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9 Internet Market Predictions for 2010

It’s that time of year when predictions, goals and lists dominate the media. Who am I not to oblige? Here’s my list of Internet marketing trends that will dominate 2010:

9. Exponential growth of smart phone users.

Forget texting – Grandma’s downloading apps for her new iPhone. In 2010, smart phone technologies and operating systems will continue to improve dramatically – resulting in a larger base and variety of users. For example, when the Droid phone went on sale last month, it sold 250,000 units in the first week alone. Google’s Android operating system will continue to gain popularity – in fact, it’s predicted that Android will be the number two operating system in the world by 2012 (second only to Microsoft Windows).

The bottom line: Make sure your internet marketing efforts are smart phone friendly – for many people, their phone may be the only way your marketing reaches them.

8. Bing surpasses Yahoo! to become the number two search engine.

Since Microsoft’s purchase of Yahoo! earlier this year, the perennial number two search engine has continued to lose market share to Google and now Bing. Microsoft has heavily focused its marketing efforts on Bing – particularly through TV advertising. As a result, more and more users are looking to Bing for their online searches – while the sun continues to set on Yahoo.

The bottom line: Continue to optimize your website for Google’s search standards – it’s still the world’s most popular search engine. But don’t discount Bing. Keep track of how your company’s keywords perform on Bing throughout 2010.

7. More businesses focus their marketing efforts on social media.

Every day, more companies are creating business pages on Facebook. For example, on Facebook alone, Grey Goose Vodka has more than 100,000 fans and a vibrant community where fans can download and discuss cocktail recipes. That’s the way to do it. This year, Pepsi is withdrawing all of its Superbowl advertising in favor of focusing its efforts on a social media campaign with a charitable partner. That’s 23 years of Superbowl commercials and millions of dollars being shifted online.

The bottom line: Roll up your sleeves and learn more about social media marketing. You can do it well – you can do it poorly, but the worst response is to not take part at all. (Shameless plug: At Metro Studios, we’re more than happy to help you develop and execute the best social media strategy for your business).

6. Social media becomes more targeted.

It’s both the advantage and the Achilles heel of Facebook – virtually everyone you know uses it. But with such a large network, it can be difficult to connect with people who have similar interests to you. In 2010, we’ll see new social media sites that are targeted to specific interests and audiences.

The bottom line: Don’t assume Facebook and Twitter are the only social media options for your company. Find out if there are social media sites where you can reach your target market more easily.

5. A major company will completely screw up a social media campaign.

I’m going out on a limb here (but that’s what predictions are for, right?). I think a major company will take on a social media campaign and do it so badly that it will damage its reputation for years to come. We’ve seen hints of this in the past with AOL and Best Buy, but this is going to be a very special mistake.

Here’s why it’s going to happen – most of corporate America still doesn’t understand internet marketing, or what consumers expect online. In 2010, consumers expect personality, transparency, and truly outstanding customer service from businesses online. Corporate America’s standard marketing techniques will not work in the social media environment – and it will take a major campaign’s failure to teach this lesson to everyone else.

The bottom line: Watch and learn from their mistakes.

4. The blog makes a comeback.

In 2008, Wired Magazine published an article about blogs being a thing of the past in this age of Flickr, Facebook and Twitter. How did the rest of the world respond? People kept blogging. Yes, the use of Twitter and Facebook grew exponentially, but forums and blogs have continued going strong.
Thanks to smart phones and integrated web technologies like Tumblr, blogs are easier to create, maintain, and promote more than ever before. One blogging trend I do predict is that blog entries will be a) more frequent, and b) a little shorter as more people will be posting blog entries using their smart phones.

The bottom line: If your company blogs regularly, keep going! Consistency and new, relevant content are key when it comes to gaining a good blog following.

3. You (the consumer) gain greater control over who advertises to you.

Websites like Twitter have given advertising control back to consumers. The average consumer is no longer at the mercy of spam campaigns and marketing that misses the mark. Instead, through tools like Twitter and Facebook fan pages, consumers can choose who markets to them. If a marketing campaign becomes aggressive or annoying, consumers can simply “unfollow” or “unfriend” with the click of a button.

The bottom line: Make sure that the way your business is reaching out through social media is meaningful and effective – and above all – find out what your target market is really looking for.

2. Advertisers will ask for less, but know more.

Gone are the days where you’ll be required to provide your name, address, phone number, favorite color, and rights to your firstborn child when you sign-up for a promotion through a company’s website. In 2010, marketing departments are growing more savvy. They’ll ask for less information from you up front – but the information they gain through other outlets will reveal much more. You can expect to be asked for your Twitter username or to become a fan on Facebook, which will provide much greater insight into your demographics, likes, and dislikes.

The bottom line: Is your company promoting your Twitter and Facebook accounts on your website? You should be.

1. Coupon sites will rule the year.

It seems technology and the economy have combined to create an amazing opportunity for consumers through an old standby – coupons. Who doesn’t like to save money? In several of the e-mail newsletters I subscribe to, I’ve seen more coupons used. There’s no doubt that a demand for coupons still exists. In fact, “Printable coupons” gets searched over 100,000 times per month.

The bottom line: Add coupons to your online marketing plan. It’s a great way to increase sales whether you run an online business or a brick and mortar store.

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