digital content

Digital Content Trends To Watch In 2016

The 2016 countdown is on.

The gloves are off, the bets are on, and the crystal balls are glistening – commentators everywhere are waxing lyrical on what’s likely for the year ahead.

But when it comes to content what’s really out there for 2016?

Read on for a few of the fittest contenders.

Real-time, low res video will be the marketer’s new best friend.

While video has been top of the content pile for a while already, it’s increasingly expected to happen in the now. Meaning that apps like Periscope and Meerkat, which allow you to stream live video directly to your audience, will be more and more important in the coming year. Millenials, in particular, expect to see things happen in real-time, and are less concerned about high-quality video than they are about keeping abreast of events literally as they unfold.

Similarly, apps like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook are being used to share quick, close to real-time video-on-the-go. Not surprising then that online video ads are showing higher click-through rates than their text-based equivalents. One small tip – don’t assume that the social video revolution is confined to B2C – B2B organisations are also in the game.

Visuals will become ever-more sophisticated.

As visuals are becoming more important in capturing audience attention amongst the deluge of content out there, it’s safe to say that those same audiences expect greater sophistication in what they see. Enter the increasing use of gifs, cinemagraphs and interactive visuals to tempt users to engage. The slickness of what we produce on the visual front is also being enabled by the faster connections now available, particularly in the mobile sphere.

 

Animated gifs

Optimisation for mobile will be taken as a given.

While ‘mobilegeddon’ (Google’s algorithm to favour mobile-friendly sites, released last April) was one of the big digital events of 2015, optimising websites and content for use on mobile will become even more important in the year ahead. Notwithstanding the power of the dreaded algorithm, expectations have changed, and most mobile users will now simply click away from sites that can’t be easily navigated on a mobile device. Producing mobile-friendly, multi-platform, adaptive content will be the only way to go. This short video gives an overview of what constitutes mobile-friendly content.

Content may be tailored for compatibility with virtual assistants.

Experts believe that as mobile over desktop increasingly becomes the norm, more voice searches and smart assistants will change the nature of search. The knock-on effect on content will mean that companies may focus on tailoring it to appeal to specific assistants, such as Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri or Facebook M.

 

Virtual assistants

 

Social media will continue to morph, with Instagram and Snapchat taking front row seats.

The use of Instagram has been growing exponentially; there are currently more than 400m users on the platform. Snapchat figures are also leaping ahead, making it no longer just the latest social media fad but a genuine contender in the marketing space. Any organisation targeting the younger age demographic will be giving it some serious consideration in 2016.

More search will happen within social media platforms.

While Googling your topic of choice won’t disappear anytime soon, finding relevant information from within Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will become more common than before. Even the fact that Instagram introduced a proper search field on its web offering in 2015 suggests this trend is one to look out for. What does it mean for brands and content creation? At the very least, it heralds opportunity and change in ad space related to these platforms.

With in-app indexation, more content will be created specifically for apps.

While the full roll out of in-app indexing is still in flux, app content now shows up in Google search results. Marketers will start to think about how they can capitalise on this, and begin to create content specifically with apps in mind.

Interactive, tailored content will be flavour of the year.

Interactive content that changes or responds to prompts by users will continue to develop and grow. It could be in the form of interactive video, where a user can choose one of a number of storylines, or a chart displaying information as a user hovers over an area. Where content was previously a uni-directional, simple message delivered in a straightforward way, user choice and participation are now fast becoming the norm.