2009 Web Predictions - Website Magazine on Social Media, Ecommerce, Internet Advertising, Affiliate Marketing and SEO

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2008 has drawn to a close, and many Web professionals are wondering what next year will bring. It may seem arbitrary to make predictions, but the Web business is not a static industry and forecasting often shines the light on our practical hopes for the future. Website Magazine’s predictions for 2009 reveal that in spite of our current economy, the Web as a whole will continue to see strong growth and investment over the next year - a prediction that many industry analysts don't necessarily agree with. As companies large and small see the value in genuine participation, it will pave the way for even more adoption over the coming year.

Without further ado, here are Website Magazine's 2008 Web Predictions:
Please note: You are encouraged to comment below and share your thoughts on what 2009 will bring to your business and the Web as a whole. Just log in to comment.

A Major Social Media Shift
There will be a noticeable, albeit slight uptick in social media usage (using weblogs and leveraging online networking sites, for instance) due to increased and continued layoffs across all business sectors. Few small enterprises, however, will effectively master social media, despite claims that it's possible. Genuine creativity and original thought will have their time in the social spotlight, for sure, but those instances will be few and far between and overshadowed by massive social media campaigns initiated by those with the biggest budgets and resources. A serious backlash at communities like Digg and other social media sites might occur as messages from the less connected are drowned out. This may create an opportunity for social micro-networks to establish more active communities or move to where their voices can more clearly be heard. Should things get worse for the economy as a whole, many social sites will attempt - ultimately in vain - to charge their communities for participation. This will lead to major social media shifts, such as more robust niche communities or participants abandoning social networking altogether.

E-Commerce and Internet Retailers Get Smart
Once reserved for only the most elite Internet retailers, small and mid-tier merchants will embrace innovation in the form of recommendation technologies and alternative payments, which both increase their margins and the profit of their enterprises. Those shopping cart providers that do not provide even the most basic merchandising and marketing tools will see an exodus from their platforms to more sophisticated offerings. Smaller start-up merchants will increasingly turn to open-source e-commerce solutions who will be forced to provide support, creating an opportunity for the open-source community as a whole to monetize development. Technologies will also become more openly available, which will enable Internet retailers to efficiently manage feedback across multiple networks with ease to help ensure the integrity of their brands and secure mindshare with their customers over the long term. While the record-breaking growth and profits of past years will not be met in 2009, gains in technology efficiency  will  force the e-commerce industry and Internet retailers to get smart and creative.

Internet Advertising Will Rebound - Big Time
While Internet advertising growth has slowed on the whole, an increase in spending is expected for 2009, thanks to advances in geo-targeting, greater local advertising opportunities and a general "me too" attitude among small local merchants who refuse to go down without a fight. This presents an opportunity for search marketing agencies (on both the SEO and SEM sides) to create new revenue streams and further drive growth in the future.

SEO (As You Know It) Will Change: Personalization and customization of search results will send the majority of SEOs into a tizzy, as Google makes major adjustments and tweaks to its search results to place more emphasis on how consumers use the search results. In the continual effort to play catch-up with Google, both Microsoft and Yahoo! will make notable in-roads with behavioral advertising. The behavioral insights gained will slowly begin to influence search results and steal market share from Google.

Affiliate Marketers Will Reap What They Sow
As Internet merchants find ways to reduce costs, a shakeout of massive proportions will negatively impact the opportunities of many affiliate marketers. Affiliates who develop their own active communities - not just a sales-driven message - will be the only ones left standing in the end. Others will be forced to innovate through the use of application development and the creation of vibrant content communities based on paid subscriptions and features. Affiliates will experience lower payouts overall in 2009. It's already started. Best Buy reduced their affiliate payout by 75% for two of its best-selling product lines (laptops and Nintendo Wii.) Expect others to follow suit. Marketers will also receive closer scrutiny from social communities where the opportunity to push messages has been open for far too long and open to abuse. Social networks will crack down through new assessment policies and remove participants which are not abiding by community-established guidelines.

Video Will Become Truly Viable for Marketers
Online video is continuing its explosive growth, thanks to everyone with a recording device and an idea. It's no different for marketers, except that promotional opportunities are set to boom. Video delivery is getting more sophisticated, evidenced by YouTube's ability to broadcast HD videos. Existing technologies allow for minor video customization, but new abilities will go even further. Companies like ZunaVision are taking product placement and custom in-video advertising to a new level - blurring the lines between ads and content, without impacting the viewer experience. And for now, it's free - leveling the playing field for advertisers of all sizes. It's up to marketers to get creative and have their videos sought-after, rather than eating up valuable hours forcing videos through social networking and bookmarking sites. User embeds are easier than ever, and no social profile is complete without a good video. BlendTec is perhaps the best example out there.

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VickiQ 12-24-2008 11:41 PM

I just love this magazine so what I'm getting from this is the little guy hasn't got a chance unless there hooked up.I beleave in fallow the leader and thats what I'm going to do.The internet is here to stay and itss only going to get bigger  and better those that are able to hang in there will be blessed.There are alot of great programs for people to get in and be set for the rest of there lives the key is to not give up and beleave in your abilaty to make it work for you.I have not made anything yet I will I know I will. Fallow the Leader!!!! VickiQ

ZakariyyaS 12-30-2008 3:13 AM

Like its always said: When you rub shoulders with those who know, they put you in the know. Website magazine is the infosource for everything that has to do with eCommerce. The A-Z link to a successful know-how in internet marketing success. If you are not in on it, do so now. You'll see what I'm talking about.

DiannaK 12-30-2008 9:09 AM

Actually what I got out from the article is that the "little guy" isn't out, but has a larger chance than ever with both geo-targeting and creative video implementation.  You don't have to have a huge budget, but you do need to be smart about what interests people.  Utilizing newer technologies and video optimization coupled with selective advertising is a smarter way to begin.

Being "In the Know" helps us to communicate these changes coming to our clients, but that should not exclude the small to mid size business man.  Staying aware with excellent resources like Website Magazine is one way to always back up a point when you are explaining services to a potential or existing client when helping to  develop their social and traditional SEO strategies for their site.

J Boyer 12-30-2008 6:39 PM

Of all my online subscriptions, Website Magazine seems to always write about something I have to stop and read.  2009 predictions were interesting, and some of them are particularly relevant to my business.  thanks!

JeanN 01-02-2009 12:26 PM

What is geo-tagging?

JeanN 01-02-2009 12:29 PM

Sorry. What is geo targeting and the meaning of more local advertising?

StevenF 01-02-2009 4:20 PM

I think it is an unfortunate that online social media may someday be overtaken by the large corporate machine.  The whole point is to let people connect in new ways - not to sell them products in new ways.

MonikaT 01-04-2009 1:04 PM

I am so grateful to have found Website Magazine. This sure Shortens my Learning Curve.

This article will certainly help in keeping us on our Toes for 2009.

Thank you so much for this valuable information.


jcibere 01-06-2009 6:01 PM

We're a light green marketing company meaning that our marketing strategies have to make good business sense for our clients. We basically come from the print/PR side and have been exploring how to monetize the web. We're doing this for both ourselves and our clients and it seems that the only money making sites are the ones selling you the secrets of making money on the internet. Any links to unbiased sites with real business models would be helpful...    

04-30-2009 1:21 PM

Pingback from  Web and Search in 2009 « Web Globalization

12-23-2009 9:56 AM

Pingback from  2009 Predictions revisited

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