Article by TBEX North America 2022 Featured Speaker, Jeremy Jones
Ever since the first blog was launched in 1994, the industry has been in near-constant change.
Journal-based “weblogs” gave way to more formal blogs. Web 1.0 became 2.0 with the dominance of Google, social media, user-generated content, and more. Now, with web 3.0 and the metaverse on the horizon, change is once again in the air – change that we’ve been carefully monitoring over at This Week in Blogging.
One thing that’s remained true since the beginning is that blogs have persisted. While blogging may be out of its infancy and becoming what some would consider a developing (if not fully developed field), the rapidly changing nature of the internet means there are always things coming out on the horizon for bloggers that both new participants and veterans can capitalize on.
The day of the personal blog that was very much a diary and somehow ranked for Google is perhaps gone, but the day of the website owner who runs his or her website like a formidable brand or business and is finding success is very much present.
In our TBEX talk, “The Future of Travel Blogging” we’ll be diving into confirmed news that bloggers need to be aware of on the horizon, and we’ll also pull out our crystal ball to predict where blogging is going from here.
As it turns out, when you craft 100 or so editions of a topical blogging newsletter, while running a combined eight or so blogs between the two of you, you gather an insight or two into the industry at large – and we’re only too happy to openly share those insights with you.
As such, today we wanted to share a few trends you need to know, and of course we’ll be sharing much more in Tri-Cities.
Google is Always Making Things Harder
While the internet is always expanding, it often feels like the search engine giant, Google, is narrowing down how we can be a part of that expansion.
It’s not just that it is becoming more and more difficult to rank on the first page due to competition (and the fact that many search terms no longer have ten slots on the first page, either due to ad coverage), but also that Google is not doing bloggers any favors when rolling out new features.
If we’ve learned anything over at This Week in Blogging, it’s that Google loves to roll our new updates and features.
In the coming months, bloggers can expect Google to be unveiling more travel tools to convert sales directly (bypassing 3rd parties altogether), the depreciation of Universal Analytics in favor of GA4 in 2023, and a completely new algorithm (MUM) in the near future as well.
On the income side of the spectrum, Google’s ad exchange is a big earner for many bloggers and the looming depreciation of cookies is going to reshape the advertising world for the foreseeable future. Ad networks like Mediavine are well aware of this, it should be noted, but bloggers still may expect to take a small hit, or at least experience a hiccup at the very beginning.
Google’s current proposed alternative, Topics, will take a random selection of topics from recent search history and use those to help call up relevant ads (while also helping maintain privacy standards due to the randomized nature of it all). Some may think this could spell doom for advertising revenue and others think that the money will be spent regardless and will simply redistribute to a new normal.
For now, no one knows for sure!
No matter what, Google is going to make the next few years a wild and crazy ride in the future of travel blogging.
At long last, payment directly from platforms to creators is becoming more normalized.
Many of your favourite social media platforms are early on this path, or even in beta while prioritizing US creators, but the path has been forged nonetheless, and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
The TikTok Creator Fund, rolled out so far for US, UK, and central European creators, has been a catalyst for this movement. They establish a creator fund based on a variety of factors that incentivized creators to create content like wildfire. Suffice to say, it certainly appears their strategy has worked.
Twitter enabled crypto tipping, established Super Follows, as well as a whole host of other initiatives. Instagram doubled down on allowing creators to essentially become a live store, and carved out a more clear path for brand partnerships.
Meta announced 1 billion dollars in support of creative and monetization tools across Facebook and Instagram, so you know that’s going to have a ripple effect of sorts.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s also safe to say that this trend is only going to heat up as social platforms vie for the attention of creators and viewers alike.
The next exciting chapter for the internet is going to be the rollout of Web 3.0 and the Metaverse. While these concepts are still in their infancy, we have a bit of an idea of where things are heading.
If Web 2.0 can be characterized by the growth of social media and user-created content, Web 3.0 is likely to be dominated by AI and users reclaiming their data outright thanks to blockchain technology.
Instead of companies like Google and Facebook mining your data for profit, blockchain can help you retain local control of your data while giving access to 3rd parties as needed. How all this gets implemented in practice, well, once again we have to wait and see.
The Metaverse is not just a push by the newly rebranded Facebook company, Meta, but by many players in the digital space, and can be considered a sub-feature within Web 3.0 at large. The concepts from any given entity may be different, but they are all aligned in the building of digital worlds for creators to provide immersive experiences in some capacity (most likely via VR/AR scenarios).
This may sound directly at odds with travel blogging, where our main goal is to encourage others to get outside and experience the world, but enterprising bloggers may be able to tap into the metaverse by providing immersive experiences within the topics of travel.
Likewise, the metaverse push will also have one major hurdle to cross- convincing users to trade instant information access to immersive experiences. How they’re going to make the leap from the masses watching 45-second dancing videos to participating in virtual worlds in real-time will be the ultimate test on whether these ‘verses succeed or fail.
Much like the concept of web 3.0 and the implementation of blockchain, these are still in their infancy, but bloggers who want to stay on top of the trends need to keep an eye on them now as opportunities will be plentiful moving forward.
While the future of travel blogging is always uncertain, we are excited to see what changes the industry will experience in the coming months and years. Bloggers, by trade, are flexible and adaptable and while there may be a lot in motion in this particular moment, there always has been in many ways, and bloggers have always risen to the challenge. Join us for our TBEX talk, “The Future of Travel Blogging”, at TBEX North America 2022 in Tri-Cities, Washington, as we discuss these and more things bloggers need to keep on their radar!