Predictions 2022: What Scott Galloway, Ben Evans, John Battelle et. al see on the horizon
The time for looking back is over! After scads of year-in-review articles, we’ve reached peak prognostication time! Popular talking heads from the tech scene and wildly successful companies are tossing in their two cents about what the next 12 months will bring. We sorted through the deluge of projections to pick out the best of the bunch so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.
Let’s be clear about one thing—these are not our predictions. The past has taught us that it’s best to leave the predictions to the professionals. Someone like NYU marketing professor, CNN contributor and OMR cohort, prediction king Scott Galloway. Our favorite marketing prof has achieved his mass popularity in part to his bold tech predictions. 2022 is no exception as Prof. Galloway is once again proud of his predictions for last year with the fall of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, the Bitcoin boon, the doubling of Roblox’ share price and Time-Warner divesting its AT&T holdings. But even for seasoned pros like Galloway, predictions still consist of a lot of guess work and never completely come to pass as stated. In 2021, he foresaw Apple picking up Peloton. Although that never happened, he maintains it would be the right move. Are you listening Mr. Cook?
From a digital marketing perspective, the most ingriguing of Galloway’s 2022 predictions just happens to be a fantastic fail. And none other than the “Zuckerverse” is in Galloway’s eyes a candidate ripe for failure. “Many of our tech billionaires, letting their inner child stunt their outer man, are focused on leaving this universe or creating an alternative one. This is not visionary; on the contrary, it’s void of the leadership we need to address the problems of this planet in this universe,” Galloway wrote in his No Mercy, No Malice newsletter. Basically, he finds the notion of Mark Zuckerberg leading us into a new universe as very unlikely (and highly problematic), doesn’t see Facebook’s Oculus headset as able to match up with anything Apple and Epic can muster.
Another one of Galloway’s predictions: that hype and speculation will no longer be driving company valuations. “The watering hole of hype and speculation should start to run dry this year. Company valuations will begin reuniting with fundamentals and proven business models. Larger-than-life CEOs chasing larger-than-reality total addressable markets will become a point of remorse, not promise.” For so-called meme stocks, like GameStop and AMC, that spells share prices south of 10 bucks, he says. While three eVehicle makers, Tesla, Rivian and Lucid, are also set to crashing back to Earth with a continued prioritization of asset value over productivity leading to a 50% reduction in share price.
More misgivings with Metaverse
Tech analyst Benedict Evans, who, among other things, was a partner at Andreessen Horowitz for over five years, tends to be decidedly less abrasive than Mr. Galloway, phrasing his predictions as questions. But the message is still plain to see: a lack of clarity of utility in the metaverse is cause for more speculation than answers. “It’s easy to make a cool concept video, but talking about this today in any kind of detail is like making detailed predictions about the mobile internet in 1999, or even 2005. It was very clear that there would be something, but we had no real idea what.” He doesn’t dismiss the possibility of AR and VR devices supplanting smartphones as the central digital device—but he also sees the possibility that they become the next smart watch, drone or game console, i.e. “a very cool but a narrow market.”
He also offers up his thoughts on crypto, China, regulation, privacy and games—all of which are worth your while—but it’s his final musing that caught the collective eye of the OMR editorial team. Evans closes his predictions for 2022 by looking back at how industries much bigger than tech are now being disrupted by things that the tech sector was pumped about a decade or two ago. “Across brands, consumer goods, advertising & marketing, TV, retail and eCommerce, all the old value chains break up, all the cards are thrown in the air, and no-one knows where they’ll land. Old gatekeepers and toll gates go away and new ones emerge,” he says. Evans’ central thesis is that although technology alters business models, the core questions and challenges at present are not tech questions. He says that Netflix is enabled by tech, but that all the questions it addresses are TV questions, and that the internet enables eCommerce, but eCommerce addesses retail questions. “Does the transformation of marketing and distribution mean we’ll have far more brands or far fewer?” Evans asks. Nothing is certain—only that “tech changes the playing field but the game is played by that industry.”
Web3, NFTs, Krypto
As you’d expect, many of the predictions for 2022 deal with the hottest topic around: Web3, aka crypto, NFT, blockchain. US-VC Chris Cantino, partner at Color Capital, may have the boldest take on the interwebs atm. In a long Twitter thread he breaks down why he thinks NFTs are set to multiply. The why: more money entering the ecosystem, sinking gas (transaction) prices, creative utility that goes beyond speculation and entry barries dissolving due to improved UX. At the same time, “Half of the current top 10 NFT projects will crater in value as the attention economy is divided by new entrants and amply-funded marketing campaigns. He goes on to prognosticate that NFT projects will shift to DTC marketplaces (such as Larva Labs). And the much-maligned branded NFTs (thanks to maximum cringe) will not be going anywhere. “We’ll see innovation and more meaningful brand loyalty plays based that reward customer cohorts and top community contributors. Utility will come to the fore,” he predicts.
Coinbase is also tapping a rise in the marketability of NFTs in 2022. Chief Product Officer Surojit Chatterjee stated in his predictions that major brands like Coca-Cola, Dolce & Gabbana and Charmin will pave the way with their NFTs. “NFTs and the metaverse will become the new Instagram for brands. And just like on Instagram, many brands may start as NFT native,” proclaims the Coinbase CPO. And, just like on Instagram, Chatterjee believes that there will be an influx of celebrities seeking to push their personal brands.
While it’s a prediction that is not 100% related to Web3, it’s of a similar vein. And it’s not only Chris Cantino who’s a believer, his fellow VC Fred Wilson is too. “Twitter opens up its APIs and allows anyone to operate Twitter clients that compete with its own,” says Wilson. Ex-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey hinted at the development back in 2019 at the Bluesky Initiative..
There is another example in the Web3 sphere, according to Cantino, Context. Here, users can follow NFT artists and collectors and track all of their sales and purchases across all platforms. When applied to social media, Cantino envisions some kind of social app that allows users to view and consume content posted by their favorites across all platforms. To put it concisely, the content feed would be decoupled from the place of publication. It sounds promising in theory, but the reality is there does seem to be much of an incentive for major platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Tiktok to make it happen.
The world according to John Battelle
Wired founder and tech expert John Battelle also thinks Twitter is poised for a major announcement in 2022. His predictions, however, are focussed on expanded compatibility and integration of cryptocurrencies and the portability of Twitter IDs, which can be transferred and used in other apps. Another of Battelle’s predictions that piqued our interest: avenues of growth for the Big Four. Against the backdrop of regulatory threats and controversies, he thinks Apple, Google, Meta and Amazon will prioritize expansion into new markets. “Meta and Apple will buy gaming companies, Amazon will buy enterprise software companies, and Google will buy a content library.”
Battelle figures to mean a streaming service in place of its video platform. “Google’s always been a bit confused about what its entertainment strategy should be. YouTube is so damn big, and its search business so bulletproof, the company hasn’t really had to play the game the way Meta, Amazon, and Apple have. That likely changes in 22.” Speaking of streaming, Battelle thinks things will settle down in 2022, saying that “the market will have a year of consolidation and improvements in its consumer experience and advertising technology stack.
His most controversial take, however, is that TikTok will fail in the USA. “Everyone is predicting that 2022 will be The Year Of Tik Tok, but I think they’re wrong in one big way: This won’t be a positive story. First off, the public will wake to the possibility that Tik Tok is, at its core, a massive Chinese PsyOp.”
The best of the rest at a glance
There are of course hundreds of other industry observers who’ve published prediction articles. Here’s some of the rest:
- Ad spend on search in 2022 will, according to Magna and GroupM surpass ad spend on TV
- Tech journalist Casey Newton predicts that the EU will advance to the most-meaningful tech regulator in 2022
- There will be a continued push of influencer marketing thanks to Apple’s app tracking transparency initiative
- Brands will increasingly diversify ad budgets across social platforms – with TikTok and YouTube climbing in popularity
- Why purpose marketing will continue to gain in significance