This is the time of year when pundits and thought leaders alike make bold, attention-grabbing predictions about what you can look forward to in the coming year. These types of prognostications tend to be grandiose, overbearing and pretty much the same thing from column to column. It’s as if they all attended the same panel at the most recent conference and agreed to write the same predictions. I don’t want to be that kind of columnist; I thought I’d take a different “spin” on things. Rather than simply saying what I think might happen I decided to predict what won’t happen in 2015. So without much further ado, here is what we won’t see in 2015…
You won’t hear “2015 is the year of mobile”. That was 2014… and 2013, 2012, 2011 and even part of 2010. The fact is mobile is not a year – it is a transition and it takes time. In 2015 everyone will wake up to the idea that mobile is a channel, and possibly as important a channel as Television. Mobile is going to move from a line item on your plan to the driving factor behind your marketing efforts. Mobile will not be a strategic channel; it will be a required channel and probably the central channel for your engagement strategy. Mobile will become the primary means of brand engagement for every retail, travel and financial services company on the planet and those that are behind will begin to lose market share.
You won’t hear about 2015 as the year programmatic TV took hold; that will be 2017. 2015 is the year where the infrastructure will be built in anticipation of programmatic models being applied to TV and 2016 will be the year of trial and testing. The Television Upfront in 2017 is going to be earth shattering, but we are still two years away from that. The market is not quite ready yet, primarily because the systems for buying the media and the ability to purchase actual audiences rather than estimated audience composition are not yet in place. They may not be final in 2017, but that’s the year when things are going to really shift, and 2017 is the year when all media truly goes digital. That gives you two years to get your act together.
2015 will not be the year we get tired of “Big Data”. 2015 will also not be the year where privacy gets addressed (that won’t happen until after an election year). Big Data is a concept still in its infancy and we have some time before it matures. What we are going to see are priorities and new ways of accessing data for use in new ways. The biggest challenge in Big Data is how to prioritize which data is most important and how to get started. That is no small feat and that is what 2015 will set us up to do. 2015 is the year when Big Data gets digested.
2015 will not be radically different than 2014. It will simply be a continuation of what we saw this past year. The business of digital media is not small anymore and radical change is not likely. Once every few years a new player will come along and shake things up, but for the most part Facebook and Google will dominate the web, and Amazon and eBay will dominate ecommerce. There will be more consolidation and the deals will get larger, though I think there will only be a few deals north of $400 million in 2014 (maybe a handful) while most of the M&A market will focus on companies in the sub $30MM in revenue category. Consolidation, maturation and evolution are the standards in 2015, which is good because I think we need some time to figure things out. If 2017 is the year of cross-channel and TV going programmatic, we are about to witness an exponential expansion in the digital media business so we could use a year or two get ready for it. Don’t you agree?