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20 Online Trends To Watch In 2011

I recently got sent an excellent publication by JWT with their 100 things to watch in 2011. JWT has an excellent pedigree of making great predictions for future technology and trends, so I have selected what I think are the top 20 online/Internet trends that are related to digital marketing. You can see the full list of all 100 here. Enjoy.



This could be the way that a concrete ROI finally comes to social media. With a few brands currently selling via Facebook Storefronts, it’s looking likely to see a huge boom as we approach a year of F-Commerce.


Social Networking Surveillance

It’s no secret that UK security agencies already use the myriad of information on Facebook to monitor criminal groups. The US is also moving to have social networking sites forced to comply with wiretap orders and Israel has used Facebook to catch women illegally avoiding Army service. There’s even a selection of social media monitoring tools that track what employees do after-hours on social networking sites. Remember: Think before you post!


CAPTCHA Advertising

Ahh, the hugely frustrating CAPTCHA image we’re all so used to. Typing in those random words on reCAPTCHA to prove we’ve got roundabout the same intelligence as a spambot. It looks likely start levering CAPTCHAs as a way of stopping people hitting the mute button on their ads. A little like writing lines at school? Microsoft, AOL, Toyota to name a few are already on-board.


Apps Grow Out Of Mobile

More and more of our desktop activities are being migrated onto the Internet. Web developers are applying the principles of mobile app culture; software that provides fast links to games, entertainment, news etc to desktop browsers and computers. There are already desktop app stores from both Mac and Google.


In Car Apps

Car manufacturers are already installing smartphone-linked in-car apps that allow drivers to check tyre-pressure, download music or (dangerously?) keep up to date with their Twitter. Personalised radio and phone/car app integration will become the standard in 2011.


Enhanced Display Advertising

The good old banner ad – it just won’t die. They’ll be a rise in banner ads that do more; showcasing live video, letting users “bookmark” ads for later viewing and direct gateway offers; linking credit cards on click for automatic discounts.


Children’s E-Books

Dynamic story books bridging the gap between gaming, education and reading are fast becoming a reality with traditional children’s publishers such as Random House and HarperCollins set to release many dynamic children’s e-books in 2011. This rise is likely to increase demand for colour e-book readers such as teh iPad and Nook Colour.


Digital Downtime

As a large chunk of our life, especially work revolves around technology. Expect to see more of an emphasis on digital downtime; studies showing the benefits of taking time away from the multi-screen environment are encouraging people to de-tech for hours or days at a time.


Indoor Mapping Technology

Google have done a great job mapping our world, streets, the sea; even the moon and Mars – but very little has been done in the way of indoor mapping. Companies such as FastMall are tackling this problem, providing indoor maps to guide people around shopping malls, convention centres, airports and the like. Combined with other technologies, indoor mapping offers a great new vector for real-time marketing.


E-Book Sharing

E-Books are getting shareable with Kindle books being allowed to be loaned for 14 days and e-book libraries starting to emerge, even lending out e-book readers. A step toward free and instantly accessible information.


Electronic Profiling

If you haven’t seen it before, this is the mind-reading vending machine, in Japan. By extrapolating facial characteristics into demographic information it can predict your beverage of choice with 75% accuracy. Facial recognition billboards in Japan can also identify gender with an 85-90% accuracy, changing the message accordingly.


Facebook Alternatives

Even with over half a billion people using it, there is life outside of Facebook. Social networkers will be exploring more niche communities or alternatives that offer greater exclusivity or privacy. There’s pretty of options already out there; Appleseed, OneSocialWeb, Diaspora,, TheFridge, CollegeOnly) including a host of DIY networks.


Group Manipulated Pricing

Group buying for the consumer was pretty much unheard pre-2010, but brought into spotlight by Google moving to buy Groupon. As the idea matures, we’ll see more inventive variations, with real-time price dropping as more people opt-in.


Mobile Health

With 500million people to be using mobile health apps by 2015 and a market valued at $60 billion, watch for mobile health apps that change the way patients and doctors interact and share data. Apps can also help patients monitor their own vitals, blood pressure, glucose levels, etc and provide an accurate up-to-date history when needed.


Micro Business

With so many fast and easy platforms (such as Zilok, NeighbourGoods, skyara) almost anyone can turn a possession or skill into an instant business. We’ll see more niche markets and businesses taking off as the level for entry decreases.


Near Field Communications

Near Field Communication (or NFC) is likely to become the next thing the phone salesperson is trying to sell you. With the ability to exchange data within 4 inches, it will allow devices to act as mobile wallets, tickets, check-ins, send data to printers and pick up information. Hopefully it won’t allow hackers to walk down the street collecting such information.


Personal Interest Prediction

New ways to chart who likes what and make accurate predictions on what else will interest the individual are becoming big business. Both Hunch and Gravity have taken a good stab about it with Hunch’s “taste graphs”, which are powered by seeing what your friends on Twitter and Facebook like and Gravity’s “interest graphs”. Could this be a new way to find information online, rather than searching?


Mainstream Social Browsers

Web browsing will become both a more personal experience as social media tools become ingrained within major web browsers. This change will give smaller contenders such as RockMelt and Flock a head-start, helping connect people based on similar news and topics searched on, allowing quicker linking of web material to social media.


Tap To Pay

The digital wallet has already taken off in some parts of Asia and Europe. Watch for more transit systems, shops, vending machines and Internet connected devices giving support for NFC phones. Paying back someone for that pint has never been easier – just bump phones, no excuses now.


Channel: YouTube

YouTube has always been a monolith of the web, but it’s recent change in strategy from user-generated content to much more premium content will really set roots in 2011. YouTube will become a primary destination as a live TV channel, streaming events, TV Shows and MOvies with real-time user interaction. YouTube is rumoured to be interested in acquiring web video production company Next New Networks, which shows an interest in showcasing original content.

Technological Dependencies

It’s obvious there’s a lot of exciting new tech coming in 2011. I think the most interesting advancements are going to come has some of the technological dependencies are resolved. So for instance, the digital wallet is an exciting prospect for online retailers, but heavily depends on NFC technology becoming widespread.

With recent grumbles on personal privacy issues with sites like Facebook, it will also be interesting to see if privacy concerns slow down any of this growth. Afterall, a lot of these technologies that cost a huge amount to implement are “free” to users, but only in the financial sense. What your actually trading is your data; your location, your personal interests, your shopping habits, browsing habits and a myriad of other information that marketers are desperate to get their hands on. Still, nobody complains about the Tesco’s clubcard?


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  • CHEETHAMBELLJWT / 6 years ago

    Your 20 Online Trends To Watch In 2011 seem to have almost all come true. Great post.

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