In spite of the recession, 2011 is looking to be a bustling year for digital and online media. Whilst marketing budgets are shrinking across the board, it has been a pleasure to witness trends of growing digital expenditure becoming very evident in the latter part of 2010. And with business getting more competitive now than when the economy is cushy, companies and brands are readily embracing smart online strategies, reaping benefits in most endeavours.
Companies are opening up to the prospect of including a plan of sorts for social media, however it is crucial to base this on a comprehensive research. Says Anthony Otte (Creative Director), "You can't just take a birdshot approach to social media or online media as a whole. Like any marketing communication, it needs to be backed by purpose, clever design and smart objectives in order to succeed. This seems obvious, but it is often the case that very little time is afforded to digital strategy."
In the latter part of 2010, cheeky articles have been appearing which shrug off the dreary recession morale affecting many other industries. Social Media Influence posted a confident "What Recession? UK online spend soars thanks to social media" article, based on the IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) report on the first half of 2010. Amy Kean, co-author of the report, commented on the IAB's blog that this report refers specifically to advertising expenditure online. "Just to be clear, the figures set out in the IAB/PwC study refer to advertising expenditure online, so no production or agency costs are included... this means that a lot of social spending - i.e. money spent on creative, budgets dedicated blogger outreach programmes, social media monitoring costs and so on - doesn't feature amongst the results." Kean emphasised: "That figure, I would imagine, is pretty damn big on its own."
And so we code our way into 2011, confident that social networks like Facebook and Twitter (to a growing extent in South Africa) will shape how brands represent themselves online this year as the digital revolution starts to further evolve. There are a couple of resolutions and trending forecasts out there as to what lies ahead in 2011. We like Dorian Sweet's outlook: 10 digital predictions for 2011. Last year was a transitional year for most of the industry and now the traction of these changes are likely to take hold on the cold hard surface of consumer engagement... Read it.
A couple of highlights that we will definitely be interested in watching out for: Groupon's arrival in South Africa and how that shapes e-commerce in the country; HTML 5 and whether the wonders are welcomed and loved long-term; and location-based platforms such as Facebook Places & Deals coming to South Africa.
We wait with bated breath for Google's next social endeavour (currently very hush hush) in trying to catch up to Facebook (their first attempt with Google Buzz left nothing but a humming sound of disappointment) and, of course, we have one paranoid eye always on the lookout for the abominable 'Facebook killer'.