends, our new Brooklyn office and neighborhood, and more... Check it at Ramblings of the BK GrrlGenius. In the interview, we listed out a few of our favorite online trends of the moment, which inspired a more extensive rundown of cool new trends we've seen brewing on the ever changing world-wide-webscape:

7 ONLINE TRENDS MOVING INTO 2010:

1. Real-Time:
With new platforms like Google Wave, and growing popularity in networked gaming systems like Wii and XBox, there's a growing shift in real-time interactivity online. Also, sites and services like Twitter and Facebook allow users to be connected and share information instantly. If something happens in the news (i.e. Michael Jackson's death), many users are turning first to Twitter & FB to get the most real-time info, as opposed to news sites. (Also check out the newly updated Google Translator with real-time translation...watch it translate and configure sentence structure as you type! It's genius!) Moving forward into 2010, companies will need to start thinking more about how to engage their consumers in a real-time environment and what kind of actual dialogue can they have with consumers.

2. Augmented Reality:
One of our favorite tech trends right now, Augmented Reality is the overlay of information or other elements (photos) onto a real-time environment. Yelp was one of the first iPhone apps to get big notice for using AR...We really see this as the start of something huge (with major marketing implications to follow, going way beyond simple phone apps).  Burger King (Crispin Porter + Bogusky) toyed with the technology in a promotion last month (Creativity Online: Burger King: BK Dollar Menu Banner).

3. Mobile Web:
It won't be long before people are leaving their laptops behind (and even more mobile netbooks and tablets), substituting in their highly functional phones and other web-equipped mobile devices. Current products' evolved web browsers (i.e. iPhone and DROID phones) do a much better job at replicating the web navigation experience than traditional smartphones (Blackberry, Treo) did just a couple years back.  And iPhones are just the start of it.  We'll be seeing a heck of a lot more technological offerings moving into the next decade.  Aside from RAM-heavy tasks like graphics & video programs, more people will let their computers sleep as they do their daily tasks via handheld devices.  Companies should already be thinking on these terms.  We've already seen a shift of interest away from complex flash-heavy, frilly websites that aren't entirely compatible with smaller web-enabled devices.  Less is more when it comes to web-architecture these days.  So, our advice to big companies: Keep it simple & easy.  Let the information drive your sites, not a fancy, 'tricked out' interface.

4. Aggregators:
Web aggregators like Google Reader and Google News are making for a fine-tuned, personal daily online sweep. Other services like OpenID and OpenSocial are allowing users to combine several of their favorite sites and web services into one, with one user name/password...bringing further personalization to their online world.  This trend is also important to note for advertisers' consideration, as many aggregators bypass the actual sites (with RSS feeds, etc.).  Ads visible on a specific site may go unseen if readers are gathering information via hubs like Google Reader.

5. YouTube as a Search Engine:
YouTube has been adopted by many as a primary search engine (#2 in number of searches after Google, replacing Yahoo). Tweens, teens and young adults alike are going to YouTube for informational searches (i.e. 'how to' and demo videos, news and current events, video content about celebrities, athletes, politicians) before they go to Google.

6. TV, Movies, News Online:
TV buffs are trading out their cable services for online offerings as more media becomes available, including HD content via Hulu, YouTube (see above) & Netflix. YouTube announced this week that they'll be introducing 1080p HD quality streams. Viewers can access Netflix's library with their 'Watch Instantly' feature via Xbox and several other devices. AppleTV (and similar devices) also give the ability to get HD content from various points online onto their big screen TVs. And as viewers are tuning in less to the conventional 'tube' and tuning in more to online video content, advertisers must change their approach. (The New York Times had a great article last week on online ads, and the inevitable departure from television advertising: NY Times: Online Ads Are Booming, if They're Attached to a Video)

Site analytics and visitor statistics will be the the Nielson Ratings of the 2010s, determining a new system of competitive ad pricing. Companies and advertisers will also utilize this transition to better target and reach specific demographics with more effective, customized messaging.

7. Twitter Culture:
Everyone's thinking in headlines these days. There's less up-front emphasis on content or details. With an extreme amount of information pouring in constantly (I have over 1000 unread items in my Google Reader stream right now...and I check it daily), users have gotten used to (and quite skilled at) skimming content for headlines that pop out at them. Even Twitter's 140-character limit is sometimes a little too long-winded for today's high-traffic information flow online.  Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how this affects the way people think, their attention spans, and ability to retain (or not retain) information. Marketers will likely have to adjust traditional techniques moving into the new decade, ruled by a quickly evolving population of digital natives.
We can't even fathom what's to come within the next 10 years.  Even as we write out this list, we're quite conscious of how much of what we're seeing now will be quickly outdated...In tech, progress comes faster than you can blink.  Let's not forget where we were at the turn of this past decade... In 2000, cell phones were barely a household staple, high speed internet was reserved mainly for businesses and schools, Friendster wouldn't be introduced for another 2+ years, and most people had never heard of TIVO or DVRs.  And HDTV?  A complete fantasy.

Unfazed by the quick turnaround and pace of technology, the new generation of digital natives are no longer going to be asking, 'How did they do that?' but instead, 'What can be done with it?'

We're really looking forward to what's to come (here at Zandl, we're anxiously waiting for a Shazam-like app for images/faces -- hint hint, developers).  And as far as advertisers go, they'll just have to get used to keeping up with a quickly evolving cultural landscape, with ever changing technologies and services that get adopted by the masses within a millisecond and dropped in double speed.

-jmd

Zandl Group
Consumer Insights | Marketing | Trends

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