Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Smarter Marketing: TrendWatching

If you’re anything like me, you’re always on the look out for hot new trends. What are people searching for? What do they want? What do they need?

But what is a trend? And how is it different from a fad?

Unlike a trend, a fad is a short lived ‘craze’, within a relatively small group of people. Recently The BBC reported live videoblogging from a mobile phone, as a current fad.

Only a small number of phones actually support this function and many people don’t blog or vlog at all, so the chances of live videoblogging becoming mainstream are fairly remote.

However, live videoblogging may be an up and coming trend amongst tech savvy mobile bloggers with Nokia phones!

Trends tend to appear over longer periods of time and are adopted by the mainstream. More of a general tendency. The TimesOnline reports of an increasing use of virtual reality to treat medical conditions. As a general enhancement to our lives, the use of medical technology continues to grow in the mainstream.

Applied to Internet Marketing, fads and trends can be observed here too.

Take Social Media. The likes of Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Digg (and I could go on…) have truly revolutionized the way we use the internet today. Making friends and chatting as we work, swapping ideas, asking (the Twitterverse) for answers, links and solutions.

A good example of an IM fad would perhaps be pixel ad websites.

Back in 2005, Alex Tew, a 21-year-old entrepreneur from the UK, hoped to pay his way through university by selling a million pixels as advertising space on his Million Dollar Homepage. He actually went on to sell all million pixels for a dollar each (you do the math:)

Many cloned Alex's idea as these strange looking ‘mozaic’ type pages sprung up all over, – but none (to my knowledge) were ever as successful as the original and many ended up giving pixel ads away.

Can you imagine Social Networks going the same way? No, neither can I.

Now we’ve established trends from fads, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite ‘TrendWatching places’…

SiteVolume takes up to five words you want to compare and shows a graph of how many times each word appears in Digg, Myspace, YouTube, Flickr and Twitter.

SpringWise has a global network of ‘spotters’ who scan and report inspirational new business ideas.

At Epinions users submit reviews on millions of products and services. Scroll down the page until you come across the ‘Epinions Top 10’

HobbyThing has a tag cloud dedicated page. The bigger the tag, the more popular the subject.

Check out Amazon Movers and Shakers for hot software, apparel, video games, music, electronics, cameras and phones.

And not forgetting ‘popular’ categories on some of the more well known services …

Flickr Tags


Digg’s Most Recent

Technorati – What’s Popular

AOL Hot Searches

Ask Top Searches

Yahoo! Buzz

Google Hot Trends


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