A strategic view on the shape of the digital market in 2012

Strategy DirectionThe digital market place is fascinating and the rapid growth and development within the industry never cease to amaze. In my role as Strategy Director, my new team and I spend a lot of time looking to the future, here are the key trends  I see shaping the marketplace over the next 12 months.

1. The true emergence of mobile

Mobile marketing has been growing slowly over the past five years, it’s only now we’re starting to witness the channel driving significant commercial value for non-operator businesses. Between 3.5% and 5% of all sales in the European online market are already generated purely via a mobile handset, and that excludes tablet devices. We have already witnessed massive growth in the number of orders generated in this space in the first 6 weeks of the year and we see 2012 as the turning point, especially considering the current chasm between actual time spent on mobile devices and real mobile advertising spend (See Mark Walsh‘s in Online Media Daily: ). In 2012 we predict that there will be significant shifts of advertising budget from online to mobile, and that a coherent m-commerce strategy will be essential for any e-commerce player by the end of 2012. Dependent on the country in the EU we will see between 10-15% of all eCommerce sales coming from a true mobile device (excl. tablets)

2. The creation of a local mobile commerce ecosystem

While mobile has gained significant recent traction with in-app commerce and sales via mobile optimised sites, local mobile commerce is still in the early stages of its development. The ecosystem is currently very fragmented and still lacks an end-to-end solution for delivery. 2012 is likely to see the formation of a more sustainable ecosystem in terms of measurability and commercialisation. Near Field Communication (NFC) solutions, such as the delivery of local promotions in an alert format or a voucher code to mobile devices, will be more widely adopted. Electronic wallets and mobile loyalty solutions will also be rolled out by market shaping retailers. This is a topic to watch and will not a be mass market experience in 2012 or 2013 for that matter. Eventually it will result in a seamless integrated shopping experience.

3. Results from big data and analytics

Transparency has become an industry standard, particularly when it comes to measuring success and value in the online ecosystem. The ongoing economic crisis has led to demands from business stakeholders for more intelligent insight from data. Online activity is developing a level of transparency across all aspects of the buying process, and multi-channel transparency is becoming increasingly commonplace. The intelligent use of data analytics, reduced complexity and pre-filtering of vast amounts of data will lead us into a new age of analytics driven decision making. Take a look at investment guru Vinod Khosla‘s interesting thoughts on this matter on Techcrunch: .

4. The Crunch Year for Social Platforms

Experts are already questioning the sustainability of the fragmentation of the social media space. There are hundreds of compelling platforms out there, but we question whether consumers will adapt to managing numerous social profiles and be willing to relinquish control of their social information within multiple networks. 2012 will be key for the future of the online social space… and advertisers will start to demand more clear value from their social media investments.

5. The Return of Value

On the topic of value, advertisers will increasingly look at the perceived value of purchases down to the finest detail such as lifetime value of customers generated by publishers. This could lead to the stabilisation and consolidation of pure discount-based business models down to those that offer the most long-term value. Advertisers will focus on targeted discounting, segmenting by product lines to gain a greater understanding of the value, cost and impact on profit margin.

Chris Hauth

Christian R. Hauth joined affilinet in late 2011 as the new international Director Business Development & Strategy. His main responsibilities are to drive affilinet’s strategy , explore M&A and strategic partnership opportunities, as well as to enlarge and strengthen affilinet’s international footprint.
Before joining affilinet Christian worked atTelefonica Germany as a Senior New Business & Innovation manager where he and his team helped Telefónica to develop a more agile set-up and were they worked on the launches of several online related business ideas. Christian started his career as a Senior Consultant in Munich and Boston (MA), at the international Telco&Media boutique Solon Management Consulting and also at AltmanVilandrie.Follow Chris onTwitter and Tumbr

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