Digital trends to watch out for

Digital trends to watch out for

5 minutes
Hashtag signifying trends in digital

This year is already seeing some big things happening in the digital space. From 5G changing the way wireless devices talk to each other to AI and automation continuing to disrupt the landscape, there’s a lot to look out for. Here are just a few of the developments I think it's worth keeping an eye on.


You’ve probably heard that by the end of this year 80% of all online content will be video. While we’re not sure if this prediction will come to fruition, we can be sure that video is being used more and more. The smartphone generation and constant desire for information has undoubtedly impacted this. And while video should definitely form part of your communications strategy, it’s live video that appears to be what really resonates with people. Video is in demand across every social media platform (Optin Monster reports that YouTube users share 400 hours of new video every minute). What’s more, video gets results, with Twitter revealing that videos on its platform are 6x more likely to be retweeted than photos. For brands trying to drive realtime engagement, live video creates some interesting opportunities to connect with customers. From hosting a live Instagram Q&A to streaming content on your YouTube channel, now’s the time to start exploring how you use video as part of your overall strategy.


It’s been 12 years since Apple launched the first iPhone. A lot’s changed since then and the mobile landscape is still changing at a rapid pace, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Apple’s share price might have dropped 10% earlier this year (maybe a sign of consumers wanting greater jumps in innovation when they upgrade as opposed to incremental changes?), but the smartphone remains the most popular device for accessing the Internet. And with larger handsets like the iPhone X on the market, the lines are blurring between phone and tablet. Could this be a sign of what’s to come? We’re already seeing smartphones being developed with foldable OLED screens like the The Galaxy Fold. Whatever the future looks like for mobile, it’s clear that brands need a mobile-first approach to make sure content is easily accessible across all devices.


Ten years ago the average monthly data usage was 0.2GB. This year the average person will use almost 1.9GB per month, and that figure is set to increase even more with the introduction of 5G. With connection speeds increasing dramatically there’s going to be a real shift in how we all communicate. Faster load times and higher resolutions will mean consumers will be looking for more immersive mobile experiences, so brands need to place an even bigger emphasis on producing personalised and relevant content.


Companies have been using chatbot technology for years. You’ve probably encountered a chatbot on a website at some point, but this year the tech is expected to take off even more. As we all crave fast communication with the brands we buy from, chatbots are seen as a really effective way of solving customer queries quickly and efficiently. Botcore reveal that 80% of businesses want to adopt chatbot technology by 2020 and by 2021 more than 50% of companies will spend more on chatbot creation than mobile app development.


There a lot of different stats out there around voice technology and how popular it will be in the coming years, but most agree that voice will (eventually) become the main way most of us search for information on the web. In fact, a report by Forbes suggests that by 2020, 30% of web sessions will be done without a screen. And with devices like Alexa and Google Home rising in popularity, that’s not hard to imagine. So what does this mean for brands? While there aren’t (currently) many purchases made using voice, it is being used for search and discovery. So one of the major considerations is organisation of data and search engine optimisation. While the technology is evolving it’s worth reviewing your website and digital assets, making sure they’re supported by Google and other browsers and identifying the content you want search engines to serve up.


At the heart of all of this is content marketing, and how you use different content and different platforms to reach the right people at the right time. Content marketing isn’t new but it’s certainly being adopted more and more as brands look for authentic ways to create relationships with their customers. Content (everything from video testimonials and case studies to social media posts and blogs) might have been seen as a ‘nice to have’ in the past, but this year we’ll be seeing companies continuing to put content at the forefront of their digital marketing strategies. There will be a continued focus on storytelling (making brands appear more ‘human’) and more cross-channel content techniques. With consumers more savvy than ever when it comes to salesy marketing messages, companies can’t just put a piece of content out and hope that it sticks - there has to be real consideration around the customer journey. 

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Frank Whiffen
Frank Whiffen
Frank is in the fortunate position of looking after marketing for a marketing agency. He has been agency side for ten years working across a range of sectors, from investor comms through to food and drink. Before that he marketed chocolate (whilst resisting the urge not to devour the stock).
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