It's that time of year again.
Digital prognosticators beg their data scientists to run predictive algorithms to determine the likelihood of the coming year's events. With almost zero accountability and no proclivity toward self-serving predictions (wink), I offer my look at the headlines from the year ahead.
1. Programmatic buying eclipses the 50% mark. Audience buying, BT and RTB have already gone mainstream for marketers. You don't need a Magic 8 Ball to see that 2013 will be the year that the machines take over for good. The last of the premium publisher holdouts (Turner, ESPN, etc.) will join the fray by creating their own "private markets" and will become exchanges by another name. Fewer lunches at The Breslin, more high-speed media-trading servers!
2. Mobile online video consumption tops PC viewing (and approaches TV). Tablets, smartphones and E-readers are rapidly becoming the go-to devices for streaming video. Faster wiFi, cheaper 4G services and better video-compression solutions are helping drive the "video anywhere" explosion -- eliminating the "lean in" experience of a laptop. A recent Nielsen study saw mobile video consumption increase by 25.9% year-over-year, while TV viewing dropped 1.8%, albeit from different bases (TV still has a 1.5x lead). This device gap will erode over the year and we will enter 2014 with a new video champion across the board.
3. Marketers get serious about leveraging their data. First-party data has never had more potential in the digital marketing world. With CRM on board, advanced retargeting and first-party data modeling will all gain steam as marketers look to differentiate their consumer outreach by employing their vast amount of owned data. Offline data companies, which have performed "list modeling" for direct marketers for decades, will scramble to keep up with the rapid pace of data-driven digital marketing advancements. M&A will be their answer.
4. A major magazine publisher goes digital only -- with a twist. After years of declining revenue and readership, a top consumer publisher group stops the presses and goes tablet only. Google underwrites the whole endeavor by distributing tablets to current subscribers (filled with Google ads, of course) and finally gets knee-deep in the content business. Shouts of "revolutionary" and "traitor" are bandied about in equal measure by the publisher's rivals as they secretly wish they were extended the lifeline. Fashion editors are suddenly seen in great numbers descending on SFO and looking for black sedans to take them to Mountain View.
5. The advertising battle lines are redrawn. The digital marketing war among Google-MSN-Yahoo-AOL will seem quaint as "rogue" ad warriors create chaos with new offerings. That little online bookstore, Amazon, along with a rapidly evolving Facebook, will shake up the balance of ad power in a serious way. Ownership of the consumers' shopping and social life will trump any connection that content can create, while "traditional" digital media scrambles to catch up.
6. The industry determines "Big Data" isn't Big Enough. After much confusion over how much data is actually "Big," and who really has enough to be part of the club, a consortium of leading data companies agree that the term has been overused and must be revised. The group agrees the buzzword of 2013 will be "Ginormous Data" after turning down "F'ing Huge," "Much Bigger than A Breadbox" and "My Brain Hurts" Data. IBM claims that it trademarked "Ginormous Data" in 1968 after a carpool of scientists missed the turn for Armonk and ended up in Woodstock. Lawsuits are settled amicably.
2013 will be a VC-fueled, M&A-frenzied, non-Facebook-IPO kind of year, where at least two new LumaScapes will be introduced (digital fast food delivery companies and the cosmetic surgery app ecosystem are rumored to be on tap) and numerous new conferences will be launched (The Digital Ad Targeting Tech Behavioral Mobile Social Summit in Malibu looks promising). I look forward to a fun-filled year working with you all!