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Biggest digital trends of 2016


With an emergence of the chatbots, the Pokémon Go Craze, Blocking Wars etc. 2016 has been an enormous 12 months for Digital advertising and marketing. This was the year video contents went live, chat apps grew up and YouTube advertisements earned better ROI than previous years. Let’s have a look back into the largest tendencies of the 12 months and put together a motion plan for the coming year.

Digital Marketing Vs Ad Blockers: This time it’s war

The battle between ad blockers and the digital marketing industry intensified in 2016. Ad blocking software is great for consumers weary of intrusive ads, but with advertisers able to pay to be on an ‘acceptable ads list’ to bypass filters.

AI and programmatic drive

The jumps made in artificial intelligence has been the major change of the year. AI opened some of the exciting new opportunities to the marketers from Google’s DeepMind toppling the human Go Champion to exclusive chatbots. Google CEO Sundar Pichai and his vision for the future has turned into a reality.  Physical computers are getting replaced by a smart assistant following you everywhere. Facebook and Twitter marketers were offered with their own branded chatbots to revolutionize customer service.

VR comes to the living room: Facebook gives glimpse into new social world

With many high-end games costing a big chunk of money, the VR experience lends itself well to brands who can provide an immersive experience for free. Virtual reality has made huge strides at the low and high ends of the market. Beyond gaming, Mark Zuckerberg demonstrated Oculus Connect, showing how social media could work in a VR environment.

Omni-channel shopping: High street and Ecommerce collide

The way we shop is changing rapidly. Consumers are using mobile phones to compare the prices, seek alternatives and vouchers for shopping and to follow the trend with a multi channel experience. Facebook updated its analytics to join up online and offline shopping habits.

LinkedIn and Microsoft pursue corporate match

Year 2016 was the year of separation and consolidation in the digital world. In China, WeChat owner Tencent overtook Alibaba as the biggest company in the country. Snapchat silently exposed the strategies for an IPO that valued the chat app at a whopping $25bn.Microsoft bought LinkedIn for a massive $22 bn while Verizon snapped up the embattled Yahoo for a less impressive $5bn.

Social stars: The rise of influencer marketing

2016 saw an increased importance of influencer marketing as the social media stars to eclipse TV celebrities in terms of brand reach. Twitter now let’s brands reward customers who retweet their content. Facebook also expanded its ‘Like’ button with 6 new ‘Reactions’ to encourage faster ways for people to respond to their newsfeed- something that boosted engagement.

Augmented reality a big breakthrough for 2016

Augmented reality has long been a novelty technology for marketers from Blippar to QR codes, but this year it got a boost from a millennial gaming franchise. Pokemon Go! was the big gaming breakthrough of the year, with many brands catching the craze.

Mobile marketing is no longer just the second screen

Second screening is no longer accurate as it’s the time for switch screening. The amount companies spend on mobile display ads overtook that of PC and tablet display for the first time.

Chat apps are growing 

Ever in view that Facebook purchased WhatsApp for an enormous $22bn again in 2014, chat apps have been colossal industry, eclipsing textual content, electronic mail and social media such as Twitter because the communication platform of alternative, especially among millennial.

Internet of things is getting smarter

Snapchat made its first move into hardware with Spectacles, while Apple finally committed to smart car software. From Google Glass to smart fridges- mainstream take-up never quite materializes. But the potential remains huge Amazon’s Echo took Siri technology into the living room, while Google’s latest line of robots showed them climbing stairs and filling a dishwasher, hinting at future homes beyond Roombas and smart thermostats.


All these trends indicate the shift seen in tech world in 2016, and researches depict that there are more reliable trends on the way to come. So, let’s wait and watch.


Deepthi Raghunath
Deepthi Raghunath

Well-known as a “Bengali in Sweans” due to the usage of Hindi in my talks I love creating and managing digital content to build relationships for organizations and individuals. Rest assured, my clients are always my priority.

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