It’s that time of year when pundits start coming out of the woodwork to predict the next big thing. Here are my 15 predictions (15, because Tamar is 15 this year) for what’s going to be happening online in 2010:
1. Social media, and specifically Twitter, will continue to take over the world with the latter reaching 100 million users by Easter 2010. Twitter will automatically allow you geotag your tweets.
2. Online reputation management will become a serious headache for large corporates as they try to fit into the customer’s social sphere and consumers increasingly find their voice. Google’s real-time search has pushed this issue right to the top of corporate agendas.
3. Rupert Murdoch will have sold MySpace by the end of 2010 – possibly to a record label as MySpace becomes a more serious player in the downloadable music business by indexing all their bands’ tracks with relational recommendations.
4. The main battle-ground for the 2010 UK general election will be Twitter, with all 3 major parties Tweeting for victory. There are already a number of half-baked attempts by some MPs to engage with voters through this platform, but 2010 will see them coming out in force and finally “getting it”.
5. 2010 will be the Year of the Tablet. A range of companies are apparently working on a tablet computer. The one I’m eagerly anticipating is the much-rumoured Apple Tablet – a 9- to 10-inch screen that would basically look, and operate, like a larger iPod Touch but priced as high as $1000. Rumours have been hotting up over Christmas (current name: the iSlate) so this could happen any day. Get me in that queue now…
6. Phones really will take over the world as a greater percentage of our daily computing and communication tasks will be done using a Smartphone (I haven’t fired up my home laptop since about mid-way through this year, all my browsing is done via Iphone or BlackBerry). Businesses will realise they urgently need to adopt mobile technologies and understand how to leverage them.
7. Baidu will make a big push in to the western search market, buoyed by the successful re-branding of Yahoo! and the launch of Microsoft Bing. This may even be encouraged by anti-monopoly rulings against Google… With Baidu already dominating the search fight in China (61% market share of China’s 338 million internet users) the move in to Western search wouldn’t be particularly hard for them.
8. Wikis will wield greater power online. In the field of search we could see a noticeable move toward wiki style search solutions – using user input – harnessing the power of the massive online user-base to rank to help select the most worthy sites for inclusion.
9. SERP presentation options will multiply – with search engine results pages showing more and more different kinds of results (vertical search avenues are getting too numerous to display on some SERPs) I expect to see different kinds of results being displayed for different users based on their clicks. This should also be customizable. Similar to the Facebook news feed content sliders – but done with Maximum Google flair.
10. The inevitable and much-discussed Yahoo/Bing take-over will have happened by end of 2010, leaving us with just 2 major (western) Search engines. But Bing will still fail to make much inroads on Google’s market dominance despite Microsoft’s deep pockets.
11. The 2010 Tamar’s Search Attitudes report will reflect the global trend towards consumer distrust of all forms of overly paid or ‘push’ advertising and reveal that 9/10 consumers trust natural search listings over paid. We’ve already heard recently from SEOMoz that “For every 1 click on a paid search result, the organic results generate 8.5 clicks” – this trend is certain to continue in 2010.
12. Like Woolworths before them, by the end of 2010 another major High-street presence will have moved completely online. An obvious and easy target would be Blockbuster, but I’m going to stick my neck out and opt for an even bigger choice, with Dixons/Currys being my top suspicion due to their online competition being so strong….
13. We will witness the rise of infographics. Better ways of capturing and visualising information appear to feed our thirst for real-time analysis. http://www.visualcomplexity.com/
14. The paywall/paid content issue will be resolved by the introduction of micro payments per impression possibly delivered through iTunes. If it’s worked for the music industry it can work for print.
15. A global shift toward ‘singled out marketing’ will occur. Instead of mass-marketing, companies will focus on finding one good customer – the Holy Grail, repeat-buyer who spends more over the long-term. The emphasis will be on gathering as much consumer intelligence as possible and personalising the user experience for each individual; making them want to come back for more.
As is usually the case, some of these will likely come true and some almost certainly won’t – one thing’s for sure though: with the rate at which the world of digital is changing these days, it’s likely that some of these will probably seem laughably tame by the end of 2012…!Tweet