The digital trends of 2013

Next year will bring a period of change and consolidation in the digital sector, says Rob Mathieson, MD of North East-based web agency AYO Digital

As we approach the turn of the year, here's what I believe 2013 will bring to the digital world.

In terms of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), 2013 will see the acquisition of specialist search businesses by large advertising and marketing companies allowing for market consolidation and a more holistic marketplace.

Market comparison firms (you know who you are) are most likely to react badly to Google’s introduction of comparison tools and this could lead to a war not dissimilar to that of Twitter vs. Instagram.

Due to arrival of Windows 8 and Windows phone 8 onto mobile platforms, SEO and PPC firms should, and probably will, extend their reach to other search engines such as Microsoft Bing and show huge profit increases from this.

2013 will see all of the barriers surrounding social media crumble, everyone now finally ‘gets it’ this makes it a lot more sellable to many marketing businesses and will be much more instrumental in any business development plans moving forward.

It won’t surprise me if Microsoft launches its own social media network in 2013; however this would fail to make any impact in the market in the New Year. Social networks need years to come to fruition but if this does happen Google+ watch out!

With the popularity of Pinterest and Instagram and just the general speed of which consumers want to digest information (pictures are worth 1,000 words or in Instagram’s case $1billion), Facebook could fail to see expected level of growth for the first time. In fact, a significant number of people could disable their accounts and concentrate their efforts on Twitter instead. Again, this is due to the rapid information gathering nature of today’s consumer. With Twitter growing, advertising spend on Twitter will undoubtedly grow significantly.

If Facebook does see a drop in users it will make a big play for monetisation forced by investors for example paid stories. This will only irritate users more and could be severely detrimental to the social giant.

It would be wise for the online CV platform Linkedin to develop a standard CV template to become the first online CV format. Users could simply list their Linkedin ID’s when applying for jobs, networking and so on – this would see many more hits to Linkedin and therefore many additional users.

The Tablet wars will continue with several major players forced out of the industry because of the Google ecosystem. Google’s acquisition of Motorola will start to show benefits through many of its patents and integration of technologies.

Google and Apple could join forces to purchase Kodak’s patents, utilising the image-sharing world we now live in and basking in the profits that will bring.

In 2012, more people purchased a smartphone than a personal computer. In 2013, mobiles will become powerful enough that they can also double up as the home computer. Motorola tried this in 2011 with the Atrix, but there will be a big push toward this level of device flexibility, such devices are to appear at CeBIT 2013 in March.

Mobile devices will also see themselves becoming deeply integrated with vehicles, sharing data services and replacing internal GPS systems.

2013 will bring a fundamental shift to e-commerce, as large firms try to bring the experience to the shop floor. Interactive terminals will appear to assist shoppers find what they are looking for. National businesses will feel the impact, but niche e-commerce companies will start to look for bricks and mortar opportunities from the failing high street.

Possibly the easiest prediction of 2013 is online videos. Viral will continue to be a buzzword and video will continue its massive growth, customers will be confident again especially with Sony’s payment services and online video platform. We’ll see YouTube become integrated into more smart TV’s and with this its on-demand services will takes off.