Whither Online Advertising and Media in 2007?

I sat down with the ClickZ editorial staff to brainstorm the where interactive advertising and marketing are going in 2007. Our musings were fueled by the overabundance of cookies, chocolates, nuts, candy, and sugarplums that have been pouring into the office all week. So herewith, our somewhat wired predictions and prophecies for 2007; some serious, some silly, and some cynical.

Analytics tools get integrated and interoperational The first tools are already emerging into the market that actually let you look at cross-channel online marketing efforts and make some sense of them. Expect more of these, and more ease and clarity in cobbling together all those numbers from various online channels like e-mail, CRM and Web analytics. New solutions won’t be ideal (they never are), but they’ll make many online marketers’ lives considerably easier next year.

Media measurement crosses channels By the same token, media measurement companies are doing the cross-channel dance. These efforts will hardly mature next year, but it will be easier to understand consumer behavior between media channels, such as TV and online.

Online campaigns rejigged for offline Since the beginning of online advertising, campaigns have tended to flow one way: from offline to online. Next year, more campaigns originally conceived for the Web are going to pop up in other channels — rather than the other way around.

Agencies and interactive shops will have to un-silo search from the ghetto it’s occupied, much as they’ve had to invite interactive to join the grown-ups’ table. They’ll start to figure out how to do this in 2007, but the job won’t be over as the year draws to a close.

YouTube: Love It. Hate It. The major media companies that have spent the past year launching ambitious online video channels will continue to despair over the YouTube phenomenon. In private, they’ll wring their hands and gnash their teeth. They’ll sue. They’ll make nice (and marketing deals). They’ll launch projects intended to put a dent in YouTube’s market share. It won’t dent, of course. It’s Google.

Google’s presence will start to be felt in channels other than online, primarily in radio and print advertising. But don’t expect this to take off like a rocket in 2007. If Google’s offline ambitions are fulfilled, it won’t be in the immediate future.

Mobile moves in fits and starts because in North America, next year is always when mobile’s poised to take off. Do expect more social media apps on mobile platforms, though. They’ll be supported by marketing.

New twists on social media formats Contests, games, networks, you name it. If people can do it together, someone’s going to build an interactive, ad-supported platform for them to do it on.

Irrational exuberance. Inconsolable despair. Optimistic projections will be released about industry sectors and high-flying companies. These will later be slightly downgraded or lightly disputed. The sky will fall. Repeat.

E-mail list rental will resurge after a long absence from legitimate marketer’s consideration set. Lists will be rented only for hyper-targeted offers based on super-fresh registrations. Caveat emptor has sunk in at last.

Ads on apps Microsoft and Google spent a lot of this past year moving productivity suites onto the Web as APIs (define). Expect ad sales offerings to be formed in 2006, either on the apps directly, or as contextual/behavioral offshoots of all that consumer-generated content.

MSN will do something conspicuous with in-game advertising in light of the portfolio of gaming properties it’s been acquiring. But Redmond will face stiff competition from indie companies.

AOL will reorg. Duh.

Blogs will grow ever-deeper roots Blogs will lose their novelty value. They’ll come to be considered just one more publishing, marketing and media opportunity.

There’s no such thing as a free iPod Online lead-gen will continue to develop more legitimate practices. At the same time, the more unethical side of that game will get even uglier.

Craigslist and Wikipedia will re-announce the fact they have no plan to carry ads Duh.

Social media copycats will abound There will be ever more branded MySpace pages. More CGM film festivals. More brands and agencies launching stores/hotels/agencies/real estate offering in Second Life. And we here at ClickZ are subsequently going to have to figure out where you draw the line at “news.”

Word to the wise: Watch the pubcasters. The BBCs and NPRs of the world are at the vanguard of online innovation insofar as content offerings are concerned. That’s because they don’t worry so much about advertising. These companies are forging trails online mainstream media should be following very closely. They can almost be considered the new porn, insofar as pornographers have always been fastest to grok, and to monetize, new forms of media. Moreover, their sites are worksafe.

What do you think’s going to be big, and not-so-big next year? Let me know!

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