Utility, Mobility, Fluidity: 2013 Digital Forecast
We’re all doing it: working on our laptop or desktop, but navigating, shopping and socializing on our phones or tablets. The mobile web is the same Internet we’ve come to know and love, but we’re finding radically different ways to use it. Sometimes our behaviour shapes the medium, and sometimes the medium changes us.
What does this mean for digital strategy in 2013?
Get ready to evaluate how your user engages with your campaigns, sites and apps. Your digital plans must unfold with a detailed assessment of how and where users access your site, what they do when they get there, and what real world goals they’re trying to accomplish.
Marketers who embrace this new utility, mobility and fluidity will build sites, tools and campaigns that don’t get in the way. The goal: make it easier for people to fulfill small daily tasks and they will reward you with their loyalty.
With this in mind, four tactics to ground your digital strategy in the coming year:
1. Local + Mobile
Web users are on the move. They’re using their smartphones to search for everything from hardware to movie times. We’re going to see a shift toward extremely local content and online incentives that drive to local stores. Click-to-call will take off, increasing the number of local phone queries to businesses. By encouraging users to visit their local stores, the convenience of local, accessible mobile data may even revive small, main street business.
2. Across Channels + Devices
Oh the platforms and channels! Get ready to track and optimize for conversions across multiple channels – social, search, display, affiliate – and between devices. The industry is quickly moving away from last click attribution, acknowledging that users often browse on one device and channel, then convert later via a completely different path.
Analytics companies are working feverishly to keep up, devising new ways for marketers to track this data easily and with more precision. Engage this feedback loop and you will get better at fine tuning campaigns, featuring the right products and optimizing the conversion path on websites.
3. Mobile First
For mobile, 2012 is going to look like 1997 in web design years by the time 2013 is over. Get ready for mobile interfaces to take the great leap forward, becoming imminently more beautiful, thumbable, shoppable. By now, we should all be using responsive design, which renders a site according to which device it is viewed on. Not only will responsive be the norm, it will be essential. Maybe it’s hasty to say “design first for mobile”… but maybe not. According to Google, in 2013 more users will be accessing the web on their mobile devices than on laptops.
4. Radical Usability
Sites that simplify will earn the conversion. Over the last decade, we got carried away building sites with all kinds of text, buttons, bells and whistles… In fact, a lot of the junk we put on any given page is not only unnecessary, but a detriment to the user experience. The advent of simplified, mobile usability will make users even more impatient with sites that make them work to find what they need. Start now: ask yourself what is necessary on a page for users to accomplish goals. Strip away or deprioritize everything else.
Brave, New Mobile World
Looking to 2013, we’re seeing a lot more fluidity in the way people engage online. Not only are users embracing mobile, they are relying on the web to help them navigate the real world on a truly local scale. All of us – because let’s face it, we’re the same people we’re marketing to – are becoming a lot more discerning about the quality of our experience online. Mobile users’ divided attention spans, paired with the shift to thumbable interfaces, are driving a revolution in the way we design, sell, track and follow up. Be ready.