Trends to watch

What digital trends will you be keeping an eye on in 2016?

picture of Mark Smith, Director of SME, eir Business

Mark Smith

Director of SME, eir Business

Communications Innovation Mobile News

There’s no question that 2015 was dominated by one trend: mobile. It was the year when mobile search overtook desktop search in 10 countries, including the US and Japan. And Google introduced an update that rewards mobile-friendly websites in its search results, an update that became unofficially known as “mobilegeddon”.

Here in Ireland, the transition towards mobile gathered pace. In August, a Statcounter report revealed that a third of all web access is coming from our mobile phones, while our use of PCs to access the internet has dropped from 77% to 56% in the last two years. What’s interesting is that the Statcounter research suggests that the mobile phone will become the dominant web access device by 2016.

This makes mobile a trend you simply can’t ignore. To ensure your visibility in search results you’ll need to make sure your website is mobile friendly or “responsive”. This means that it will look as good on a smartphone as it does on a desktop screen. No pinching and zooming on a smartphone to view the content, the website format adapts automatically to the smaller screen of a mobile phone. If you haven’t made this change to your site already, you need to make this a priority for 2016.

So what other digital trends can we expect to see in 2016?

Online video

If 2015 was the year of mobile, then 2016 is going to be the year of video. Online video exploded in 2015 and looks set to become even more of a phenomenon next year. Online video comprised 57% of all consumer internet traffic in 2015 (to put that figure into perspective, it’s almost four times as much as web browsing and email.) By 2017, that figure will rise to 69% and by 2018 it will jump to 79%, according to Groupon Works. Consumers are infatuated with video (and not just funny cat videos!) – 55% of people watch videos online every day (Groupon Works). For any brand, the power of video is unmistakable: 52% of marketers worldwide named video as the type of content with the best ROI (ReelnReel).

Live streaming apps

During 2015 we saw the launch of Periscope, a live streaming video app owned by Twitter. The app has proven so popular that it has 2 million active daily users who watch 40 years of video each day. Given its growing user base (10 million+) and the appetite for live or real-time video, we expect to see Periscope, and other similar services like Meerkat and Blab (a live video conversation app), gather even more momentum in 2016.

Wearables

Wearable device shipments increased 200% between 2014 and 2015. We’re all familiar with the Apple Watch, but as less expensive options come onto the market we’re likely to see a rise in adoption of these device in 2016. This will have a knock-on effect for marketers who will be able to tap into the wearable trend to more accurately identify a person’s location and send them highly targeted marketing. The operating systems in wearable devices interact with beacons such as Apple’s iBeacon and Google’s Eddystone, which can notify apps when a user approaches activated elevant, messages to users via their wearable device. We’re expecting big things from the wearable device market in 2016.

Content marketing

Content marketing has climbed up most companies’ priority list over the past couple of years, and is still climbing. According to Social Media B2B, business to business companies that run an active blog generate 67% more leads than those that don’t. Any business blog needs to offer some value to the reader, whether it’s educational, informative or helpful in some way. Keep the tone light and conversational, rather than formal, in order to create a connection with the reader. Allowing customers to develop a more personal connection with your brand is going to be important as we move into 2016.

What digital trends will your company be focusing on over the next 12 months?

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