Tis the season to be jolly and I have been spreading the Bublé Christmas cheer around the office for the last couple of weeks (even if Jon has had to put his headphones in a couple of times).
While it may be festive and fun at the moment, the new year will soon be upon us to start the process again. What will happen in 2013 we wonder? Well considering 13 is an unlucky number for some, as in life I predict there may be some unfortunate events that will fall upon us and the industry. So maybe in a slightly pessimistic fashion I bring you mine and the teams predictions for 2013 (while eating mince pies and wearing Christmas jumpers, so we don't depress ourselves too much)
My predictions for 2013:
-There will be a lawsuit because of Pinterest
I would hazard a guess (as I'll admit that even I'm not a hundred percent sure) most people don't understand the rules around copyright, in relation to the picture sharing site Pinterest . I imagine that some time in the near future someone will inadvertently upload or pin a picture they shouldn't have. The owner of said picture will contact Pinterest (and surely by now Pinterest will have the money for some big ol lawyers) so, if the issue cannot be resolved it won't be them that will be sued but the poor sap who likes pinning pictures of chickens.
- A new social media platform will arrive on the scene and leave just as quickly
Heard of Path (one of Nic's favourites) or Pheed? Think you'll still remember the name this time next year? My guess is probably not. So on that note my second unlucky prediction will be that another all singing and dancing social network that sounds awesome and is raved as the next big thing will die a slow and social death. Reasons most likely being A. it's probably making you pay to use it or B. because our lives and time are already taken up with Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and you know, life.
The retailer will cross the line by offering a voucher in-store for the past 5 items this customer (or someone else in their household) viewed online, some of which might even alert this person that their partner has been unfaithful. People tend to be a bit more liberal with their viewing habits in the privacy of their own home and may shop for things they wouldn’t necessarily wish to be seen buying in person. Mass panic will break out after the offended shopper alerts the BBC and people start tweeting about whether it is in fact a breach of privacy or just really clever marketing.
Something similar happened to a customer from US-based retailer Target via direct mail after in-store purchase patterns indicated that a young customer was pregnant before her father even knew. This story was reported by Forbes back in February and it’s certain something similar will happen online in 2013.
In a nutshell, Google will be watching over us. So be good.
- Google Analytics will stop giving us any useful information at all about specific keywords used in organic search. This already started happening to an extent about a year ago when Google started reporting the data as ‘(not provided)’ when users were logged in to their Google accounts during the search (otherwise known as SSL Search). I predict that ALL data relevant to specific organic search terms will cease to be available in Google Analytics in 2013.
At present you can still get specific details about organic search terms for those folks who were not logged in when they searched. Google claims the main reason they stopped showing this information about their users is to protect their privacy, however, there are several other theories out there as to why they may have started doing this. Two of the most popular conspiracy theories include: 1) Google wants us to spend more money on AdWords rather than perfecting our ability to get traffic for free and 2) Google would like to start charging users a subscription fee to use Analytics and the best way to do this would be to offer enhanced reporting capabilities (such as insight into organic search terms) in an Enterprise version, which costs £'s. There are several other theories, all of which I think are a bit rubbish but out of the two shown above I think the first one is fairly unlikely in the grand scheme of things and the second one is actually quite possible. Maybe I’ll save that one as my prediction for 2014.
-Jon will finally admit that Google+ is not going to overtake Facebook. However hard we try to keep it up to date with new and exciting stories, it never gets the same interaction as other social media platforms. We're not sure why. Maybe because (as Tash has already said) there are just too many out there, but I would wonder if it will survive the next year, after all, does anyone apart from Jon take any notice of it?
- Nic will have moved her desk into the meeting room by the end of January. Our music taste and (occasional) humorous banter just doesn't fit with her concentration levels and even Mr Dog slinks in there to get some peace.
- Stupid / gullible people will dominate my Facebook Timeline
Idiots will continue to demonstrate their enormous fuckwittery by copying and pasting what amounts to chain letters into their Facebook status updates. We will continue to see “Isn't this a heart-breaking picture of a sickly looking child? If you don’t share it on your Facebook wall it means you think cancer is brilliant”, or “I don’t want Facebook nosing through my private stuff and neither should you, so paste this into your status update and that will fix your privacy settings”. Both of these are as effective as each other in the fight against a horrible disease and in protecting the user’s privacy, i.e. not at all.
- A ‘celebrity’ will leave a Twitter suicide note.
Even if they’re not well known before they off themselves, the first person to give it some “Goodbye cruel world” in 140 characters or less, including the hashtag #suicide will get lots and lots of column inches. These will probably mainly be in the Daily Mail and Daily Express accompanied by some “Ban this filth!” type of headlines. These will continue until another ‘celebrity’ appears in swimwear on a beach accessible by a long lensed pap.
- Au Revoir Ipod
How many of us have a mobile phone that has decent quality mobile playback? With the ever expanding mobile device market and the increasingly number of tasks that they can now do, I don’t think that the market of stand-alone MP3/MP4 players will be around for too much longer. Even children as young as 10 now have mobile phones for “safety” and that is the age when we want an MP3 player. So, with a phone at that young age, they’ll just end up putting music on it.
Admittedly, it is handy to have an iPod or MP3 player separate to my phone, purely because of the battery life on an MP3. But how much longer will that be for? There’s a large number of places you can now charge your mobile device in public places (Airports, trains, etc) and research in mobile battery life is increasing resulting in a better battery for mobiles. Gone are the days when we used to carry an MP3 stick with a couple of spare AA batteries and here arrives the day when a mobile phone can do anything – also soon to replace toilet paper.
- 2013 will be the year of the absolute Tech boom - (You haven’t seen nothin' yet!).
Technology will advance at such a rate in the next year with all the new research and baloney that some Asian (got to be Asian…) company will create some everyday tech (dishwasher, washing machine and helping robots etc) with minds of their own that will learn the way we cook, eat and live our general day to day lives. We will also be able to speak to them and have them post social updates e.g. “Dishwasher! – Tweet “just done the washing, loving the dirty dishes.” Eventually, they’ll learn that they are being incredibly undervalued and disobey our commands. They will also “Frape” our Facebook or Twitter and that will be end of Social Networking as we know it.
(That all being said, none of it will be relevant if the Mayan calender is anything to go by)
- A website you know will get fall out of Google
With Panda and Penguin algorithm updates ongoing, those clever bods at Google will surely have another beastly update in store in 2013. Don’t get me wrong, Google algorithm updates are fantastic - for real people and the quality of the web - their algorithms are slowly cleaning up the industry in a very positive way.
But at least one website you use regularly will have used quick fix, black hat techniques rather than having confidence that a great site is the best long term investment and will fall out of Google next year. Ouch.
- The End of Social Media is Nigh
Social media that is without rhyme, reason or purpose will (I hope) cease to exist. Although Twitter and Facebook are ‘free’ to use, the time investment can be significant unless there’s a real business benefit. In 2013, businesses are going to wake up to the need to understand the time/benefit of social and are going to want to target their efforts more effectively so that they have a whole picture of how search, social and content improve conversions and get more enquiries and customers.
After all, who really has the time to tweet when they've got a business to run, unless it’s actually helping to build that business?
Though none of this will truly matter if, like Chris said, the Mayans were correct and the world ends on the 21st December (good reason to open the Christmas presents early, no?)
The Noisy Little Monkeys
Thanks to Eric The Fish, Andreas Eldh, kris krüg, Tam Tam and Mike McCune for being super and putting their images under the creative commons license, allowing us to illustrate our points with pictures.