7 Digital Trends Worth Your Attention

The 2011 social media trends watch continued as Steve Rubel, SVP and director of insights at Edelman Digital, highlighted predictions and recommendations for this year while speaking at the BRITE ’11 conference hosted by Columbia Business School’s Center on Global Brand Leadership in New York on Wednesday. Brite is a global conference series focused on topics like culture and technology.

Click through for seven key trends that should be on your radar.

Marketers will realize the value of attention: Rubel referred to this trend as ‘attentionomics’ and said understanding your audience’s attention patterns is important. This includes what parts of the day they are engaging online and their preferred content form. Visuals are underutilized but are needed to captivate viewers’ attention. For videos, the core message should be in the front so viewers don’t tune out.

Digital curation is the key: Those who can separate the “art from the junk” will prevail, given all the digital clutter. Rubel advised “owning your zone” by identifying an underserved niche and providing collaborative and social content to meet the audience’s needs.

Storytelling is evolving across media platforms: Given new technology, stories are not always told chronologically as everyone accesses different points of information. He suggested providing employees and customers with compelling stories and tailoring them to each social community.

Creating a hub of experts promotes thought leadership: Rubel noted that companies who establish a group of subject matter experts and use them to convey ideas and engage in conversations are more likely to be trusted and stand out from their competitors.

Social computing will become ubiquitous: He predicted that every electronic device will become social, thereby reducing the dependency on PCs. Plan for content on multiple platforms, including mobile, as well as optimizing for customers’ mobility. He showed a scale currently sold in Europe that has the ability to tweet your weight, but no word on when this may be sold in the U.S.

Social media overload is apparent: In response, Rubel advised maximizing the main platforms, such as the company website and Facebook site, but letting the audience self-select where they access company information. Companies will also do well to keep it simple, convenient and not over-push their message.

Websites will become more social: Instead of the decline of company websites, Rubel sees them evolving to include social functionality and data.  By including this new information, companies will be providing more relevant and timely data to their customers.

As far as tech company changes, Rubel predicted that Facebook, with its wealth of data, will overtake Foursquare in the location-based services market. He also expects Google to “strike back” against Facebook and Twitter by indexing the social information in the search function.