So by this stage, already one week into this gloomy, gloomy year, you’ll have read the millionth ‘what’s going to happen in 2013′ list, so I thought I’d approach the topic a little differently. This is my ‘what’s not going to happen in 2013′ list.
1) Tablets will not be the magic bullet for publishers. Only ever wishful thinking and hype on the part of publishers, 2013 will be the year that the industry collectively slumps in its chairs and reluctantly admits that it’s still harder than ever to make money from the printed word. This has been driven in part by the poor quality of ‘tablet editions’ – many are little more than a linked-up PDF. Another ominous sign was Murdoch’s decision to close his tablet paper, in The Daily, in December, after losing $30m a year.
The same goes for print books; while tablets are a great innovation for consumers, for publishers it only means tighter margins as Amazon executives rub their hands together with glee. But that’s not to say there’s not some success from the more esoteric operators. Legal publishers like Thomson Reuters are investing heavily in professional-grade e-readers, able to cope with the very specific demands of the professional services, such as dynamic searching and note making. We’ll see more innovation in this area I think, but not for a mainstream consumer audience.
2) Specialist social media PR agencies will no longer (generally) have competitive edge. Let’s face it, any account executive in any PR agency can set up a Facebook page or talk about twitter content plans. What was once the domain of the few is now firmly in the mainstream, at least when it comes to the agencyland bubble. However, what this means is that those specialist agencies are (or should be) looking beyond the obvious, and are moving into exciting and dynamic new areas; branded content, experiential, app development, SEO, all founded by great ideas that get people talking, whatever the medium. Success will become defined by those willing to pioneer, and a huge agency grey area will start to swirl.
3) SEO will not take over the PR/social media mix. For all the talk of SEO usurping content-led social media and PR, the latter discipline will continue to prove its worth on all fronts; from a creative, strategic and ROI basis. What we’ll see is a merge; traditional SEO agencies will continue to embrace great content and golden links from high traffic news sites, recruiting or acquiring PR talent and agencies in the process. Meanwhile, forward-thinking PR agencies will continue to hire SEO talent, to bolster the credibility and knowledge–base of their own offering.
4) Consumers will not tire of Facebook. Pah! As if anyone seriously thought that would happen. While Google+ continues to update its proposition and talk in hushed tones about how it will help search results, how many of us really use it? Or even enjoy the experience? While Facebook adoption might plateau in Europe, America and the Asia Pacific, there will be always be new growth areas. A bit like the tobacco industry. And it’s still the best, most dynamic and exciting way to reach and engage with a mainstream consumer audience. Facebook will increasingly become the lead-channel in integrated marketing campaigns. Maybe we’ll even see traditional websites and (gasp) the 30 second TV spot disappear. Probably not for a while, but one thing’s sure – no matter how many times Mark Zuckerberg sells our data or betrays us, we’ll keep coming back for more, me included.