We’re a third of the way into our decade now and you could be excused for calling it the tweens. The first decade of the 21st century brought some pretty amazing innovations in digital media, such as the iPhone and its attendant world of apps, social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and utility computing in the cloud starting with Amazon Web Service. Along the way we picked up gamification, collaborative consumption, geofencing, and mobile streaming (sometimes screaming) video. Not bad for a post-dot-com-bubble decade.
So far the tween years have been heavy on promise and light on delivery, but there is ample evidence of tectonic shifts to come in the world of media and technology. Here are 5 tremors that suggest the disruptive technologies that you can expect before 2020.
1. Guerrilla Content Marketing
A re-imagining of Facebook’s News Feed is putting an end to the free lunch. Facebook users will be interacting more with brands and business avatars while big data serves up consumer preferences at an individual level. At the same time Promoted Tweets have already begun popping up more frequently and looking less like ads. Consumers have proven that they will give up all kinds personal information to get communication tools, games and coupons. Computing power will allows one-to-one personalization that is economically feasible.
2. Pay-to-play Digital Media
This is setting the stage for paid, ad-free social networks to skyrocket in the last half of the decade. App.net recently moved onto the cloudto make room for all the users it expects. The monetization engine is storage space, which is becoming valuable digital real estate as more people create and store more of their lives online. Marketers will have to adapt, leaning more heavily on influence marketing and subtle content marketing to reach this divided market.
3. The Tsunami of Video Marketing
Things are getting much easier for visual learners. After the Will It Blend? video marketing series turned an old-fashioned manufacturer into a superstar, Google sat up and took notice. The search giant even updated its algorithm to give higher SERP rankings to sites with video. There are over 1 billion users on YouTube now with 4 billion views every single day. The places where people watch video is the big shift though. 4G cellular networks and high-speed wi-fi are converging to make file size irrelevant.
4. The Internet of Things
Sensors, transmitters and near field communication can be embedded into virtually anything. The Internet of Things would build a new world that is visual and language-independent. Flexible glass and more compact radio frequency identification tech will allow video to become incorporated onto labels, appliances and potentially anything that now uses signs with letters.
5. Transmedia Storytelling
The interconnectedness of all devices expands the possibly of total immersion within a story across media. We already have plenty of examples of toys that became movies that became games that turned back into toys, like Transformers and GI Joe. Businesses have begun to imitate films by creating games, apps and multimedia, like the NFL’s Rush Zone cartoon on Nickelodeon. The crowdfunding of the Veronica Mars movie was part publicity stunt and part gamification of the production to provide a more immersive experience.