Digital Predictions 2016

It's that time of year again! Our team have collated their top digital trends to watch out for in the new year, focusing on marketing, ecommerce and technology. 2016 is going to be a great year and these are the trends you need to succeed. 


Google Penguin updates

Originally, this update was expected in 2015. However, before Christmas a Google spokesperson teased everyone by saying, “With the holidays upon us, it looks like the penguins won’t march until next year.” March being the key word here, potentially hinting that we’ll be waiting until March for the update.

The next Penguin update is expected to be real-time, meaning as Google detects spammy links, sites may be impacted immediately — and when spammy links are removed, those sites may see a more immediate recovery.

How can you beat the new update? Here’s some tips:

  • Links must not include exact-match anchor text. The best thing to do is vary your external links by brand, URL, long-tail keywords and non-descriptive keywords.
  • Monitor any sudden spikes in your Total Referring Domains, if there is a steady increase in backlinks Google will be happy. But if there are any big spikes that look unnatural then it is likely to catch Google’s attention (in a bad way).
  • Internal links need as much attention as external links. They may not have a big impact on your rankings, but they do heavily influence how search engines crawl your site. Make sure you link related pages together to be successful.


The Rise of Content Marketing

Content marketing was a buzz word for 2015 with more PR’s than ever getting engaging content out to the right people, at the right time. This trend will continue into 2016 but the best PR’s will combine this with other disciplines such as social media and SEO to create a fully integrated digital marketing approach that propels their client’s businesses to the forefront of conversation. Additionally, the brands that will succeed are the ones who will embrace the extra work and put more budget into content marketing.


Mobile will continue to grow

There's no doubt that m-commerce is the future; 2015 proved to be the tipping point. But as both brands and technology continue to evolve, what form will that messaging take? Well, for 2016 there are some key mobile trends that are going to dominate:

  • Mobile wallets will give you more reasons to use them in 2016. Apple Pay and PayPal pushed their ecommerce technologies into brick-and-mortar stores last year, convincing merchants that mobile is the new way to pay. This is only going to improve in 2016, introducing new technologies and options to consumers.
  • Instagram ads were rolled out to the public in 2015, and we’re all seeing more and more ads on our feeds as the platform is growing in popularity. If you think about it, why wouldn’t you advertise on Instagram? The reach is massive and the only way to create a post that allows the user to engage is through a paid ad. We predict that creative advertising content on Instagram will dominate the first half of 2016.
  • Mobile video is growing quickly and is another big trend for 2016. As eyeballs shift away from the TV screen to the smartphone, advertising spend is quickly following. The ability to not only capture a user's attention with a video, but also to redirect them to a website plays a key role in the growth of the mobile video format. The first half of 2016 will see this continued growth.


Revolution of the press release

With more and more journalists now using Twitter and preferring to be pitched to in shorter and snappier ways, the press release needs to be revolutionised. Journalists receive hundreds of press releases every day so it is imperative that PR’s stand out among the sea of pitches and make an impact. 2016 is destined to see a rise in the amount of videos and images so when pitching to press, PR’s should aim to keep it short and grab the recipient’s attention in a matter of seconds.


No UI as the next UX trend

TechCrunch recently predicted that apps like Magic and Operator were going to be the “next big thing”. What makes them special is that they don’t use a traditional UI as a means of interaction. Instead, the entire app revolves around a single messaging screen. These are called invisible and conversational apps and a slew of similar apps have recently come to market.

Facebook has even recently released M, a personal assistant that’s integrated with Messenger to help you do just about anything.More tools moving to voice, email and IM based workflow. Apple's Siri have lead the initial push on tools with minimal UI, email based tools such as Amy (x.ai) will continue this trend.


Developer workflow: More automation, containers and virtualisation

As we move forward with automated build and deploy tools within Red Hot Penny, the industry as a whole will move to more automation allowing faster iterations on software in front of clients. Docker, an open platform for distributed applications, will continue to get better and the workflow for developers will move more and more towards discrete, containerised modules which can easily be deployed. All of this will contribute to the improvement of client relations and agency development.


Messaging apps to be the new social media

WhatsApp has over 1 billion installations, and despite recent news of bad practice, the app will continue to grow. Other tools such as Telegram Messenger, kik, Google Hangouts, Slack and Skype will also develop the trend and become regularly used. Sharing is seamless, especially now that people have much tighter social groups at their fingertips.

To stay ahead of the game, brands and retailers need to get more involved with online messaging. One of the very first social media campaigns on WhatsApp was done by Absolut in 2013, with The Absolut Unique Access. The concept was simple; Absolut were to host a super cool launch party for a brand new vodka. But to get invited to the party you had to get past the virtual doorman, Sven, by convincing him why you should be on the guest list.

Three hectic days with the virtual bouncer on WhatsApp generated 600 contacts and over 1000 unique images, videos, and audio messages, created by the people who participated in the campaign. By engaging the audience Absolute got exactly what they wanted. And as an added bonus, by managing to create a virtual queue 'outside' in advance of their red carpet event, Absolut successfully strengthened their brand image among the young and trendy.


Machine learning will dominate

Machine learning is a subfield of computer science that evolved from the study of pattern recognition and computational learning theory in artificial intelligence. This field explores the study and construction of algorithms that can learn from and make predictions on data.

We believe that machine learning will be the next large area of computer science to experience massive growth. Neural networks, Bayesian networks and genetic algorithms will be iterated on as we near general AI with stops along the way for driverless cars, virtual assistants and connected, intelligent homes through the internet of things. 

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