By Zach Coelius
Wow, for being such an amazingly good year for Triggit, I sure whiffed on my predictions for 2012. Somehow, I missed across the
board and yet the last 12 months have been the best we have ever had. What can I say other than I hope I do just as well for 2013.
Here is what I would say a year later:
“1. Google. 2012 is going to be the year of Google just like it was in 2010 and 2011. The boy and girls over there have built an amazing stack, market leading exchange and powerful cross channel capabilities that are simply unrivaled. The last few years have been about building and now they have it and it is awesome. In 2012 we are going to see them start to flex their muscles and do things that causes the market to realize just how insanely powerful they have become. Examples could include a big deal for access to advertise in TV inventory with someone like DISH or a cable company; A massive multi hundred million dollar plus direct deal with a major advertiser for multiple channels; a deal leveraging their Motorola purchase to do something to bring IPTV to set top boxes everywhere or something else equally crazy. Google will be big and powerful in 2012 and it will scare people.”
One word: Facebook. 2012 was clearly the year of Facebook in pretty much every category and yet I didn’t mention them once in last year’s predictions. I really have no excuse for missing this one. The writing was on the wall and I simply ignored it. Massive fail.
“2. Yahoo, AOL, MSFT. In 2011 the world gave these three the chance to become competitors to Google in the display world and they largely disappointed. It is not that they didn’t do anything, they did some things, but compared to the thousands of engineers and intense focus Google has on winning they were bystanders in comparison. 2012 will be the year that someone steps up to compete and my bet is that it won’t be the three amigos. By the end of the 2012 at least one of these companies will no longer be independent as it gets eaten up by whoever emerges as the Google competitor. And at least one of these companies will no longer be relevant as it either quits the market altogether or is simply no longer seen as a viable competitor. 2012 will not be kind to any other these companies unless something dramatically changes.”
I would say that I deserve half points on this one. First, it is clear MSFT is capitulating in the ad space as it tries to sell off Atlas and exit the sector. It is not apparent what Yahoo will do yet, but there is a chance Marissa and Co. will be doing something big in Ad Tech. AOL is clearly active in the space and they are rolling out a lot of interesting things, but so far they are hardly a Google competitor. And I clearly nailed this: “2012 will be the year that someone steps up to compete and my bet is that it won’t be the three amigos.” Not sure what I was thinking to say this and yet to completely ignore FB.
“3. 2012 will be the year of deep data. For the last three years we in the industry have all worked hard to make data work and we have made a ton progress. Yet as far as we have come, the data we use is still pretty thin and it often represents a single view into what are very complex user behaviors. The next step will be the process of unlocking the deep multi-dimensional data that we have on these users. This means integrating CRM data, offline data, purchasing data and complex demographics to build a much more nuanced and accurate targeting model. 2012 is when all the hard work we have been putting into overcoming these hurdles finally comes to fruition.”
This is a hard prediction to properly grade. We certainly made a large amount of progress in working with big and deep data in 2012, but it is not clear that it was one of the most important themes of the year. I would call this largely a miss.
“4. Multi-Channel. 2012 Looks like it will be shaping up to be a year kind of like we had in 2011 in display when it comes to video and mobile. The groundwork and plumbing has been laid and both in-stream video advertising and mobile are about to explode through RTB. Next year will be a big one for both.”
Nope. Once again the expectation of mobile and video as advertising mediums far exceeded the result.
“5. The Ad Network will be left for dead by the end of the year. The ad networks have been dying a slow death over the last three years and the smartest among them sold, diversified and got out of the business last year. By the end of 2012 it will be over and those left clinging to hope will see it extinguished by the cruel finality of the market.”
I would call this a win expect it is such an easy prediction that it is almost a gimme. Ad networks are quitting the space or dying left and right as ad exchanges eat their lunch. We will see this same trend continuing in 2013 as they slowly wither away.
“6. Congress will finally do something in 2012 and it scares the hell out of me to think about what it could be. Legislating the internet seems to be something congress is finally ready to do as we have seen with SOPA this fall. In 2012 they are going to pass something and given their ignorance it will do a ton of damage. My figures are crossed that it is not too bad.”
Nada. I am very happy to have completely whiffed here. Once again Congress blessedly didn’t pass any legislation regarding the internet. I will continue holding my breath.
“7. The big offline media, cable, and telecommunications companies will get into the internet battle in a big way. By the end of the year it will be clear that they are in this game to play hardball.”
Ha. Who was I kidding? Besides a few scattered moves, 2012 was like every year before it with the offline companies sucking their thumbs as they become increasingly strategically vulnerable.
“8. The Ad Agencies will continue to leave their heads firmly in the sand as their service businesses are automated. Somehow agency folk have a remarkable capacity to rationalize, which is an absolute wonder. In 2012 they will continue to do nothing as their world continues to be upset by technology.”
In retrospect I made a mistake to lump all the agencies together. They are clearly a diverse pack and some are doing a lot more than others. Generally, though, I would still say this statement is true.
“9. Adobe, IBM, Epsilon, Experian, Axciom, Amazon, Ebay, SAP, Oracle and others will continue their inexorable march to automate marketing. 2012 will be a big year for these companies as they make big moves and establish the new structure for marketing. At this point I can’t see anything in the way of these players becoming a huge and dominating force in marketing.”
Step by step the above companies are continually making progress to own the future of marketing. With acquisitions, new initiatives and focus, these guys are getting it done.
“10. The online advertising business will continue to grow like a weed and we will all enjoy the ride.”
A gimme, but 2012 was a great year for our business.
“11. And finally 2012 will be a year of big winners and big losers in the ad tech space. Some folks are going to have huge wins as our good friends at Admeld did last year and some folks are going to get knocked out of game. By the end of the year the Lumascape will be a memory of an innovation cycle that was a wondrous thing to behold but that is now much more consolidated and rationalized.”
I wouldn’t say that I crushed with it with this prediction. 2012 was a solid year for consolidation, but the innovation cycle is clearly still in full effect and we are hardly at the end.