Digital Trends That Are Here to Stay

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By: Casey Adam, Account Executive for Penn State Global Entrepreneurship Week 

Keeping up with an ever-changing digital landscape certainly presents its challenges. With the blink of an eye there is a new app, social media network, website, or mobile platform that could shift user preferences. In order for brands to move at the speed of culture, it’s important that marketers stay one step ahead of the game. Here are five digital trends that I believe will stick around in 2016.

Content will still be king – Content is one of the biggest buzzwords in the industry. Good content marketing is any branded material that is compelling, engaging, relevant, and inspiring. It is essentially the ultimate loophole to ad blocking. According to a 2015 survey of CMO’s, digital content will comprise 13 percent of total media budgets next year.

Mobile optimization – This year Google announced that mobile traffic finally overtook desktop. My bet is that mobile viewing will continue the momentum in 2016. Now more than ever it is important that marketers have a “mobile first” mindset when creating ads and content.

Innovative use of Emojis – Emojis will continue to be an important tool for marketers to incorporate in their campaigns. The example of the year was the Domino’s campaign that allowed customers to order a pizza by simply tweeting or texting the pizza emoji. Facebook is now testing out “reaction” emoji buttons that give users the ability to express how they feel aside from using the ‘like’ button. If Facebook moves forward with this, it would greatly improve sentiment analysis. Examining reaction emojis can reveal how people feel about the things they are posting or the brands they interact with.

Brand stances on Social Media –  With so much advertising clutter, it is important for brands to speak up and stand out. In fact, 73 percent of Millennials believe that businesses should share a point of view about issues. In 2015 we saw brands like Uber, Target, and Ben & Jerry’s supporting the Supreme Court gay marriage ruling on social media. 2016 will present numerous opportunities for brands to get behind other important social issues. 

Virtual reality – This year several companies used both interactive and virtual experiences to engage their customers. With Oculus Rift coming out in Q1, marketers have the opportunity to place their brands in immersive VR movies with 360-degree storytelling capabilities.

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