Every year we see players in the business, technology and media space vying to outdo each other in predicting the digital trends that are likely to hold sway in the coming year. One of the best collections is put together by the online business publication Business Insider, which performs months of research and deep investigations before putting together a sober and realistic prediction for the year.
Its latest list has just been released, and you can download it right here.
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But if you’re stressed for time and patience, we’ve gone to the trouble of digging out the gems for you.
In a nutshell, these are the things you can expect from the year ahead.
- Facebook will take on YouTube in the arena of mobile video and has a good chance of becoming the dominant player.
- Indonesia is set to become one of the largest smartphone markets in the world
- The blockchain will move from its area of niche, misunderstood finance into the mainstream
- Oil companies will embrace the Internet of Things to counter the sliding oil price
Let’s dig into a few of these sectors in more detail.
The Internet of Things
Cars which are connected to the internet are moving rapidly from the arena of ‘nice-to-have’ and into the realm of ‘must-have’. Business Insider estimates that in 2016, two-thirds of all cars shipped in the US will be internet-enabled. Automakers like it because they can track data about their products and push for better performance and efficiency, while consumers are more and more enamoured with the data, media and applications that a connected car can provide them with.
Hand-in-hand with connected cars is the steady flow of news around self-driving cars. One of the largest barriers to growth has been a lack of regulation around this technology. “in 2016, we expect the federal government to provide more guidance to states that are creating their own self-driving car regulations,” claims the report. With better regulation, the prediction is that consumers will be able to purchase self-driving cars by the year 2019.
As we mentioned above, YouTube is facing a significant video challenge from Facebook. Business Insider predicts that brands and consumers will push more video to Facebook than to YouTube for the first time in 2016. Add to that Snapchat’s growing audience and sophisticated brand partnerships and the stage is set for a transformative year.
The metrics used to measure video views is set to become a major point of contention. Different platforms all use different techniques and, with the competition heating up, it is expected that a resolution will be reached in 2016. “We expect platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and, to a lesser extent, Snapchat and Twitter, to have to address that they each use different metrics to count video views.”
Ad blocking technology is gaining traction and changing the game for advertisers. As a result, you can expect to see much more native advertising embedded into popular online publications. Even massive publishers like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have embraced native advertising, and the report stakes its colours to the mast, claiming that “we believe that a migration to native could help redefine users’ perception of digital advertising, and, in turn, diminish the need for ad blockers.”
In the arena of ecommerce, big changes are predicted and many of them are from the big players. For some time now, Amazon has been seeking to provide a complete end-to-end service. From buying its own fleet of tractor trailers, to experimenting with drone delivery, this year will see Amazon move further away from its traditional reliance on delivery companies and become ever more independent.
Social media is still a relatively small players in ecommerce and barely drives sales in a direct way. But that won’t last for long. “In 2015, Facebook made a big push toward achieving that goal by allowing more brands and retailers to use its platform for selling merchandise. For example, online shoppers can now request to have shipping updates sent to them via Messenger. Consumers can also use the app to speak to a brand representative.” You can expect more and more links to e-commerce through your social pages in the coming year.
Affiliate marketing had a fairly bad name a few years ago, but it’s turning into something of a darling for the media industry. “Two factors are driving this growth: mainstream media publishers looking for supplementary revenue sources and influencer marketing. The latter is a form of earned media, which continues to expand on social media.” The widespread use of mobile as a platform of choice in 2016 also makes affiliate marketing a more natural and accepted part of the marketing mix.