Entering 2010, it is an opportune time to take a step back and identify the major Internet Marketing trends that will affect your business in the coming year. Internet Marketing is continually evolving, and 2010 will be no different. Expect change, expect innovation and expect new opportunities for your business.
In order to capitalize on the shifts in the Internet Marketing landscape to maximize your business growth in 2010, here is a list of the main Internet Marketing Trends that you should understand and address in your overall marketing planning for the coming year.
10 Internet Marketing Trends for 2010
Trend #1: Digital Portfolios
Whether you like it or not, you are in the process of developing a unique digital portfolio for your business. This may include your website, your blog and your email newsletter. It may include your Twitter feed, your Facebook page and your Yelp profile page. And even if you do not actively set out to create a digital identity, your customers will take care of this for you with customer and product reviews, blog comments and online forum discussions. Face it, digital footprints are everywhere now. Expect 2010 to be the year that successful companies stop conducting random digital tactics, and instead start developing holistic digital strategies that showcase the company's identity and tell the most effective story.
Trend #2: Customer Voice
Customer and product reviews are highly valued by consumers and have a major impact on purchasing decisions. Expect the customer voice to get louder and louder in 2010. Google Sidewiki is just one example of this, where Google enables the website visitor to leave comments on ANY website for others to view. Successful companies will strategize to monitor the digital landscape, listen to the customer voice and actively engage with customers. Further to this, they will actively solicit customer advice and guidance through crowdsourcing, online forums and other customer-feedback channels.
Trend #3: Google & Bing Innovation
Microsoft introduced their new search engine Bing in June 2009, and soon afterward entered into an agreement with Yahoo! to power the latter's future organic and paid search results. Bing keeps gaining incremental marketshare, while Yahoo!'s continually deteriorates. The innovation battle between Bing and Google has officially started. Expect intense competition between these two Internet powerhouses in 2010, and don't be surprised to see them introduce a dizzying array of experiments well beyond Search, including innovation in the usability, mobile and collaboration spaces.
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Trend #4: Real-Time Web
The pace of Internet Marketing quickened rapidly this past year, and there's no turning back. Twitter is all about real-time communication. Facebook and LinkedIn offer real-time updates. And this Internet Marketing trend became so strong, that even Google started incorporating real-time listings in its SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) earlier this month. The real-time web puts new demands on a small business, and successful companies will find a strategy and sustainable process that enables them to have an authentic, consistent real-time voice in the marketplace in 2010.
Trend #5: Mobile
The mobile market is exploding. According to the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), mobile marketing expenditures are expected to exceed $2 billion in 2010. Cell phone penetration in the US has surpassed cable TV, web access and home PCs. Nearly 50 million people in the US access the web on a mobile device. It's being predicted that by 2014 nearly 20 billion mobile apps will be downloaded yearly. Thirty-eight percent of youth already claim that mobile is more important to them than their wallet! There's been a lot of hype about mobile for years now, but the mobile web market is really here.
Trend #6: Location-Based Marketing
With the explosion of demand in the mobile market (see Trend #5: Mobile, above), location-based marketing is set to correspondingly ignite. We already see services like Loopt, Google Latitude and Yowza!! offering location-based marketing services. It's only a matter of time before Yelp starts dynamically generating real-time restaurant offers as you search for a local eating option on your iPhone. Although 2010 is sure to be a year of experimentation in this area, expect to see activity around location-based marketing, both to passers-by as well as to social networking groups, in the coming year.
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Trend #7: Social
Social marketing has also received a lot of hype. Facebook boasts over 300 million users, and roughly half of these log in every day. Twitter attracts more than 22 million unique visitors every month. YouTube has more than 100 million users in the US, and adds 20 hours of content every minute. Expect a maturing of the market in 2010, where social marketing becomes less a tactic or novelty and instead becomes more of an authentic process for businesses to listen, converse and engage with customers.
Trend #8: Video Blogs
According to comScore, more than 78% of the US Internet audience view online videos. As an example of successful video marketing to this audience, the Wine Library video blog attracts more than 100,000 visitors every month. Face it, people like video. And both online and mobile-based video usage is increasing. The technology to publish videos has been simplified greatly through The Flip, the iPhone 3GS and YouTube. Just as text-based blogs took off in popularity several years ago, expect a similar rise in video blogs and embedded videos in text-based blogs in 2010.
Trend #9: US Hispanic Market
Hispanics are the fastest-growing segment of the US population. And as they represent approximately 25% of new births, expect them to have an impact on your future business. Research points to Hispanics spending more time online than non-Hispanics and being more active online than non-Hispanics. Seventy-percent (70%) of Hispanic Internet users describe themselves as "frequently" or "always" online while watching TV. To reach the US Hispanic market, remember that 88% of US Hispanics learn Spanish as their first language. Expect savvy businesses in 2010 to accommodate this fast-growing market with localized websites and localized online marketing.
Trend #10: Marketing Integration
The most successful small businesses in 2010 are going to be those that integrate their marketing efforts. Consumers and business buyers simply want to buy something, or solve a problem, or achieve a goal. They do not differentiate between online and offline like marketers tend to do. So in 2010 it will be important for businesses to understand this critical point about their customers and start aligning with the actual purchase process, which is much more of a holistic, messy, zig-zag process rather than a sterile straight line with one message, one call-to-action and one "buy now" click.
Additional Internet Marketing Trends
The above list identifies 10 of the main Internet Marketing trends for 2010, but of course there will be others. What additional trends do you envision for 2010? What Internet Marketing initiatives and tactics will you be employing in 2010? What are your upcoming Internet Marketing priorities? Let the StartupNation community hear your thoughts by including your comments in the space provided to the right of this article.
And if you are interested in comparing these trends to last year's predictions, read 20 Internet Marketing Trends for 2009.
Regardless of the Internet Marketing that you do, here's wishing you a highly successful 2010!