Ten Things That Won't Happen in 2015

One Agency's Staff Offers a Hard Dose of Reality

By Published on .

'Tis the season for forecasts. What's in, out, comebacks, throwbacks, and proverbial listicles, which we all store for the perfect cocktail party moment. Agencies, marketers, publishers and technology companies are predicting the 2015 headlines, and DigitasLBI is no exception. But rather than make predictions about what will happen, this year we put a twist on it: Ten Things That Won't. In a time of boundless content roaming and raging across screens, appeals for accountability, and tech overload where anything could happen, there are some things we're fairly certain won't happen.

We may be proven wrong. That would be OK, too. Reach out to any of the agency's "won't happen" forecasters. I promise, at minimum, a lively debate. -- Tony Weisman, CEO, DigitasLBi North America

1. The browser will strike back
We might not be rushing off to install more apps, but that's because so many of the ones we have already work well enough. Users will keep on finding restaurants, booking flights and sharing photos through apps while using their mobile operating system (Siri and Google Now) to distill the web when they actually need it, bypassing the browser completely. -- Andrew Carlson, national head of experience design, DigitasLBi

2. Driverless cars
Even if the technology were to advance, the commercial and regulatory requirements are at least a decade away. Consider who pays for the damages if there's an accident: the car maker, the algorithm provider, the non-driving "driver"? There are a lot of competing interests and dollars involved in sorting out that answer. It's another reminder that innovation depends as much on culture as it does on technology. -- Doug Ryan, president, DigitasLBi Chicago-San Francisco

3. Brands will receive 100% viewability from publishers
It's physically impossible for publishers to predict 100% of the time whether an ad will be viewed or not -- there are too many factors in play that are driven by the viewer. While viewability rates will improve over time due to enhancements in reporting and site design, there will always remain the possibility for your ad to go unseen. In order to deliver a semblance of "100% viewability," publisher partners will overcompensate with ad delivery (up to two to three times) in order to deliver you 100% viewed "booked" impressions.

Truth is -- while you may be hitting your "target viewed impressions," you'll actually be serving more unviewed impressions than before. In order to avoid viewability-driven price inflation and inefficiencies, the industry needs to move towards automated platforms that transact on viewability. -- Carol Chung, senior VP-media technology, DigitasLBi

4. 2015 will be the year of mobile payments
Not quite, at least in the U.S. We'll definitely see a significant uptick in mobile payments, but there are still too many variables to solve for to achieve real scale in 2015. Apple Pay and Google Wallet aren't sufficient by themselves (although Apple Pay has significantly reduced the friction and increased the security in the payments process). Merchants must embrace and enable acceptance of mobile payments as well. Some of the biggest merchants in the U.S. have their own mobile-payments systems, and many merchants are simply not equipped to accept mobile payments.

However, that's likely to change. Many merchants are upgrading their point-of-sale systems to accept "chip and PIN" payments by October 2015, when credit-card networks (VISA, AMEX, MasterCard) will make the merchants accountable for fraudulent charges if they're made using "traditional" swipe and sign. So, 2016 or even 2017 might be the breakout year for mobile payments. -- Chia Chen, exec VP-managing director, digital products & services, DigitasLBi

5. BingHoo! will challenge Google
This was the year that Apple dumped Google for Bing, and Mozilla dumped Google for Yahoo -- two big blows for the company. And yet, the combined power of Bing and Yahoo will likely not be able to overcome the search reach (yet) that Google has. Continuous innovation is key: Google is actively expanding its presence in the mobile space, and its products make search experiences intuitive and seamless -- they make users want to go back to Google products. And of course, Google's cool factor cannot be understated as it continues to be in the news for larger-than-life projects like driverless cars, Google X and others -- Shreya Kushari, senior VP-search marketing, DigitasLBi

6. YouTube will launch a sleek new user experience
YouTube is -- like Google -- a technology company first and foremost, so a revolutionary new user-experience design likely won't happen (at least not in 2015). I find this comforting and then I want more, then comforting, then again I want more... -- Dave Marsey, exec VP-managing director, DigitasLBi San Francisco

7. Another year of noise in the press about Big Data
The hadoopaloza of headlines about big data in marketing has peaked. While the headlines move on to the next topic-du-jour, marketers can continue the real work and true substance of using data to better understand people and help brands connect with them in relevant ways. We'll see the process evolve into something even stronger than imagined. -- Norman de Greve, president, DigitasLBi Boston-Detroit

8. Death of the podcast
The Serial podcast awoke something visceral in us. It sparked a different way to experience community, online and offline. There are Reddit rants, countless podcasts discussing the podcast, hallway conversations, email streams, Facebook posts, meet-ups to listen and discuss with others, and more. People are underestimated. We actually like in-depth, complex issues with lots of points of view -- as long as it's told in an interesting manner. We've been on image overdose for years, and the auditory experience is a nice time-out. So on top of the already-confirmed season two, we will see Serial copycats. And if they're good, I'll be thrilled they copied. -- Anne-Marie Kline, senior VP-managing director, BrandLIVE, DigitasLBi

9. Copycat drugs will take off
Despite some previous safety concerns, more and more biosimilars are exploring market launch with the FDA. Defined as a biological treatment that's been declared "highly similar" to existing FDA-licensed drugs, biosimilars can be sold at much lower prices to consumers. The challenge for advertisers will be: How do you market a drug whose sole differentiator is affordability?

There's no safety reasons-to-believe; no efficacy superiority. The answer used to be through relationships with physicians, but the pharmaceutical industry's field-level sales forces are decreasing too. Although the biosimilar market has grown slowly, it could reinvigorate the focus on patient-centricity, the conversation around "pill plus plan" and push marketing partners to (hopefully) define new and interesting tactics to boot. -- Krista Bowman, senior VP-marketing, New York Healthcare Practice founder

10. Your resume can stay the same
Every client is talking about, and asking for, teams and structures that are more agile, nimble, and streamlined. Everything from open seating to rapid-prototyping is catching on, and changing the way we work. And it's changing the way we recruit as well. Today, and moving forward, marketers want a room filled with cross-capability athletes, not just numerous varying capability leads. Get ready for different conversations with recruiters. -- Joanne Zaiac, president, DigitasLBi New York-Atlanta

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