5 Internet Marketing Predictions for 2012

When a new year begins, we business owners wonder what’s in store for the upcoming 12 months. After all, with technology moving faster than ever, who could have foreseen the takeover (then falter) of daily deal sites a year ago? Or the ability of Google to take some sites to their knees with Panda? Here’s hoping that 2012 brings nothing but good things to the world of Internet marketing.

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Please note: These are my own non-psychic predictions and not the opinions of Small Business Trends or anyone else!

Prediction 1: Daily Deals Will Shake Out. In 2011, everyone with an Internet connection created a daily deal site. And businesses were only too happy to sign up with all of them in an effort to get new clients. But as many retailers realized that they were losing money because they weren’t properly managing their daily deals, many backed off. In 2012, I predict that some smaller players will shut down, while bigger players like Groupon will gobble up some of the moderately successful daily deal sites. We’ll stop being bombarded by 20 emails a day of great deals.

I also predict that we’ll see some innovations in this area. ScoutMob is one such innovator. Many of its deals are 100 percent free, and you don’t have to buy a voucher in advance. Just take your phone with the deal to the location during the deal period, and they’ll give you the discount directly.

Prediction 2: Google + Will Pick Up Some Momentum…But Just a Little. I realize that I can say one of two things: Google + will be wildly successful in 2012 or it won’t. I’m just not seeing the excitement with the tool outside of my circle of people (social media early adopters), so I can’t see Google + hitting anywhere near Facebook’s 800 million users in 2012. I think we’re all still trying to figure out how to use this tool (at least I am). Google’s got to do a better job marketing Google + if it wants some of Facebook’s market share, and thus far, it’s done what it does with all its platforms: put it in beta to make it highly desirable, then sit back and wait for it to become popular.

Prediction 3: We’ll Almost Get There With Mobile. I’ve long been frustrated that Europeans and Asians are so much more phone savvy than we are. They use their phones to pay for things. Why can’t we? (I actually know the answer to this, and it’s a long one that involves banks’ stubbornness to let go of the fees that are involved). But I think we’re getting there, slowly. Google introduced its Wallet platform this year, but you probably haven’t used it.

Mobile coupons picked up the pace this year, as Computer Business Review reports, and it was the first time for me (out in California) that when I handed my phone to a cashier I didn’t get a blank stare. There’s hope yet. I think we’ll see wider adoption of mobile coupons and more effective apps in 2012.

Prediction 4: We’ll Really Latch on to Freemium. With more and more companies offering freemium models of their products (ones with decent but limited capabilities at no charge), I believe (and hope) we’ll see even more of this in 2012. My current favorites? MailChimp, BaseCamp and Evernote. The benefit to the businesses is that even when they offer a free version, a large number of users upgrade to a paid account. Could be a good idea for your business!

Prediction 5: We’ll Nail This Content Thing. We’re so tired of Google Panda and pandalized sites. We know how to create meaningful content. So I think in 2012, we business owners are going to step up the pace on content marketing. We’re going to drive traffic to our sites through articles that answer questions and solve problems. Competition will get fierce, but when it’s not, hey, it simply isn’t fun!

What are your predictions for this year?

Prediction Photo via Shutterstock


Susan Payton Susan Payton is the Communications Manager for the Small Business Trends Awards programs. She is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in content marketing, social media management and press releases. She is also the Founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners who want to generate their own PR.

27 Reactions
  1. You’re spot on with #1. I love daily deal sites, I’ve subscribed to a handful of them and bought more than a handful of deals but I get tired of having to sort through all the unrelated deals. What I really want is to only get notified of the deals I want.

  2. David - Web Marketing Talk

    I like your #3 prediction. With the rise of great technology and mobile devices, the aim for mobile marketing/advertising is very high. Web designers and developers aim for fast and efficient design and web page loading for mobile users. It’s definitely something worth investing in.

  3. You are a farsighted person. Competition will get fiercer and maybe common customers will benefit a lot from it. E-coupon is becoming a trend and the traditional coupon sites like RetailMeNot,Groupon or CouponSnapshot, etc have to turn to advanced technology for help. And at the same time, they will offer more satisfying services to hence their visitors. The Google won’t stop its step and retailers with lower-level services will Shake Out.The market belongs to farsighted retailers.

  4. Susan: Interesting predictions. Here are my $0.02:

    1. We will see more personalized daily deals and we as a customers will be able to crowdsourcing the deals.

    2. Google+ will be more integrated in your daily life. I use the +1 button as bookmarking service. I have yet to come up how to use it on a daily basis.

    3. I attended a conference called the Mobile Revolution on November 24 in Gothenburg. I will send you some information about future trends in this field.

    4. My freemium example is Flickr. I reached 200 photos in my album and then bought a pro account. I have done this since 2009. Spotify music service is another popular freemium example. You get hooked on it and want more features. (I am not a Spotify premium user…yet.)

    5. Content is king, context is queen! 😉 (Gary Vaynerchuck) Where could I get a simple explanation on the Panda thing? Is Google’s Pagerank still valid?

  5. Great predictions! But I don’t think Google+ could go further as it just motivated Facebook to become better and better!

  6. Matt: Thanks for the link. I will check it out! 🙂

  7. Great article, Susan. You are right about daily deals. They don’t promise much. Groupon might be great, but I think more so in the US than UK. As for Google+, what can I say? I am already up to my eyeballs with google this and that for driving traffic. Paying with mobile phones? That’s a great thought and something for the techies to think about.

  8. Thanks for all your comments. We shall see if any or all of my predictions come true!

  9. What about social media marketing? I predict it will grow over the next year as it’s the one place where small businesses are able to compete head to head with the big corporations – because it’s free. Well it’s not actually free as it’s so time consuming and time is money. So my other predication is that companies like Magicbuz that do SocioViral marketing unprofessionally will come to the forefront. A small business can grow to a medium size company with the help of professional conversationalists who are able to market a business to millions of people all over the internet and reach those people at a personal level.

  10. @Trudy–
    You’re right; social media will take even more prominence. I didn’t mention it other than G+ because I don’t predict any life-changing events with it this year (not that I’m psychic).


  11. There were lots of predictions that have been made but your predictions are more specific than others. I am not saying that you have specific and absolute predictions, but I think you got the guts of specifying it.

  12. @Jake–
    I’m not afraid to be wrong! 🙂


  13. after a very lengthy period of time, I accept Google plus will step on Facebook.

  14. I’m so with your predictions here about the Groupon businesses and Google+. Google+ may either do 1 of two things this year, and if you ask me I’m not really seeing any movement in the arena.

    Quality content, in your last point is my favorite. Writing articles, maintaining blogs, etc. will get more competitive and we never know how we will rank in Google in the long run. The best thing to do is to deliver quality content and not worry about all the hoopla SEO stuff so much, in my opinion. In the end, information that solves problems last.

  15. I love G+ and depends on how one uses it, that can indirectly invite others to follow. Social media can’t be just about ‘selling’ it has to attract with interesting, fun and related information. Give a sense of ‘personality’. I like Freemium idea’s, it can help towards expanding interest and support, such as winners of the Space Lab who got to experience Zero Gravity. I think Mobile should also take a look into tackling ‘dead zones’ for rural use otherwise it’s a great product too when ‘fun’ is available. Just some thoughts. 🙂

  16. After all this time and through all the penguin/panda nonsense, I have yet to see quality content actually ranking. It seems like the authorship is the most important right now.. not quality content. I’m basing this mostly on what I have been seeing in the medical/nutrition field. In a niche where there is no room for error or false facts in the content (making stuff up could kill people in terms of medical advice), I still see absolute BS articles ranking high, while factual medical publications are ranking lower than them. The common factor linking all these high ranking posts together is that they all use google+ authorship and have that author picture next to the blog post… hmmm….