So what will 2009 look like? The economy (wherever you are) is a mess. The ad budgets are being scrutinized and reshuffled across channels. Steve Jobs is bowing out of Apple indefinitely, my MOM IS ON FACEBOOK!! MY MOM…IS ON FACEBOOK! Well here is a taste of what I think we can all expect to see in 2009.
We know where you live. 2009 will be the year that websites, (i)phone apps, desktop widgets, mobile campaigns get real down and dirty with WHERE you are. Beyond the usual geo-targeting and customized messaging that we saw in 2008, expect campaigns to be relevant to you based on where you are standing at any given time. I mean as specific as “There’s a specific shoe shop 12 meters from where you are standing, women look at a mans eyes, hands, shoes… go and buy some shoes. Or you might be happy with your current relationship status, in which case there is an adult book shop behind you.”
This use of GPS technology will have implications for in-store, POS, digital outdoor.
Web-Video. It is just looking better and performing more seamlessly, expect 2009 to see higher quality content generated by Celebrities and Plebs alike. (funny or die, metacafe, veoh, youtube)With some platforms already paying for quality content, this may become one of those “alternate revenue streams” a well thought out campaign that pulls in a decent veiwership, proceeds go to a charity and makes everyone feel good about themselves.
VIRAL IS DEAD.The term ‘Viral videos’ will cease to exist – who am I kidding people will always ask for this… This will no doubt force up the creative bar for ad agencies. The quality and cost of producing high grade web video content will be competitive beyond traditional television production, expect Digital shoots that are equal parts asset generation for web and tv, gone are the days were integrated campaigns meant you posted a video on youtube. Interactive videos and integrated content will be commonplace, the new Web enabled TV technology will help realize this.
Web Enabled TV technology? WTF?! Yes. You know how your mac has a cool dashboard where your widgets can check the weather, see how bad your stocks are taking a hammering, the time in New York. Well, that technology is coming to your television. Intel and Yahoo are pairing up to finally deliver tasteful content presented in a slick way. Your ethernet wired tv will pull all the data from your web provider. I expect the usual suspects like news, music, weather and sports companies will swamp the space but pretty soon everyone else will catch on and before you know it, there’s a web-cam widget that monitors your traffic route in the morning before you dash out to the M1 between Milton Keynes and Northampton. Neat.
New Player! Surge in low cost high quality suppliers. People will be pinching pennies to keep costs down, expect a flood of new specialists that offer bespoke solutions. Obviously there will be a coincidental influx of low quality start-ups that will confuse the space but many shining stars will excel in 2009. Paradoxically, a downturn is usually great for innovative and hungry young companies with a group of talented people to match. A lot of innovation for specialty service suppliers such as 3D Visuals, Software development, Motion Graphics, Data Analytics, Online Behaviour Analaysis.
Get your Sh*t together. People will not want to spend time and effort learning any new social networking services that do not automatically collate their social networking past. LinkedIn, Naymz, Facebook start looking indecipherable. Specialist, invitation only social networks like A Small World, WIYO, start to contract, some disappear completely.
Was it good for you? Demographics and user profiling will be scrutinized as it becomes apparent that people online are open to absolutely anything relevant. Traditional marketing personas and profiles will be almost redundant as we realize that online behaviour is affected and unnatural. Digital Years (kind of like dog years) of experience will determine online behavior of users more than traditional age groups.
Keep Out! With so much of our lives in cyberspace, consumers will demand more rigor in privacy and security beyond the browser. The good news is that the payoff is a far more robust and personalized experience. Once people get comfortable with the idea that they need to divulge certain peices of their private life, they will be rewarded with a more relevant experience. Smart apps and Predictive technology will start to become less clunky and open the doors to better quality engagement. 2009 will be the year that people demand customization, a specifically targeted experience that lets you cherry pick what you want and lets you ignore the rest. The illusion of not being advertised to.
Internet Explorer 8. For the people that are happy using a browser that ships with their PC, which is a lot of people, IE 8 will deal a blow to tracking and online metrics. Privacy mode in this browser will neuter the usual tracking methodologies. This will have an impact on how we treat metrics in 2009 which was due for a change anyway. A lot more focus will be placed on WHY people are doing what they are doing and less on what they are actually doing. The CPA model will be in a rough year.
It costs how much!? Transparency. It will not be demanded it will be expected this year. If you are not working in an open way, expect pain by analysis. Slow approvals and subsequently affected work. Everything from what you do to how you do it and charge for it. Everything. This is not a bad thing, it will force latent organizations to enforce efficiency and due diligence. Simply put, you wont be able to bullshit your way around explaining why a competitor can do twice the work for half the price that looks better. Good.
Small is beautiful. Again. To accommodate the screens of mobile and notebook technology there will need to be more compact creative. Not a website that has been simplified to run on an iphone, but a specific, relevant and rewarding design for the mobile screen space. While desktop screen sizes increase, mobile saturation means that the smaller screen size is way more accessible this year and needs to be designed for accordingly.
Social Commentary. The overwhelming majority of people will continue to trust their peers over advertisers. The implications of this on attitude shift marketing will be monumental, as user generated content will get better and with it will come even more credibility. Blogs, Twittering will become less annoying as people turn to them for quality information and informed opinion. Fauxlogs – by which I mean Fake blogs by companies that attempt to humanize and get digi with it for their audience – will get better. Folks, if you are going to put up a blog, people will say mean things about you. Tolerance for constructive criticism will have to increase or those dinosaurs will be left behind. Lamenting that no-one takes them seriously, while patting each other on the back for thinking they cracked that thing called “Digital”.
Death of Digital. Stop calling it digital. It’s stupid. It says you have no idea what the hell it is. It’s integrated, it’s everything. Don’t do it to impress anyone, do it because it is relevant. IT. Whatever you end up calling it, respect it for the power that it has and be a part of its evolution.
In closing. This industry that we are in, this thing that gets called digital, or interactive, or new media or Rich. It’s in its infancy. We are just figuring it out, if this were flight, we would have just had a our few seconds of airtime. Stop paying pundits to talk about it, start enforcing the idea that anything can be done. Choose ways to do ‘that’ thing that challenges you, rewards your audience and enlightens the rest of us – it will always be a successful campaign.