Seven digital trends brands must prepare for in 2016

Insights into these unfolding trends will help firms stay at the forefront of technology in the coming year

Updated: Dec 30, 2015 06:15:55 PM UTC
The year 2015 saw a continued growth in the usage of mobile phones and the penetration of Internet services and smartphones reached even remote areas of India

Image: Nuk2013 /

In the past couple of weeks, agencies and brands have been putting together their plans for 2016, announcing distinctive ways in which they can make the coming year bigger. Here’s a list of digital trends we foresee making a mark in 2016:

Data will become omni-channel: With digital data becoming more accessible, brands will be able to track the purchase and post-purchase cycle of a consumer to a greater extent. Marketers will be able to gain insights into a consumer’s product or service experience and will invest heavily in consultants who are able to provide a 360 degree audit and solution.

Mobile will get bigger, better and more integrated: The year 2015 saw a continued growth in the usage of mobile phones and the penetration of Internet services and smartphones reached even remote areas of India. Growth on a much more larger scale is predicted for 2016. Mobile technology will help in building relationships, scale the process of innovation and outreach, create personalised experiences and enhance brand integration. Technological innovations such as augmented reality, wearable technology and search enhancements will create a better-connected mobile world.

Video marketing as essential armoury:  Seventy-four percent of all Internet traffic is predicted to come from videos. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat have been investing heavily in making video creation and viewing extremely user friendly. Videos are being used to create brand awareness, provide product tutorials, display event highlights and demonstrate DIYs, all through the convenience of a smartphone. Gripping content and your smartphone will be adequate to create fresh and easy-to-consume videos, and for brands to reach out to the right audiences in the most relevant format they will need to ride on the bandwagon.

Influencer relations to expand: Brands in India have realised the potential of influencers. Apart from just marketing through them, the need for building a relationship and ensuring they’re able to advocate the brand experience will be the key to success. Tools to organise and manage influencer relations will be used more effectively to leverage these associations.

From storytelling to experiential stories: Content creators will move beyond just storytelling, i.e., into story creation through experiences. Content-driven experiences will help marketers distinguish their brands and create value separate and distinct from the products and services they sell.

Instant purchases via social media: Social media sites are investing in keeping a consumer glued on to their portal by providing everything right there. Facebook’s search engine will allow further visibility to brands, given it is predicted to go beyond the way you search on Google or Yahoo. Through call to actions on social media such as buy, enquire, sign up, etc., users gets to complete their entire transaction with a brand right there, and share their experiences and purchase with friends too. Brand ROI will be more effectively measured through these mediums.

Virtual reality to gain momentum: The recent development in VR, the Oculus Rift will bring a transformation in the virtual reality space. (The Rift is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2016, making it one of the first consumer-targeted virtual reality headsets). With the constant need to amaze consumers through new routes, VR applications will drive interesting branding activities, whilst also being used for training simulations, therapy, cloud-based work environments and online shopping.

The digital world is known to bring about constant change and those who are able to adapt and lead will always be at the forefront, so plan well but also be ready to experiment with all that comes your way, provided you have insights on the relevance of the trends that work for your brand.

- By Zafar Rais - CEO, MindShift Interactive

The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.

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