This certainly won’t sound original but 2010 is going to be all about leveraging social media in the local space (or leveraging local if you’re a social media site). And mobile. Mobile. Mobile. Mobile.
If you’re a traditional media publisher:
- Distribution: gaining exposure for yourself and your and advertisers via Facebook, Twitter and otherwise through social media “extenders” and tools (e.g., AgendiZe)
- Using social media APIs, Facebook Connect, etc. to bring social media functionality to destination sites
- Reputation management: adding services that help simplify and expose where SMB data and reviews exist online (see Marchex, GetListed, ClickFuel)
See the related article: The New Local Product Suite Now in Focus.
Mobile obviously becomes a huge theme and issue for local publishers and entrepreneurs in 2010. Did I mention mobile?
I believe 2009 was the “year of mobile” — at least from a validation standpoint. Mobile is the “bridge” between online and offline. The perfect metaphor for that is the barcode scanner in the store for reviews and price information online.
But mobile is paradoxical: barriers to entry are low and it enables small companies to emerge with popular (esp. niche) LBS apps but it’s hard for most traditional publishers to do well in the segment because they’re not creative enough in most cases. And then there are the really big players.
For example, Google has moved very effectively to gain and consolidate a leadership position in “mobile search” (the definition of search is expanding in mobile; see Google Goggles). Google may own much more local traffic on the handset than it already does on the PC. How do you compete? You thoughtfully throw lots of stuff against the refrigerator: apps + mobile Web, diversified mobile strategy, risk taking and experimentation with brand and non-branded sites/content.
I know I said this last year, but online I think we’ll see more location precision and sophistication around local ad targeting. Local stops having to sell itself and everybody’s doing it at the national and regional level at least as part of the campaign; mobile has made clear the value of location to most of these folks. Yet everyone’s doing geotargeting in the context of a more complicated market: more platforms (e.g., search, display, social media, traditional, mobile).
In addition: M&A. Yelp may have been the first taste of a much more M&A-friendly 2010, with IPOs for some.
On the advertiser side there are still the same old, same old bottlenecks (confusion, fragmentation, lots of people coming at SMBs) but the dollars are much more willing to move now. Holding on to the traditional media spend may prove quite a bit more difficult in 2010.
I also predict we’re going to seem some very competitive stuff coming out of Facebook and the Twitter API in local. That’s easier for me to see from third party apps built on Twitter data. But Facebook has some tricks up its sleeve (including on the advertiser side).
There’s more to talk about regarding other media, specifically around TV and cable companies getting squeezed over time as consumers need them less and less because they can get Netflix, Hulu, iTunes and the Internet more generally in the living room.
This is all I can manage to get out right now.