Prediction 1: Search Will Falter In Q1
I have said this before, and many other people have picked up on it, but I think that the transition of Q4 2003 into Q1 2004 will see this take place. As more companies jump into the search marketplace in Q1, the CPC rates will be driven up by the simple law of supply and demand. As these rates increase, the conversion rates will maintain the same level of performance, and the result will be that many marketers will have a harder time making Search work during this period. Historically our industry has been notorious for short-term tests driving decisions in the long term and this translates to the concept that many marketers will jump out of search in fear that it is no longer the "silver bullet." Those of you who are reading this article will know this is not the case, and your campaigns will benefit from the drop in CPC rates, but this will most likely trend for a lag of one quarter. Q1 will probably see a reduction in search business and probably pick back up in Q2 2004.
Prediction 2: Online Music Sales Will Increase in Q1
2004, But Not Peak Until Q4 2004
New computers and a strong Q4 2003 for new releases will no doubt already have resulted in a startling increase in sales for such companies as iTunes and Napster, but people are starting to see the benefits of legal online music and this will start to drive more sales than expected earlier than many imagined. The biggest thing that will drive this growth will be the ease of purchasing single songs. My core prediction here is that people will use these services to sample songs from artists they want to hear, and true music fans will still jump to the store to buy the physical CDs. People are still married to their CDs, but downloads of singles and key tracks enable impulse buying to be less risky. You can sample and see if you like an album, then buy the whole thing. The problem with online music sales is that sense of immediate gratification of holding a product is lost. You do receive the song immediately, but the physical CD is still a prize that the current generation enjoys.
Prediction 3: The Lexicon Of Everyday Life Will Increase (Look Out Webster's Dictionary)
There are certainly a number of terms that are creeping into our daily life and some of these were brought up to me over the weekend, while some of them are terms that I hope will arise, just for fun. On Saturday I was having dinner with one of my co-workers and he mentioned that his son asked if he was "Tivo-ing" the movie that was on TV. I also read where people who referred to doing something over said they were going to "Control Z" what they just did. From my own personal experience I never would have expected that I would have a conversation with my father in which I used the words "Rip" and "Burn" to refer to anything, much less about how he was taking care of his record collection. These are simple things, but I like how they enter into our daily lexicon. We already "Google" each other and every topic, so why can't these come into heavier use? If "Bling-Bling" can make it in the dictionary, why not?
I only have these three predictions for right now, but I think everyone is curious to hear what predictions you might have, so jump on the Spin board and let us know what you think.