2015 is here, but for many of us, we’ve been here before. Back to the Future II anyone? Surprisingly, the 1985 movie wasn’t completely off the mark with its 2015 predictions. Whilst we haven’t quite arrived at flying cars, the arrival of Google Glass, Skype, Apple Pay and the world’s first hoverboard 30 years after the movie was made all suggest it was more accurate than we thought!

Here are a few other trends from team RMG that we reckon will also be big news this year.

Apping in 'Dark Social’

- James Nevin // Creative Director -

It may come as a surprise to many that most social sharing occurs outside the heavy hitters like Facebook and Twitter. In fact most sharing activity is on platforms that 9/10 of us use regularly: email and instant messaging, an activity that has been dubbed ‘dark social’.

According to a new study, 59% of all social sharing is via dark social – that’s twice as much as on Facebook. Which means the majority of shares are occurring in private, in places where traditional tracking tools don’t go, so they‘re not being measured.

So, for 2015 we will see a trend towards a reconsideration as to what social sharing is, one that will no longer be so social channel focused. 

Chocolatier Ghirardelli discovered 84% of all their shares were via dark social channels and acted appropriately by refashioning their shareable content. To refine their product offering, insight into their customers’ behaviours is vital  – a tough task when most sharing is happening out of sight. So, they embedded a line of Javascript in share buttons on their site, which tracked the content users pasted into email – the hitherto dark zone. By implementing these intelligent social sharing buttons, Ghirardelli reportedly improved their dark social performance by 600% - adjusting the shared content appropriately and reacting to newly uncovered share patterns.

Researchers believe what we say via dark social might have less of a filter on it. If brands can access dark social, it may provide richer and more accurate information to learn from. It’s fascinating to see that content around entertainment, travel and careers are more likely to be shared via dark social channels.

Equipping social links with the right intelligence to locate the people who are receiving dark social shares unlocks new target audiences.

The Internet of Sharing Things

- Sinéad Murnane // Head of Production -

trendwatching.com has predicted 2015 will see the mash-up of two trends, the Internet of Things and the Sharing Economy, very much fuelled by advances in mobile technology and mobile payments. Last year saw lots of excitement surrounding the Internet of Things and a future where all our appliances and devices will be interconnected via the Internet. And whilst the full potential of this is still a way off, we are already seeing it trickle through with innovations such as smart thermostats, baby monitors and home lighting apps. Couple this trend with the Sharing Economy and this could be the next big thing in 2015.

Recent years have also seen a growth in popularity of the Sharing Economy, through services like AirBNB (rent out your spare room or home), Splinster (rent out your bike or surf board) and even BorrowMyDoggy.com (yep you guessed it, rent out your dog). People have become more comfortable with the idea of generating revenue from stuff they are not using by sharing it. Mobile technology has made the Sharing Economy more convenient and accessible, with IoT technology opening up even more sharing possibilities, eg, sharing your bike when you’re out and about using the Bitlock smart lock - a smart lock that verifies your identity via Bluetooth, allowing you to open your bike by pressing a button on your smartphone. It also allows you to unlock the bike remotely and share it with others.

Similarly breather.com was launched in Q4 2013 and is now available in four cities; New York, San Francisco, Montreal and Ottawa. It allows people to find unused urban spaces to rent for short time bursts to recharge or work, gaining temporary access to the property via an NFC keyless entry system.


The convergence of these two trends will no doubt start to provide market opportunities and growth in 2015.  Andrew Batey, CMO of Spinlister says: “a recent internal study commissioned by us at Spinlister found that only 4% of Americans have used AirBNB or Uber. Imagine how big the sharing economy will be once it hits 20, 30, 40, or 50% saturation.” (entrepreneur.com) The potential growth of the sharing economy will be accelerated by the projected growth of the IoT market when you consIder that currently only 4% of consumers own an in-home IoT device, and nearly two-thirds plan to buy one in the next five years (Acquity Group/Accenture 2014).

The Arrival of ePayments

 - Jess Majekodunmi // Strategic Planner (DDFH&B) -

The case against cash and cards couldn’t be stronger - the cost to print, the risk of theft, even the huge number of germs they carry - more than a public toilet seat!

Meanwhile, Apple Pay has just arrived, Facebook is reportedly mulling over peer-to-peer payments, more merchants are accepting Bitcoin and banks are producing payment-enabled wristbands. Suddenly it seems most aspects of the established payments systems are on the verge of disruption. It just doesn’t make sense to pay for things with coins, notes or cards anymore.

This time next year, we could be paying for our Christmas shopping with a tap, wave or swipe. Not convinced? Remember that banknotes were treated with the utmost suspicion when first introduced in the 1790s, yet paper money revolutionised the banking system. So will digital money in 2015.


The Rise of Facebook Video

 - Jane McGarrigle // Content Manager -

We’ve already seen a significant increase in the amount of video content appearing in our news feeds this year and 2015 is sure to be an even bigger year for video on Facebook. We’re all aware of the benefits of uploading video content directly to Facebook, but with the social media giant now favouring this over YouTube on newsfeeds, it makes it even more attractive for brands. Unsurprisingly, Facebook’s algorithm gives preference to its own video player when determining what content appears in newsfeeds, hence in the battle for organic reach, uploading directly to the social media site is a no-brainer. According to Unruly, Facebook accounts for 58.4% of video ads shared by a social platform and further to this we expect to see a lot more activity from auto play ads in the New Year and naturally a rise in ad pricing.

Will optical media die off in 2015?

- Peter Mee // Account Director - 

A natural evolution from DVD, the BluRay format launched in 2006, heralding a bright, shiny high-def future. Yet sales are in decline and format inventor Sony say that ‘demand for physical media is contracting faster than anticipated’.

The future of consumer video is rapidly re-calibrating towards 4K. TV manufacturers already have 4K capable sets in our shops but the content distribution mechanisms are still being worked out. 

Online services such as Netflix that have been eating into BluRay sales are already providing Ultra High Definition streaming and indications seem to be that online distribution is where we’re heading. However, there are some impediments, such as Internet infrastructure bottlenecks, the ubiquity of BluRay in current generation games consoles and the desire of many to ‘own’ content in the form of physical media.

Disc manufacturers are hedging their bets, with potential BluRay upgrades set to appear in 2015, in the form of 3-layer 100GB capacity discs and an announcement from Sony and Panasonic that they are working on 300GB discs for the end of 2015 – more than enough capacity to hold 4K movies. 

If we have learned anything from the history of media distribution, it’s that video technology and distribution closely trails movements in the audio sector by a number of years. With CD sales falling sharply (down 19.6% in 2014) in favour of digital distribution, the portents for physical video distribution are not encouraging.

2015 could be the year when we get a better insight into how we’ll be consuming video content in the years ahead.

That’s some of thoughts for what will be big next year, take a look at what our colleagues in JWT have highlighted for 2015.

(Images via digiday, Public Domain Images)




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