Lunatics take over the asylum: horribly tardy 2011 interactivey predictions

Back in mid-December I sent out an email to some of my smarty-pants interactivey friends asking for their predictions about interactivey stuff in 2011. I was thinking I’d use whatever stuff I got from them to augment my predictions.

Aside from one almost immediate response, I got nothing. 

But, gradually, over the next couple of weeks, a few more emails did trickle in, and like the first one, they were chock full o’ thinking goodness. Knowing I still had time before I had to start procrastinating writing my post, I just kinda left the responses to mellow a bit in the ol’ email file. Meanwhile, I mentally outlined the post that I would never ultimately write, as it turns out. Huh.

‘Cause, screw it. Aside from all being smart as hell and generously sending me such thoughtful responses, every damn one of these people makes more money than me. And since someone has to not get paid for writing this stuff, why not let them have a turn at it?

The Large-Brained Big Picture CD (and… FIRST!)
2011 will be about the personal Internet in your hand via WiFi-enabled, addressable devices, e.g., pads and smartphones. Online shopping will increasingly shift to informed models within apps. As this trend accelerates, context and reward will be king.

The Super-Smart AI Nerdesse
To me the big story in 2010 was about distributed applications. Dropbox, Netflix, Remember The Milk, even plain old CNN. Users began to expect brands and especially digital products to extend from the web to the iPhone to the iPad in applications that not only delivered content to all three destinations, but in personalized systems that knew exactly who they were and offered them their own stuff across multiple mediums, seamlessly.

For 2011—and I’m crummy at this—I think that we’ll see more cross-talk between digital devices. Rather than simply emulating the same experience across multiple devices, brands and products will begin to take advantage of the unique strengths of each device, e.g., the phone’s contact list, the iPad’s GPS, the desktop’s giant canvas.

The clear winner entry for quantity, and, arguably, quality is from:
The Pulse of the Zeitgeist CD
I think “do not track” is inevitable given all the worries over privacy and Facebook, etc. The Gawker meltdown is a prime example of what drives people crazy. Even ordinary people are starting to get a bit freaked and the industry has yet to make a good case that these cookies actually “help” you avoid ads that aren’t right for you.

This also will make social networks even more prominent as a marketing space, as more people opt-in to those. My guess is you start to see Facebook hit the saturation point sometime late in 2011. Remember this happened to them early on: once 95% of college kids with a .edu address had Facebook pages, they couldn’t sign any more up, until they opened it up to everyone. That day will come for .com addresses.

The continued exponential growth of smartphones will make m-social even more prominent. Mobile users are twice as active on FB as regular online users, and as the apps get more sophisticated and more people get comfortable with the devices, more people will prefer them. This has obvious implications for advertisers, as few of those apps have display ad space built into them.

Location-based sharing (gowalla, etc.) will continue to grow, but we’re starting to already see signs of user fatigue. Longtime Foursquare users complain about getting checkins at Duane Reade, and talk about starting to “hide” people. Unless, like Foursquare is actively trying to do, more tangible rewards start to be introduced, interest in location sharing apps won’t skyrocket (a la Twitter).

I think “social search” and “social ecommerce” will begin to really emerge, as people begin to use tools that help them search their networks (or other networks) for answers to problems. Marketers will find ways to sell things through it, similar to Amazon’s “One Click” model. You’ll see more of this soon, I’m guessing.

The CMO at the Godzilla of Mobile Dev Shops
We think 2011 will be about app stores and mobile infrastructure for internal enterprise use. Building mobile apps for enterprise is not for the faint of heart; it’s like web app development on steroids multiplied by the amount of platforms you want to hit. Along with some others, we’re making a play to support the second-order infrastructure, i.e., access control, distribution, authentication and revision. (No CMO would be worthy of the title without a shameless plug—I love it! ed.) 

The Scary Smart Interactive Writer Person Who Uses Bad Words Sometimes
Hmm. I don’t know shit. But here’s some stuff that I think is really interesting that maybe you’re not paying attention to, since you are probably asking a bunch of gear-head, techno-geeks (Guilty as charged. ed.).

Shopping. Flash sales like Gilt/Swirl by Daily Candy/RueLaLa, combined with group discounts like Groupon, have introduced a new—AND THRILLING—dynamic into ecommerce. I think they will start to be more influential in the next year.

Content curation. So, this is not new, but the fact that it’s so much part of at least the design consumer mainstream is super cool: Pinterest and Polyvore and the many social bookmarking sites that skew to design.

MOBILE WEB + CHINA. This is a big duh, but next year there will be more users of the mobile web in China than the entire US population. This says a lot about 1) mobile and 2) the continually mind-blowing number of people in China. What are they doing? They are not on fucking Facebook. Because there is no Facebook. But we need to pay attention.