Digital Trends to Watch for in 2016

We’ve reached December, the month when “trends to watch” listicles flood the Internet. The Nieman Lab has published a mammoth “Predictions for Journalism 2016,” and many others have come up with their own lists of trends to look out for in the coming year. Most of these trends are based on what is already happening, so these articles tend to be less than insightful. For example, Atlantic Media Strategies just published “9 Digital Trends to Watch for in 2016,” which highlights a few interesting but unsurprising trends. Some of my favorites (and one of my own) include:

  1. The Death of the Website

Is a website always necessary? It is always the best way to reach your audience? Everyone agrees that mobile is growing fast and there is reason to believe that we are heading towards a mobile-only or primarily mobile world. So what is going to replace websites? Apps? I’m not sure the website is dead quite yet, but I see where this trend is coming from: the insane growth of mobile.

2. Finally, Digital-First Branding

This is a trend I have grappled with over the past few weeks; I’m building a logo and brand identity for a small business and I’m realizing that these days, logos really need to be designed with digital in mind. What shape logo works with social media profiles? What branding can shift easily between print and digital? I agree with the author of this trend that we need to start thinking digital-first when we’re creating brand identities.

3. The Rise of Ad Blockers

This is not a trend for 2016 – this is a trend of now. I freely admit that I use an ad blocker, despite working in the advertising world. All of the digital advertising experts I have asked about the rise of ad blocking have responded with variations of “less than 10% of Internet users have ad blocker, it’s a non-issue” or “it’s a niche thing, most people are not using it.” It’s true that the number of people using an ad blocker is still relatively small, but it’s growing and I think the phenomenon of ad blocking will be a major issue for the advertising industry in the next few years.

A bonus trend:

4. Video, video, video

Video is going to keep growing, so much so that I think it’s going to overtake traditional digital advertising (i.e. static banners). We’re already seeing that video on Facebook is an enormous arena, and YouTube is not slowing down anytime soon. Video advertising is going to be even bigger than it already is – and next year, I think the focus is going to be interactive video ads.