Predictions for 2011
As the digital publishing landscape changes, I’d like to offer a few predictions for the coming year. Feel free to add your own.
The iPadding of Publishing
The iPad has signaled a major shift in digital publishing. Its unveiling in 2010 was nothing short of milestone material. And by the end of the year, there are a handful of imitators crowding the marketplace.
As I’ve indicated before, this signals a movement back towards the corporate publisher and away from the independent self-publisher.
Prediction: The handheld market will boom in 2011, and the major players will be (a) hosted by corporate backers or (b) indie who were ones smart enough to be on the ground level early.
Second Prediction: This will bring about a second wave of Keenspot-like webcomic consortiums that will try to mimic large publishers (much like Keenspot tried to build on the concept of newspaper syndicates).
Twitter vs. Facebook: Only One Will Stand
Twitter and Facebook are the heavy hitters of social media, and that’s a high-stakes game. Both would love to turn the other into the next MySpace. Both have unveiled updated interfaces in the last part of 2010, and that’s only the beginning.
Prediction: It’s a horse race. Twitter has the advantage of simplicity, and Facebook has breathtaking complexity. Who will win? Will one absorb the other? I give Facebook the edge.
Age of the longform comic?
App-comics provide a decided advantage to longform work. And as the average Internet user becomes more savvy, it becomes much easier to rely on tools like RSS to keep readers without a daily update schedule. All of this spell good things to cartoonists working in a format that is decidedly not-strip and non-humor.
Prediction: The big news in 2011 is going to be made by the storytellers; not the joke-tellers.
Web advertising surge
U.S. Internet advertising revenues hit $6.4 billion in the third quarter of 2010, representing the highest quarterly result ever for the online advertising industry and a 17% increase from the same period in 2009. The third quarter 2010 revenue estimates were announced today by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PwC US.
Google Inc. reeled in more Internet advertising during the holiday shopping season and approached $2 billion in quarterly profit for the first time, providing the strongest sign yet that Internet search leader has shaken off the recession’s doldrums. [MSNBC]
After an impressive holiday shopping season, retailers and vendors are going to have a little money to spend in the new year. Moreover, they’re likely to b a little more confident. And in some cases, they might have reason to believe that their healthy sales in the fourth quarter were due to the money they sank into Web-based advertising. Banner ads have matured considerably from the days of animated GIFs, and many marketers are going to be exploiting their capacity for gaining mindshare.
Prediction: An overall rise in Web-based ad spending, but not necessarily in the share that webcartoonists capture. Advertisers — and more importantly, ad servers — are still relying on metrics provided by spidering, to decide which sites get the choice ads. And that means sites with several pages of original text content will be placed at a higher value.
Second Prediction: The first decade in webcomics was measured in Pageviews. By the end of the fourth quarter of 2011, we’ll see a new analytic that measures return visitors in some way — most likely a statistic that combines overall traffic with the portion that is repeat visitors.
This will happen as Madison Avenue takes a greater interest in Web advertising and brings to bear concepts — like mindshare — that have been lucrative for billboards and newspapers for decades.
In other words, analytics will begin to track sites that have high numbers of visitors who come back several times a week. This is because repeated imagery on these sites will burn into the memories of a concentrated target market of people. This will bring a little respect to the importance of sites like webcomic sites.
Third Prediction: Geo-tagging will become a common term. Project Wonderful already provides a way for advertisers to direct their ads to specific continents. Look for that kind of targeting to get much more sharp — like neighborhood sharp.
Fourth Prediction:If you’re not running Google AdSense today, you will be by this time next year.