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Before 2011… How did our previous predictions fare?

Henry Elliss
Henry Elliss
Managing Director
18 November 2010

Before my boss and Tamar’s CEO Tanya Goodin makes her predictions for 2011 (in what has become an annual tradition, not just here at Tamar but in the industry as a whole) I thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the previous predictions we’ve made, to see how well we did.

Doc-BrownIf you’re feeling nostalgic and want to take a walk down memory lane yourself, you can read Tanya’s predictions for previous years here:

New Year predictions, 2008
Five reasons to be cheerful in 2009
15 digital predictions for 2010

Needless to say, I shalln’t pore-over every single one, but I thought I’d pick a few of the really good (and a couple of wide-of-the-mark) examples to share here…

2008

“Social media will continue to dominate and I’m standing by what I said about facebook. [“facebook will be bigger than Google”] It doesn’t show any signs of slowing.” #WIN

You’d be hard-pressed to argue that Facebook became “bigger than Google” during 2008, but in the years subsequently this prediction has become closer and closer to the truth. Back in March of 2010, Hitwise announced that Facebook had finally knocked Google off the throne and become the “most visited” website in the US. Mashable followed that up with news in June 2010 that the same was true here in the UK, making Tanya’s prediction finally true.

“I also think Apple will continue to surprise and delight us and we’ll see better and slicker versions of the iPhone hitting the shops early in the New Year hopefully with the keyboard functionality improved.” #WIN

In June 2008, Apple released the iPhone 3G, though even I would struggle to persuade you that the keyboard input was any better. It was definitely an improvement on the original iPhone though.

2009

“The businesses that emerge unscathed (in any sector) will not only be stronger but will provide better and more relevant services, at more competitive prices, with faster delivery times and accompanied by positively sycophantic customer service.” #WIN/FAIL

Anybody who suffered a laborious customer service call during 2009 would probably argue this one, but I’d point out that the number of businesses looking for new ways to enhance their customer services online really boomed in 2009, with Twitter emerging towards the end of the year as a big player. As for the businesses emerging stronger, I suspect the recession may have lasted longer than we were anticipating in later 2008 when these predictions were made, but it’s probably now starting to come true at last.

bloggers“Focusing on what’s important – keeping their jobs, will result in a quietening in the blogosphere with blogs only being written when the writer genuinely has something important and original to say” #FAIL

This one is a definitely #FAIL for me – the blogosphere continued to blossom during 2009, and by the end of the year the number of blogs had hit 126 milllion – up from 112 million in 2008. And as Andrew Marr was well aware in mid-2010, the bloggosphere is still a very crowded place even now.

To be fair to Tanya, I can’t prove (without a lot of effort) how many individual bloggers upped or lowered their output during 2009, but I guess that means this prediction wasn’t particularly S.M.A.R.T. (inside-joke alert!)

“2009 will be the year blue-chip brands finally ‘get’ SEO and will divert money from out-of-control PPC spend into natural search in an attempt to cut overall budgets and improve overall sales and conversion rates.” #WIN

This one was a definite #WIN, with numerous examples of stats to back the prediction up – “As per the report, the North American search engine marketing industry has grown by 8% (from $13.5B in 2008 to $14.6B in 2009) and is projected to reach a value of $16.6B in 2010, an anticipated 14% growth.” being just one example. I won’t spend time digging out more, as they all say roughly the same thing, so hopefully you will agree that this one came true.

2010

“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.” #WIN

Tanya’s predictions were getting a lot more specific by 2009, and a lot more accurate too. This one came true almost exactly as predicted, with Twitter passing the 100 million mark before the end of April 2010 (according to Reuters). The geo-tagging prediction partially came true in 2010 as well, though take-up of this service is believed to be very low still.

“Rupert Murdoch will have sold MySpace by the end of 2010 – possibly to a record label” ALMOST #WIN

This one seems to have come VERY close to coming true, with MySpace launching what looks to be a last-ditch rebranding just this month. As far as we’re aware at the time of going to press (so to speak), despite heavy losses, Murdoch still owns the much-maligned social network, though how long it stays this way is anybody’s guess.

tweet13may2010“The main battle-ground for the 2010 UK general election will be Twitter, with all 3 major parties Tweeting for victory.” #JURY-OUT!

Despite valiant efforts by all three parties, the main victory for Twitter during the UK elections was the ability for voters themselves to discuss and commentate on the campaign, particularly during the televised TV debates. All three of the main parties had Twitter accounts, as well as a number of high-profile MPS, but very few of them made much of an impact. Most commentators acknowledged that the real game-changer in this year’s election was the televised TV debates.

“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″ #WIN

Bang-on the money with this one – and thankfully the iPad was less than $1000 on release! And as she rightly predicted, Tanya was first in the queue on the day it was released, too!

“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.” #FAIL

To quote the famous line from TV’s ‘Family Fortunes’… “Our survey says… EH-AH!”

“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.” PARTIAL #WIN

Obviously there’s still several weeks left in 2010 for this to happen, but so far we’ll have to console ourselves with the 10-year deal made between Microsoft and Yahoo in early 2010 for shared services.

“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” #FAIL

I’d mark this one as a part-win, part-fail – Blockbuster *are* moving off the high-street, but only due to the fact that the company filed for bankruptcy in September… As for other highstreet brands moving off the high-street and onto the internet, I can’t think of any off the top of my head, but I’m happy to be corrected…!

FAIL/WIN Ratio

tumblr_lbut9mmONX1qa9i3bo1_500As I mentioned at the start of the post, there were far too many predictions made over the three blog posts to cover every one of them, and I could probably be (rightfully) accused of picking some of the funnier fails in preference to some of the less-exciting wins. However, it’s safe to say that over the years our predictions seem to have become a lot more accurate, with a spooky number of the 2010 predictions now being true.

I for one am really looking forward to seeing what Tanya has up her sleeve for her 2011 predictions…

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