2006 was a big year for the Web. The 10th anniversary of our industry saw the beginnings of Web 2.0 realization with the wildfire adoption of YouTube and the continued astronomical growth of MySpace, CraigsList and Wikipedia. We saw many more (TOO many) original podcasts, and a lot more people relying on their mobile devices. And we saw the introduction of the addictive SecondLife. And...
- We saw more Google domination, some - if not quite enough - forward-thinking (and a reorg) by Yahoo, and a new face for Microsoft's Web presence.
- We saw Microsoft lose to Apple in the public eye (Zune v. iPod) and Google lose control of the Web-at-large to MySpace, now the most-visited site online.
- We saw big agencies fail miserably in Web 2.0. (And we're watching one of them screw up again in 007... which, admittedly, I'm enjoying a little too much.) (...and let's not forget LonelyGirl15, while on the topic.)
So what else can we expect to see in 2007?
Well, for starters, eMarketer predicts (via MediaWeek) that the ad spend for us will exceed $20 Billion. A nice (if not spectacular) leap. But with the changing face of Web marketing...where will all that money go? What changes will we see in the market?
- We'll see wider Web 2.0 adoption, to be sure. As big as MySpace has grown in the last year, the majority of the world (while they may finally know what a "blog" is) hasn't gotten on board with the user-generated content thing. There will be more MySpaces and FaceBooks and YouTubes popping up this year, and they'll gain and broader adoption across a user base who can both vote AND drink legally. (And maybe even a few AARP members!) ...a CraigsList for people who don't want to buy stuff, perhaps?
We'll also see more agencies attempting to leverage Web 2.0 -- and many of them failing spectacularly. (I'll be waiting with baited keyboard!) A few will get it right, and they'll probably be smaller shops.
...and for greater insight on this, see Randy Morin's excellent Web 2.0 predictions. We agree on some points, disagree on others...but he's a lot smarter than me, so listen to Randy.
- We'll see a lot more mobile, too. With Blackberry back and hotter than ever, the mobile Internet is gaining popularity. All it needs is a price drop in the service (how about INCLUDED with your mobile service, folks??), and I think mobile Web adoption will get the shot in the arm it needs.
And I know all you agencies have been getting ready to serve the growing demand for mobile sites and services, of course!
- And we'll see the Web get more vertical, and more local. This was something we saw beginning in 2006, but I think we'll get even more vertical this year. I predict that a lot of those 30-somethings who don't fit into MySpace of FaceBook (and who can't find enough stickiness to hang out on LinkedIn) will find some more specialized communities to get involved in and voice their opinions. And I have a feeling net-entrepreneurs will be scrambling to create communities to meet the demand.
- Look for more in the way of vertical search, too. Yahoo's jumped on this one, but I think you'll see more of it and richer versions of it this year.
- One final prediction: Pay-per-call will become a household name for marketers in 007. With a lot of silence around all those VoIP purchases made in '05, I suspect this will be the year we hear a lot more about that particular channel.
See also, John Battelle's predictions, which include the buyout of AOL...but surprisingly, nothing on local search or verticalization. And eMarketer's, which jibe with mine somewhat in their prediction of a $1billion ad spend on social networks - more than double the 2006 spend.
Finally, I have to point you all to David Berkowitz's touching (without a hint of irony, I swear!) look at 2006. Excellent article.
I guess I should add, as I close this, that these predictions are solely mine and if you disagree or find them offensive, yell at me, not DigitalGrit. And DigitalGritters, if you disagree, use comments to correct me or add predictions of your own. I'm sure I'll be adding (and revising) these predictions myself!