Big Idea 2015: TV Is Dead, and This Is Where Digital Media Is Headed

As I mentioned in my recap of last year’s predictions, 2014 was the year that native went mainstream. I’m pleased to report that the continued growth in native adoption meant Triggit had a great 2014 as well. We’ve greatly expanded the addressable audience for retargeting campaigns and I’m confident 2015 will be an even bigger year for us.
1. Online Auto-play video:

The biggest thing that will happen is 2015 is that auto-play video on Facebook and Twitter will begin to scale. Relevant, measureable and hugely powerful ad units will reach over a billion people. Consequently, a multi-billion dollar market will emerge seemingly overnight and our industry will collectively gasp in amazement. For years the groundwork has been being laid and this is the year it culminates. Incredibly exciting stuff.

2. Marketing Clouds:

2015 will be the year where marketing clouds go from a grand vision to a much more prosaic reality. Over the last few years Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce, IBM, Google, SAP and others have been firing off their rhetorical guns at the coming awesomeness of their clouds. Until recently, these clouds have been mostly vapor, with the occasional unintegrated acquisition sprinkled in to lend some semblance of credibility. This year these plans are finally coming together, true integrations are happening, and all the moving parts are starting to coalesce.

In 2015, these clouds are still somewhat disjointed Frankenstein monsters, with numerous critical pieces missing, but the spark of life is there. With tens of billions of dollars slotted to continue the building, I have no doubt that these marketing clouds will be immensely powerful forces in the coming trillion dollar market of accessible advertising. This is one of the last great supply chains yet to be automated and the giants intend to own it.

3. Identity:

One of the most fascinating aspects of the kabuki dance of online advertising is around identity. Relevant ads are better for the user, better for the publisher and better for the advertiser. Better ads mean more funds to build the bigger, faster and more awesome Internet that we all want. Yet the concept of personalized ads is scary to some people, and easy to fear-monger by those who profit from such things. We end up with bizarre irrationalities regarding when, where and how data can be used. Onsite is ok, off site is bad; retargeted ads are now ok; any more personalized not cool; incredibly deep online data is no problem; connect it to offline data and you are the target for lawyers. Basically it’s a mess, and it will take some time to untangle the confusion that irrational fears and ignorance have created.

Having said that, 2014 still saw a huge leap forward around identity. We had platforms like FB launching Atlas, we had advertisers finally starting to connect their offline data, and we saw the industry finally recognizing the critical role canonical identity plays. This year, we’ll continue that fight and significant progress will be made. There is no simple solution, and the slog will be bloody, but by the end of the year it will be clear that every advertiser will need a strategy around connecting the dots for identity.

4. Attribution:

You drive past a billboard featuring an ad for Coke, and you don’t stop your car to click the billboard. You see a television commercial, yet you don’t click your TV. You see an online ad and you don’t click on it Are all three of those ads wasted? Not necessarily. Only the online example represents a missed opportunity. It’s illogical, and yet twenty years into this game we continue to perpetuate click-based measurement online. Sadly at this point there is no end in sight. In 2015 we’ll continue the fight on attribution, and while progress will be made, we will end the year having gotten less far than we wanted. It’s a shame.

5. The death of Banners:

Banners were invented twenty years ago and nary an innovation has happened in the format since. Shameful. This is the year where the inevitable, but certainly slow, death of banners becomes apparent. It’s about damn time.

6. TV is dead:

The concept of watching scheduled programming is silly. It was silly a decade ago but the industry held on to maintain its business model. It’s over.

7. Brands:

Brands are in trouble. Television, with its broad reach and ten minutes of commercials for every twenty minutes of content and scale advantages, is over. Brands were built around playing the tonnage game on TV, and as broadcast TV dies the brands that rely on TV advertising will die with it unless they innovate. Given their predilection to outsource to agencies who have an antiquated business model to protect, it doesn’t bode well for brands and their ability to transition to a new world where technology and data are the key points of leverage. 2015 will certainly not be the end- in fact we may finish the year without noticing the difference- but mark my words, brands are in trouble.

8. Facebook:

With awesomely powerful conical identity, auto-play video and a hugely powerful mobile footprint, Facebook has gone from spreading its wings over the last couple years to becoming a force to be reckoned with. The only risk to them is that the app install bubble pops before the auto-play video revenues spin up and Wall Street freaks out. My bet is that doesn’t happen and FB continues to kill it.

9. Google:

Still dominant but now with a very formidable competitor in FB. I have no predication here other than it will be fascinating to watch the moves and counter-moves during the year.

10. It is a Trillion-Dollar Market:

People have been looking at me like I am crazy when I say this but I am going to make a longer-term prediction here. All media goes digital. In a world of digital media, data and technology are the points of leverage. This digital media market powered by data and technology market will be a trillion dollars by the time this whole game plays out over the next decade. The stakes are huge and to the winners will go the very impressive spoils.

11. And of course we are still very much in a growth market so we will also continue to have an insane amount of fun.

I’m very optimistic about what 2015 has in store for us, and, as always, I’ll check back in at the end of the year to see how well I did with this year’s predictions.

Written by: Zach Coelius