1. Rapid demise of Flash
Flash has two big problems in 2010: Apple (specifically, the iPhone and iPad) and HTML 5. I don’t see Apple relenting on their decision to enable Flash (specifically pre-compiled code), and users will start moving away from Flash sites out of necessity. Developers already like HTML 5, and it looks reasonably flexible to replace a lot of what Flash has historically need to be used for. YouTube is already using HTML 5 to deliver video. If the BBC iPlayer is using HTML 5 next year, let’s award 10/10 for this prediction!
2. Local local local
Local businesses will ‘never have had it better’. FourSquare, Facebook Pages and Places, and Google Places can all help local businesses. My local sandwich shop at work can now have a digital relationship with consumers for no cost. The rising use of smartphones will continue to provide more local results when searching (for example, type in hospital into Google on your smartphone – even at the moment it produces a list of local results).
3. LinkedIn to IPO
The Facebook for business, the most useful social network of them all if you want to hire staff, track companies, keep in touch with former colleagues, research ‘people’ will float in 2011.
4. More “paywalls” will increase the expectations of having to pay for content
Paywalls will undergo new branding, and together with mobile apps charging a subscription fee, the days of free content will start coming to an end. I’m not saying all sites will become pay only within a year, however expect to see at least another half dozen main titles beyond Murdoch’s empire start charging for their hard work.
5. Financial Services move into social networks
Financial services are walking around social networks scratching their heads wondering how to approach the biggest B2C of all time. I predict at least one Financial Services organisation will get it right, and everyone else will copy and improve. Expect some big announcements of huge Financial Services brands linking together with the big social networks.
6. Facebook to follow Compuserve even more
I’ve likened Facebook to the walled garden environment of Compuserve before. Expect to see ‘new’ features in Facebook like sending files to friends, Facebook wireless access points or even broadband provision (remember – Compuserve started life as an ISP), premium (paid entrance) Facebook Pages, offline browsing or a phone service (think Google Talk or Skype). We’ll all think it’s brilliant, and then read the Wikipedia Compuserve article and realise we’ve been here before. I also expect Facebook to break into China and reach 1 billion global users.
7. A clear leader will emerge in Interactive TV
Buying a new TV at the moment? Which Internet/Interactive TV standard are you going to buy? There are so many types available, it’s really confusing to consumers. By the end of the year (Christmas 2011) there will be one or two clear leaders. And expect to see a wireless keyboard lying on your sofa next year or 2012 instead of a simple remote.
8. Rapid rise in CPC
Ad CPC (Cost Per Click) rates are rapidly rising. Take the biggest network, Google AdWords. The cost per click of the following items as of 29/12 is:
- ebook – £0.55
- sandwich – £1.00
- drink – £1.00
- laptop – £1.25
- paper – £0.75
I estimate costs will go up at least 50% over the next year because of the growth of online businesses, and they will all want to advertise their products.
9. A $50 A5 eReader
eReaders will hit a critical mass when the price point is low enough. I estimate this to be around $50 (£35) because this is a reasonable price point where a consumer won’t be too upset at losing their eReader. At that point, schools will seriously consider replacing paper books with eReaders. Expect more mainstream books to only be available electronically.
10. App stores will decentralise, leading to confused customers (again)
The beauty of the iPhone’s app store is that all apps come through the store tested and vetted. It also provides a full backup solution if you regularly synchronise your iPhone with a computer. The Android Market is the opposite – it’s like anarchy! Apple are releasing their own full app store for Apple computers. Amazon will do something similar. You’ll have lots of app store logins, and it will all be confusing. In fact it will become so fragmented that it will be similar to how you buy software at the moment – one piece comes from Amazon, another from Apple, another from eBuyer, and so on.
11. The economy will continue to splutter
It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to work this one out. However the implications will be that brands will drive their marketing organisations to produce clearer ROI on campaigns (especially Facebook, to pay for the expensive UK based full time Community Managers). This is currently difficult to do, but marketing departments will drive analytics vendors to improve their products beyond just referrer stats. Despite huge funding increases at the end of 2010, Twitter will need to start generating some serious revenues, so expect ads on Twitter similar to the reach blocks on Facebook.
12. Chrome to far exceed Firefox market share
Chrome is here to stay, and will only increase market share when the new Google laptop (and tablet) arrives. Microsoft won’t back down on Internet Explorer either. Which leaves Firefox in third place, and will just slide further down because users won’t know why they’ll want a third browser on their computer.