5 communication predictions that are flat-out wrong

Don’t tell this author that mobile will take over in 2015, video is a big trend right now or Ello will be the next big thing. He doesn’t agree.

It’s that time of year—the 2015 trends/prediction posts are rolling out. I’ve already had my fill.

Between the predictable (2015 is the year of mobile!) and the ridiculously far-fetched (augmented reality will transform PR in 2015!), I’m already sick of 99 percent of these posts.

A few predictions have caught my eye—but not because they’re accurate. They’re 100 percent wrong.

Let’s take a peek at them, and consider what a rational person would say.

Prediction 1: Mobile will take over.

Consider the following statistics:

  • Ninety-one percent of Americans own a cell phone.
  • Sixty-one percent of Americans own a smartphone.
  • Mobile ad spending doubled in 2013 and 2014.
  • Consumers spend 60 percent of their Internet time on mobile devices.

Do you still think mobile will take over in 2015? Haven’t we been saying that for a few years? This prediction is two to three years late.

Prediction 2: We’ll witness the rise of Ello.

We haven’t heard much about Ello since it burst onto the scene in late September. As far as I can tell, no one is reporting any user metrics.

That silence is deafening. Even though search traffic isn’t an indicator of usage, I agree with the insinuations in this article.

I know, Twitter started this way, too. But that was a long time ago (especially in Internet years), and I don’t buy Ello’s value proposition. I’m guessing others don’t, either. If that’s not enough, when was the last time you heard about anybody using Ello?

Prediction 3: Using video and LinkedIn are big trends right now.

Using LinkedIn is a big trend? Am I in a time warp? Is this 2007?

In the predictor’s defense (Bas van den Beld), he’s referring to the effect of LinkedIn’s publishing platform on brands.

I don’t see the publishing tool as a game-changer. It gives individuals the opportunity to post, which is big for those without blogs, and we’ve seen executives use LinkedIn publishing to share company messages and opinions. I recently blogged about that micro-trend. But it’s just that—a micro-trend. It’s not a huge trend we’ll see next year.

Prediction 4: Visual storytelling will emerge as a main strategy for growing communities.

What bugs me about these predictions is that most are obvious.

Who doesn’t know by now that visual storytelling is a big trend for brands looking to gain traction in social media and online storytelling? If you made this prediction two years ago, it may have been accurate. It’s almost laughable as a prediction for 2015.

Prediction 5: The native advertising backlash will intensify—but from brands, not media critics. At some point, brands will wonder why they’re paying to rent an audience instead of building their own.

Building your own audience sounds so easy, right?

It’s not, which is why sponsored stories and native advertising are so popular with brands. Why build your own audience when you can rent space from publishers who are paid and trained to build and nurture audiences?

Arik Hanson is principal of ACH Communications, Inc. A version of this article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

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Topics: PR

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