Trends

2008 Predictions in Black

It is time again to welcome in another year and say goodbye to the current. 2007 was full of redesigns, launches, and growth for sites that target Blacks and in 2008 we can all expect to see even more growth and intriguing launches. Here are some specific trends from around the web and Black Web 2.0 to keep an eye out for and help you get prepared in 08:

Social networking gets condensed.
In 2007 the number of social networking websites that were launched was overwhelming. Navigation Arts, a user experience firm based in Washington D.C., expects to see this area contract in 2008 with only the most popular sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook remaining. While I agree with this predication on a mainstream scale I think social networks that target Blacks and/or the culture will be safe for now. This is primarily because the market in this space is not yet saturated with quality properties that pull significant traffic. Those that currently exist will remain, however in 2008 we will see many existing properties and new properties continue to refine their niche within the demographic.

(User) Content is King
Web users will continue to rule in 2008. Not only will user-generated content continue to reign supreme, users will demand a better overall experience. Expect to see engaging experiences online, which is a vast difference from the minimalist and overly cluttered sites that we see today. This trend will not only apply to the Big Boys but to smaller web publishers as well. More Black web publishers will take note of their overall user experience and correct or refine as necessary. The result will be, “websites organized around user behavior, rather than relying on a traditional, hierarchical navigation…” as stated in another ’08 prediction from Navigation Arts. This leads us right into our next 2008 prediction….

The Black Ad Network
Many of you are aware of niche advertising networks that seem to cater to every demographic except ours. In the later part of 2007 we saw a spurt of Black advertising networks launch. In tandem with creating an enjoyable user experiences web publishers in 2008 can look forward to serving more relevant ads. This new web ad niche will allow Black web publishers to make more profit from their websites in 08, and we ain’t talking Google AdSense dollars either. In 2008 Black web publishers will see a plethora of options when it comes to advertising. In addition to benefiting from mainstream ad networks Black web publishers will also have the option to join ad networks from Black brands that you already trust such as BET. Publishers will have the option of “shopping” multiple networks to see which works best for their site and of course which will serve the most relevant ads. And the more relevant ads served to your sites will in turn result in more ad revenue for you. Now these ad networks won’t come without problems in ’08, expect for lots of refinements to be made, even right out of the gate.

On the mainstream web we will also see experimentation with different ad metrics. Over at ReadWriteTalk Sean Ammirati predicts, “Non-search advertising on the web will increase in value significantly. This will be done through a lot of innovation in the ad targeting systems (both behavioral and contextual) and new metrics being adopted by Madison Ave beyond CPC and CPM” while Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb predicts, “Most ad networks will start producing their own content to advertise against; and some content companies today will get acquired by ad networks.”

Black Celebrities continue to move into the Internet space in 08.

In 2007 we saw many efforts from Black celebrities to extend their brands and even some spread their entrepreneurial wings onto the web. Damon Dash’s BlockSavvy, Russell Simmons’ investment stake in GlobalGrind, MC Hammer’s DanceJam, and Kanye’s Kanye UniverseCity to name a few. With such adoption among celebrities growing even more in 08 we can expect a few things to happen. The first will be the creation of a Digital Celebrity or as my boy Digital Media Mobster over at Media Mafia likes to call them, The Black Digerati. In ’08 we will see that these Black Digital celebrities are not just your typical celebrity featured on YBF or Bossip they will also include internet entrepreneurs and other influentials in the internet space. As more Black Celebrities get involved in internet ventures we can likely see a cross pollination of celebrities and internet execs.

Well that’s all folks. Have a Happy and Safe New Year. See ya in ’08!

Additional forecasts and trends not mentioned in this post but may be of interest to you can be found on MediaPost Emarketer and TrendWatching.com.

Sources:

Navigation Arts

MediaPost Search Insider

ReadWriteWeb


11 Comments

Comments

“The Black Ad Network”

I concur

Ah, I also just remembered that one more prediction could include that 2008 will be a lot like 1998 (or 99, 00, 01). When I read about the Black Digerati, I got to thinking about this. There was a very active Black Digerati back then, and probably one of the biggest celebrities during that era was Omar Wasow who took his online identity and work and extended that into other forms of media, such as becoming Oprah’s tech guru, or the most sought after black speaker on tech, or even an NBC correspondent. It’s the reason we had an Urban Internet Forum back in 2000 (here’s Urban Exposé’s humorous take on the Urban Internet Smackdown).

I know what you’re talking about is different, you’re talking about the merging of celebrity and tech exec, but I also expect to see more tech execs become celebrities as they did almost a decade ago. I always wonder where is the black Scoble, Mike Arrington, Jason Calacanis. They exist, as evidenced by the rough list I came up with on my site of black tech bloggers, but I don’t think everyone is clamoring to be a black tech blogger, but instead just a tech guru, or new media guru, or whatever without the “burden” of being black. So again, in that regard, where are they. I think they’re coming again.

The difference now is there isn’t all of this VC cash floating into businesses. There were some serious media properties back then either founded by or headed by African-Americans — and what you’re seeing with this celebrity advancement on Web 2.0 somewhat mirrors it. I just hope that they all learned the lessons of their forebears.

Angela,

I am in total agreement with you about the popularity of social networks waning. OpenID and the end of the walled garden might change all of that though. People will keep up their multiple accounts and somehow find a means of managing everything from one place, such as with the social web browser flock. APIs have to be open across the board.

I also agree with you on the point of the niche social network though. Though on Facebook you can create a group for say, knitting, wouldn’t it be better to create your own social network using Ning or actually belong to a social network that was created by a knitting magazine or knitting channel. Because of this, you’ll continue to see social networks around movies, or artists, or say even hip-hop.

That Advertising Network thing is real and big. Google is going to become an even larger advertising player, to the chagrin of traditional ad houses of course. What’s hot, that you touched on of course, are the niche advertising networks. I’ll bet we’ll see more blogging networks too because of this.

Great predictions.

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