What’s going to be big in 2010?

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by Sage

So we’re here. 2010 has arrived, we’ve been back at work long enough for the hangovers to subside, vision is clearing, and it’s now time to look at what 2010 will bring. Based on the feedback from the Sage staff, these are some of the things we expect to see this year:

Real Time hits the Big Time

With Google now starting to incorporate real-time information from social media and news networks in its search results, you know real time search is going to be important.

Youtube Search 2Real-time search gives you the ability to tap right into the pulse of the moment. Although many will use Google’s new feature to find out what everyone thinks of the new Michael Jackson single, or just how shocking Sarah Jessica Parker’s dress was last night, businesses will quickly find that they can learn what people think of them and their products, giving them the ability to act upon user opinion, tweaking their products, services, and marketing.  Mashable has a nice Google Video of the new real-time feature.

As businesses catch on to the value of real-time information, so websites like Collecta, dedicated to providing you with an overview from all data streams, will grow in user-ship. Collecta gives you real time search results for what people are talking about across many social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Blogs, and News Networks and gives users an unprecedented ability to tap into the immediate pulse of the subject.

Bing vs.Google?

Google blasted Microsoft’s Live Search away. Public opinion for the flimsy search results mirrored the backlash that Windows Vista received. Microsoft learned though and its new search engine, Bing, isn’t just the old one with a name change. The majority of users agree that Bing is good looking, quick, and provides meaningful results. Could this be the jump point for Microsoft to launch a real offensive against the search power house? We don’t think so but competition’s good for everyone right? Right?

Social Media Search gets a Face

Whose recommendation is more likely to make you buy a new pair of runners, your friends’ or Google’s? That’s the point that Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, makes when he explains his lofty goals for making Facebook the go-to place for online search. With  350 million users and the number increasing monthly by around 22%, Facebook already has a wealth of incredibly targeted, and personalized, demographic information that Google could only hope for. Facebook already knows what music your friends like, where they go on holiday, what teams they support,  what parties they like… how long until you can ask FaceBook  what trainers to buy and you’ll get an opinion precisely targeted to your wants and likes.

If Facebook doesn’t get to it first, we expect 2010 to be characterised by others building websites and apps that allow product search based on referrals from various social media networks with similar tastes.

Google buys FaceBook

GooBook
Okay, the logical progression from the previous point might not be attainable for Google but we can be sure that it won’t sit around waiting. Lets face it with Facebook being valued at $15 billion back in 2007, and Microsoft only being able to muster enough funds to purchase 1.6% of the social media network, and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, bragging about dethroning Google, Google likely won’t pursue it. Google is however, likely to go on a purchasing spree, buying up Social Media innovators to shore up its social media weaknesses.

Google buys Twitter

Twoogle

Or someone else might. Twitter is likely to monetize this year and the only question is will it be bought before or after that. With so much public attention, and such eligibility, it won’t stay single for that long.

Luddites will move into the modern Age.

Print advertising revenue will continue to decrease as businesses find better targeting and ROI through internet marketing. The readership of print publications will continue to drop, making their advertising spots even less appealing, and the cycle will continue.

The penny will start to drop for those businesses still stuck in the mindset of how many hits they get on the website and we’ll see a shift in online marketing emphasis from trying to get maximum traffic to generating more quality leads.  We expect to see more effort devoted to identifying and targeting qualified markets. Think laser beam instead of shot gun. What’s really exciting is the new ways in which companies will do this (see next few bullet points)

Social Media becomes a Line Item in Marketing Budgets

Just like there was slow acceptance  in the early 2000s that a company website was a necessity, not a frill, now that companies can see proof that social media can grow their business (e.g. Dell), social media will start to get a reserved spot in the yearly advertising budget.

Some of it might be more successful than others so we can expect some train wrecks before the guide lines are written up.

Better Social Media Analytics

With widespread adoption of social media by businesses, the demand for more powerful analytics is likely to increase. Where there’s demand, there’s usually a company willing to satisfy that demand. We foresee better integration between analytics and social media companies. e.g. Google builds some form of dedicated social media monitoring built into Google Analytics.

iPhone Apps/  iPhone Challengers.

Apple still considers iPhone to be the market leader in the smartphone sector and Apple COO Tim Cook seems fairly smug about state of the competition,

“I think they’re trying to catch up with the first iPhone that we released two years ago, and we’ve long since moved beyond that.”
October 2009

Some might say that he’s being complacent considering the smart phones that the competition is proposing this year:

  • Google Nexus One – just launched in the US, and the first sharp looking iPhone competitor that runs, and takes full advantage of Google Android 2.1 operating system.  And Google’s calling it a “Superphone” so it must be better.
  • RIM and Palm are not going to lie down and will continue to produce smart phones that draw a strong following and don’t fall as far off the mark as Apple might like us to believe.

What is for sure is that the iPhone’s Apps market has been a revelation. The ability to expand the functionality of the iPhone by installing apps, which anyone can build,  has lead to many innovative applications, the most notable of which utilise many of iPhone’s core functionality like Telephony, GPS, Camera, and Maps to generate a Social Media network.

Although Apple clearly got running with this first, one can only think that, with its long experience in creating free, open apps, and with  programmers creating myriads of mashups of its software, it’s only a matter of time before Google becomes the leader, and thus phones running Google’s Android operating system will become the biggest sellers……Apple/ Google merger??? iAndroid?

Paying for Online News

Rupert Murdoch has recently stated that, in preparation for charging for all news by the summer of 2010, he’s going to remove News Corps content from Google’s index. His argument is that news companies can’t continue to support the current model where they pay journalists to research and write articles, and then charge the public nothing to access it online. Is this going to spell the end of free news or just the end of companies who decide to charge?

The Average Attention Span of a Westerner will increase by 27%

With Total Broadcast Television Ad revenues down by 22.6% in Q3 of 2009, the TV channels are really hurting. We can only expect less spending on TV advertising in the future (TIVO and PVR means ads are being skipped), more product placement, and poorer television but maybe less adverts!

In the long-term, it might also lead to less channels and less programmes as it becomes harder for channels to compete. The upside might be an increase in quality…anyone seen the BBC programme list recently?

TV as we know it might become obsolete. The upside is that we might actually get used to programmes that aren’t interrupted every few minutes and our attention spans will increase. Unless the internet becomes successful.

Arsenal will win the Premier League, Canucks will win the NHL,

It WILL happen.

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