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15 Predictions for the Future of the Digital World

This year, Blue Compass is celebrating its 15th anniversary. While anniversaries often come with a nostalgic look into the rearview mirror, our team is also focused on the future and how the digital world will continually evolve. Growing our expertise is one of the core values at Blue Compass. One way we’ve executed this is by compiling a list of 15 digital industry predictions, which we’ve sorted into the categories of Google, convenience, general digital marketing and social media. We have already seen the foundations forming for many of these forecasted predictions and we expect to see them potentially grow into parts of our ever-changing digital world.

What is the future of Google?

With major changes coming to Google Analytics and Google Ads in the coming months, it’s no surprise that Google is constantly evolving. So what do our experts predict for the future of the most popular search engine?

Google will offer you answers before you search.

Hyper-personalized data will be the mark of the future. Many people have wearable devices like smartwatches, or they almost always have their mobile device on them. Google will take note of your location, your heart rate, how fast you’re walking, your most frequently visited locations, weather conditions and more. With all of that data and even more we probably haven’t even thought of yet, Google will be able to better predict what you’ll search for depending on your current data.

While privacy concerns and discussions will surely arise from these digital progressions, we believe an even more intuitive Google is a future possibility. Local SEO will become increasingly important as local businesses will be able to take advantage of this consumer data.

Google will reduce search results to one page.

They say the best place to hide a dead body is page two of Google search results for a reason. Few users venture past page one. Thus, in an effort to save its resources, Google will eliminate these extra pages. The importance of ranking on page one of Google will become even more important than it is now. Digital marketers will have to rethink best practices in an effort to rank higher and reach the only page of Google results.

How will this change the way we look at keyword volumes, keyword rankings and more? Right now, our digital experts think with a 10+ Google results page mentality. However, this will have to evolve when Google reduces results down to one page. We will need to find ways to drive quality traffic to web pages to prove the web page’s value to Google in a more efficient fashion. In addition, combining a solid organic and paid social media strategy to claim website traffic will be increasingly important to achieve these goals.

Google results will be more visual.

Google has already been moving away from the traditional 10 organic results of days past, with ads, rich results, images and more appearing on results pages. In the future, Google's results will be even more focused on ads, video results, animations and images. Searching "how many people live in the United States," for instance, will yield an animated graph with a video displaying the answer. Google will also continue to deliver the content you're seeking directly in the search results page so users don't leave google.com.

The Future of Digital Convenience

One reason the digital industry keeps propelling forward into new heights is that consumers continually want products and services more conveniently at their fingertips. Whether it be shopping online for clothing, ordering takeout from an app such as DoorDash or Uber Eats or making a tele-health doctor appointment, consumers increasingly want to be able to do normal, everyday activities without having to leave their homes.

Personal identification documents will be digitized.

On the way to the airport for an international business trip and forgot your wallet at home? No problem. All your necessary documentation like your ID and passport will be stored conveniently in an app on your mobile phone. We’ve already seen the groundwork being laid for this prediction, with features like Apple Wallet allowing you to store things like credit cards and boarding passes for flights.

Bathrooms will become personal doctors’ offices.

Health tracking and metrics continue to be a heavy emphasis on devices like smartwatches. This focus on health will continue in the digital world, particularly in bathrooms. Your home bathroom will use all the info you provide through your mirror, toilet or scale to diagnose you daily and reveal health suggestions. These daily readings will be shared with health organizations and your doctor. Because of these features, the population will be able to stay healthier and physicians will be able to foresee health problems like cancer or heart disease before they progress.

Snail mail will become obsolete.

Other than products ordered online (which will be delivered directly to your door like most are now), mail like birthday cards, bills and letters will be sent solely through email format like the current USPS Informed Delivery emails. Long gone will be the days of walking to the mailbox or going to a post office box to check the mail. We predict the U.S. Postal Service as we know it will die out because the volume of mail has been on the decline for many years and has decreased by 28 percent over the last decade. Most mail now is advertisements, as many consumers have decided to forgo paper bills and credit card statements and opt instead for online payments.

What is the future of digital marketing?

It’s no secret the digital marketing industry is evolving on a day-to-day basis. From virtual reality (VR) to artificial intelligence (AI), we predict the focus of digital marketing will continue to be on personalization and monetization, whether that be through virtual reality, artificial intelligence or other channels.

Virtual reality marketing will boom.

What is virtual reality? Virtual reality immerses the user into an entirely new reality using a headset or goggles. Marketers can use this new virtual environment to their advantage to show consumers what their product or service is like without the consumer using the product or service in real life. For example, colleges will be able to use VR to show a high school senior what it’s like to live in one of their college dorms. In addition, businesses from clothing brands to restaurants can use this feature to allow customers to “try before you buy,” which may entice the customer to continue on with a real-life purchase.

Voice marketing will boom, too.

Voice marketing will be considered a prominent marketing channel within five years. Whether Alexa, Google or Siri, the artificial intelligence speaking to you will sound more human, develop human traits and pick up cues to recommend appropriate products and services. In regards to how this impacts SEO, getting content to appear as a featured snippet on Google will become increasingly important because that is where Alexa, Google and Siri go to fetch the data they report back to you.

Fully personalized websites will be prevalent.

Our social media feeds are already highly personalized, and we predict that the websites we visit in the future will be as well. These websites will monitor many factors, such as your general online habits, what pages you've visited, your past purchases and more personal data. This information will be used to assign a persona that is associated with specific content. You can already see this trend in the highly personalized content you find when visiting amazon.com.

We’ll see more paywalling for services.

Similar to how giant media groups are creating their own paywalled streaming services, we predict that we'll see more of this in the digital world as well, with more gatekeeping and paywalling for services.

Brands will rely heavily on community data.

We predict brands will rely heavily on community building and capturing first-party data in an effort to reduce their dependence on platforms like Facebook and Instagram and their data and targeting. We see this occurring especially with Facebook, as its ad targeting constantly becomes less reliable due to legislative and societal reduction in tracking capabilities.

The Future of Social Media

Though the theme of monetization continues, we also believe there will be a large focus on interactive experiences and social platforms taking advantage of the new virtual reality-focused marketing initiatives. In addition, it will become increasingly hard to reach an organic audience on all social platforms, forcing companies to focus even more on paid strategies.

Organic reach will die.

We predict organic reach, or the amount of users who see your content through unpaid means, will die out. Reaching followers on all social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter will be nearly impossible. Instead, feeds will be filled with 99 percent hyper-personalized ads. We already see this prediction becoming increasingly true, with the average organic Facebook post only accumulating just over 5 percent reach.

Social platforms will have their own currency.

Meta is already exploring a sort of virtual currency for the Metaverse, known internally as “Zuck Bucks.” Another possibility they’re looking into are tokens, which would be given out as rewards for valued contributions to the platform. We predict each social platform will have their own type of currency or token system that wouldn’t have value in the real world but would allow users to buy “products” or “services” within the given platform.

Social platforms like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook will evolve with virtual reality.

Twitter is often referred to as the virtual “public square.” In the future, we predict that virtual reality avatars will be able to go to an actual public square of some sort to “physically” express what they want to say instead of using typed posts. It will be a more interactive experience for the user. Social platforms will give users the ability to feel as though they are in the same, shared space. However, in real life they might be thousands of miles away from each other.

Meta will have a hand in almost everything digital-related.

We anticipate Meta will continue to buy out other social media and technology companies, until they own most or all of the digital world. We see this taking shape as Meta acquired Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion, Oculus Virtual Reality in 2014 for $2 billion and WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion. As far as we can tell, Meta’s past strategy has been to buy out rivals before they get to be too big. It’s not a matter of if, but when the next acquisition will take place.

Reach Out to the Experts at Blue Compass for Digital Marketing, Web Design and Web Development

We’ve been in the digital industry for 15 years now, and we keep focusing on what we do best: delivering tangible results for our valued clients. If your company needs assistance, contact us to learn more about the services Blue Compass offers.

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Mari Vroom

Mari Vroom, a Digital Marketing Associate, graduated with a degree in Communication Studies from Central College in Pella, Iowa. Mari has strong interests in social media and writing and is excited to continue to grow these capabilities while expanding her knowledge into new areas of digital and help meet clients' needs with her time at Blue Compass. Mari and her husband, Hayden, enjoy cheering on the Central Dutch or spending summer weekends at Lake Okoboji. When she is not at work, you can find Mari on a run or listening to a good podcast.

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