"Optimization Algorithm": too many companies used this term in 2009. Companies came out of the woodwork to help us "optimize" our campaigns with an automated solution on a special proprietary, mathematical formula that no one else had -- but not many were able to deliver on the promise they made. That's not to say they won't figure it out in 2010, but in 2009 this was an easily overhyped, overused term.
Another term that was tossed around and used to describe just about everything was "platform." In 2009, everyone wanted to be a platform. No one wanted to be a service -- and absolutely no one wanted to be a Web site. Being a Web site was soooo 2002. Being a platform was everyone's desire, with sites like Facebook leading the charge and a nation of emulators following behind. In 2010 I hope that people will be comfortable with who they (or their business) are, and realize that if you're a Web site, or a service, that's not so bad. You don't have to be a platform to be considered a success!
Another overused buzzword in 2009 was "data." Now, data is not a buzzword in and of itself, but the overuse of the term made it so ubiquitous as to be annoying. Everyone had "new data" that would improve targeting, or "new data" that would provide unique insights.
The fact is that new data is only as useful as the old data is ineffective. What that means is that if you build a better mousetrap, but the old mousetrap that everyone uses is working fine, then nobody is going to buy the new mousetrap. In 2010 I'm certain that data will be of continued importance, but I hope that companies will take the time to determine exactly what to do with the data and shoot for impactful usage, not iterative, incremental improvements. Use the data for better ad delivery as well as targeting based on recency, not just to give us deeper demographic information.
"Apps" were all the rage in 2009, and they look to be even more so in 2010, but as apps continue to play a role, the cream will rise to the top. The challenge has been made, the gauntlet has been thrown and the development of apps is getting better. No more stick figures fighting; instead, it's higher-resolution, detailed graphics. It's about useful apps; no more expensive red blinking lights.
The term "recession" was thrown around in 2009 as a reason for everyone's unhappiness, but that is a term that I won't allow in 2010. The term "recovery" is going to get overused as well, but the fact is that we drive our own success. Our efforts in this business as well as in others is what drives the growth of the economy. The more effort we put in and the more jobs we create, the better things are going to get. There may be 10% unemployment because a number of jobs have been cut over the last 18 months, but our industry is a place where those jobs can be recreated -- and it's up to us to make it happen.
In 2010 I want the buzzwords to be related to positive steps in our business -- like "increased shareholder value" and "competitive job environment." I want to see 2010 begin the decade as the decade of growth, but managed growth this time (no bubbles). I think it can happen, and all because of people like you.