2010 Predictions Round-Up: eMarketer

Looking ahead

DECEMBER 31, 2009 – Over the course of December eMarketer weighed in with predictions for 2010 trends in several key areas. The following are a few highlights.

Seven predictions from eMarketer CEO Geoff Ramsey. Ad dollars will continue to accelerate their move from traditional to digital, though aggregate media spending will fail to return to former levels. Marketers will be emphasizing deeper engagement and earned media.

Video. More marketers will increasingly embrace online video advertising, supported by the twin boom of video streams and video ad networks. Further support for video ad growth will come from sites that offer a deeper catalog of professional, premium video content, which will need to introduce hybrid plans that combine subscription fees with advertising.

Usage. The number of Internet users will begin to stabilize, as penetration reaches 66% of the US population, or 205.3 million people. Year-over-year growth will slow from 3.3% in 2009 to 2.36% in 2013, reaching 70% penetration in four years. Meanwhile, estimates of broadband penetration may change based on new guidelines from the FCC.

Social media. Marketers will demand better ways to manage and measure the impact of earned media�the additional unpaid exposure a brand gets when consumers share about the brand online. Search will get more social in several ways: by including real-time content in results (e.g., Twitter posts), adding information from social network friends to results, and using collective information from other Web users to hone search relevance. These trends will yield new ad formats that may incorporate friends� viewpoints or interactions directly into the ad�and will raise new red flags among privacy advocates.

Convergence. The Consumer Electronics Show in early 2010 will usher in TVs with direct Internet connectivity, or with on-screen access to content portals such as YouTube, Blockbuster and Netflix. As online video becomes intertwined with the living-room TV experience, download and streaming services will take on a prominent role in the home entertainment ecosystem.

Mobile. Mobile ad spending will rise from $416 million in 2009 to $593 million in 2010 as more brands and agencies integrate mobile into their marketing mix. The fusion of mobile and social and the appetite for apps (among both consumers and brands) will continue unabated. In fact, location- and social-aware apps and utilities will be a key avenue for brands looking to engage consumers on the go.

Social commerce. Retailers will become more serious about trying to measure social media�s impact on sales. One question retailers will grapple with is how much a large fan base translates into sales or brand loyalty.

UK & Europe. Throughout Europe, the recession has helped increase the sophistication of Internet marketing. Though the final tally must wait until early next year, eMarketer expects UK online ad spending to show hard-won gains in 2009 and regain momentum in 2010 and beyond.

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