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Some really cool digital marketing and Internet trends to watch for in 2013,

by Brad Hines 12-19-12


There is currently a trend of the digital world intersecting with the physical world, this is happening in a few major ways like location awareness, QR codes, wearable devices, mobile wallets and more.

Location Awareness

Location awareness defined 2012 in the Internet and digital world. It seems like everyday we were hearing about a new app that was going to tie-in our physical location via GPS with some kind of useful data to report back to us, in a tidy 99 cent app. Watch in 2013 as Location Awareness matures-more relevant uses of it, and interesting hacks into the social space via Oauth. One example of an interesting location awareness premise is that of geospatial advertising-serving us up advertisements on the spot and more based on where we are. Maybe you'd walk past as store front with the app open, and since it's after 6pm that bakery now has a coupon to tell you it's half off.

Wearable Devices

Wearable devices will see more growth in 2013 as the materials to produce them become cheaper, and the devices themselves become more relevant: Please see my recent article in Techopedia | Six cool wearable devices 11-21-12

QR Codes

It's been hip to say these are dead, the tiny scan codes that you see everywhere you can scan with your  qr codecell phone and an app. I don't think they are. Know that not only are people are still learning how to recognize them and use them on the user side, but on the curation side, people are still learning what they can do with them, and there is a lot. I barely scratch the service in: Marketing and branding your business with QR codes 10-31-12.

Mobile Wallets/Kiosks, etc.

Expect more storefronts this year where you will be able to pay with mobile wallets like Google Wallet, Isis, and The Level Up. Another cool concept yet to be seen if will catch on, is digital charging stations-no this is not the Internet per se, but certainly an industry that has sprung up around the mobile device proliferation.

Additive manufacturing aka "3D Printing"

makerbot replicator 23D printing if you aren't familiar with it, is a unique process-now available in the home for as low as $400-where you can use a desktop "printer" and CAD software on your computer to "print" out physical objects, typically in the form of ABS plastic. Makerbot is a leader in the household 3D printing industry. The process is revolutionizing manufacturing, but what's really the driving force behind it is the internet and the forums where people trade their blueprints in an open source fashion. Resolution on 3D printers is now shattering the "blocky" looking productions of yore. Look at the smoothness in this model tractor made my Makerbot's Replicator 2. Read my in depth article I am authoring on the topic.


I don't think anyone thinks social media is going away in 2013. It may ebb and flow in and out of different mediums, with different trends of user activity, but here's what to expect for in social media this year:

Social Media Marketing getting more focused, and more relevant

With this exception of Trader Joe's, Marlboro, Viagra and a few others at the time of this writing, there isn't a major company who hasn't at least dabbled in a lil' social media. After years of promising to figure out how to make a profit, big social media (facebook, twitter, etc.) is learning how to monetize.

OAuth code/Api explosion

Oauth as I mentioned already, is the open protocol that let's web developers "hack" into another website's HTML in a secure manner to receive partial information, for example, a few of the startups below will let you join with facebook, heck, they depend on it or they don't know who you friends are. When you join a website and it offers for you to sign in with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. and your profile and followers are already there, that is the power of using Oauth. Prepare to see more sites using this as social media more deeply ties the internet together in a dynamic way.

Social Gifting

Social gifting is in its infancy, but expect that to change in 2013, especially now that facebook has got on ice creamboard since November with their gifting feature. Pretty much what it sounds like, social gifting is a mashup of social media, and gifting, where you use some kind of 3rd party to send people gifts you otherwise won't get to see in person, or have the time to shop for in person. The social-gifting space is growing fast with the major startups being Plumfare, Boomerang, Giftly, Treater, and Gratafy all trying to fend off the aforementioned neighborhood bully that is Facebook although I love the gift they offer from ecreamery of 4 pints of small batch ice cream delivered to your loved one's door!

Online Education

Although we are not exactly where you can get an ivy league education for free with accreditation, already there is at least its non accredited equivalent. Online education sites like, TED, YouTube Edu, Lydia, Udemy and more are revolutionizing education—put frankly. I read some testimonials in awe, off of the KhanAcademy website about how it has helped various users by their own accord, here's one:. Online education is getting serious, becoming increasingly recognized as "legit" in all parts of the word. For in interesting mashup of Online Education and the Internet intersecting with the physical world, check out what the people at QuestionBox have been doing.


I've personally witnessed what I think is a growing social phenomenon, of people acknowledging addiction to the digital world, or just plain distaste for it compared to it's authentic counterparts. When I say "authentic counterparts" what I mean is: when your friends want to play NintendoWii Bowling, but you want to go do the real thing, you are exhibiting digital backlash. Another example could be that you are tired of listening to MP3s, and want to hear the "warmth" of vinyl records. And if you ever decided to write your friend a letter-gasp-with a pencil and paper, then you are a digital backlash allstar.

I believe that this trend is a natural progression emanating from not aversion to technology, but rather, an appreciation of substance that people are beginning to miss. So call this the anti-digital trend, which makes it very relevant to the digital world. Please stay tuned in January for my upcoming talk on and about digital backlash.

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Brad Hines photo picture imageAbout the author: Brad Hines is the president of, the founder of, an Internet analyst and digital marketing strategist. He is a writer who typically writes about Internet, tech, and business trends; and sometimes health & science. If he really knew what was going to happen in 2013 he wouldn't be here. He can be followed on Twitter:



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