As 2009, along with the very sobering decline in ad spending, comes to an end, industry watchers have begun to issue their predictions for a brighter and different new year. Last Exit, a digital strategy, 997431_surreal_-_bubblemarketing and design shop is looking for specific trends to grow in 2010. Not surprisingly, the company’s predictions center on the rising importance of social networking. Here are a few of the most interesting items on the list they recently published.

Mobile Commerce: Now that in-app purchases have been made relatively easy and are becoming more frequent through Apple’s iPhone/itunes platform, the technology may expand to Paypal or Google checkout. New competition in mobile commerce payment platforms and growing popularity may bring more ad dollars to this medium.

Alternatives to the Big Idea: Social networking means change. “While advertising has often sought to distinguish itself and stop the consumer in their tracks with a disruptive “big idea,” the emphasis is now shifting toward persuasion through fitting organically into the consumer’s social sphere.”

Info-Art: Web users who find the endless array of studies and data too overwhelming to consume via dense passages of text can breathe a sigh of relief. Info-artists are poised to become the hot new professionals. “Expect to see greater innovation spurred by more elegant ways of capturing and visualizing information by a growing number of info-artists.”

Crowd-Sourcing: Organizations will increase their use of crowd-sourcing. The technique will be popular for developing and communicating messages in sectors such as people journalism, software development and political canvassing.

Other trends predicted by Last Exit include big improvements in the development of cloud-based applications. Consumers and small businesses may launch their own applications but they may increasingly be an “integrated part of the network as a whole, rather than concentrated within discrete platforms”. These changes could prove challenging to marketers who must constantly monitor developments to avoid being left behind. Those who stay current or lead changes will find exciting opportunities in 2010.

[Source: Top Digital Marketing Trends for 2010, Marketing Charts, Last Exit, November 2010]