Back in January we reported on five digital trends to look for in 2014 as we dived into the year. Now, the summer of 2014 is coming to an end and we’re moving into the second half of the year. Let’s take a look back at our predictions and see how they’ve evolved since January:
1. Visually Speaking
Visual fluency has been speaking loudly. We mentioned that visuals over words will be a must for brands’ content strategies in the coming year in order to better connect with their fans, and we definitely saw some brands listening.
As mobile usage continues to rise and dominate the digital space, consumers are shifting their communication consumption to short videos, emojis and immersive photography. Even the simple gestures of mobile such as swipes have become a part of content consumption. The growth of Tinder has led to a series of shopping apps using “glanceable UI.”
Technology has become more sophisticated in how users can communicate and share feelings with one another. New hyped apps like Yo and emoji-only services simplify the process even further and now, music messengers have been added to the mix. We’ve also noticed that brands have been embracing platforms like Tumblr with all its visual glory as a major hub for content-marketing. Instagram’s visually driven platform is also being transformed as a new medium to steer PR crises in real time as noted by New York Magazine.
2. The War for Privacy
Ironically, the more excited we get about social sharing platforms, the more concerned consumers become about privacy invasion. We mentioned that privacy concerns would become more personally relevant – specifically Snapchat’s data breach and Target’s credit card information breach – and this has become more germane as the year has gone on. Privacy concerns have begun to affect our behavior and impact our morals. People have become hesitant to Google dates – what NY Mag coined “The New Abstinence” – out of respect and are now considering “stalking a crush online” as one of the “Seven Digital Deadly Sins”.
3. YouTube Channels Challenging TV -> YouTube Challenges Traditional Notions of Fame
We noticed that YouTube channels are becoming so influential, especially among younger generations, that we predicted it would start to challenge the power of TV and Hollywood. In April, YouTube invested in traditional ad spending to get the word out about the power behind their “stars,” as reported by AdAge. This inadvertently staked a claim that the notion of “celebrity” is changing entirely, and YouTube is leading the shift. Just last month, Variety commissioned a report which found that YouTube stars are more popular than mainstream celebs among U.S. teens. YouTube of course, isn’t the only online platform changing the way we view celebrities. Instagram is responsible for a new form of teenage celebrity, dubbed “Instafame,” and Vine’s influence continues to grow with their “fan gathering” arm, comprised of some of the most popular Viners in America.
We highlighted that there was no doubt the gaming industry is reaching new heights, highlighting a very important niche trend we noticed: e-Sporting, or competitive video game competitions where spectatorship viewing was becoming a key attraction. We reported Twitch TV, a site where millions of people watch other people play video games, as a fast rising star. Low and behold, last month, everyone was sure that Google was buying Twitch, which eventually fizzled out but Amazon then moved in and made one of its biggest acquisition to date. Read the full story on Venture Beat.
5. Sensory Perception, The Always-On Consumer
Nick Bolton of the New York Times discussed a very important topic of how the proliferation of mobile – such as wearable technology and smart watches – will yield smarter sensory mechanics. He envisions that smart technology will become more aware of its surroundings without the user’s input. We’ve seen this trend come to fruition and manifest itself in new ways, including context based advertising – communications that change based on environment, weather and other external factors. L’Oreal even launched the first-ever intelligent vending machine: L’Oreal with enabled color-recognition technology, which detects a color palette in a woman’s outfit by scanning her from head to toe, and expertly suggests eye, lip and nail shades that better fit the color of her clothing and hair.
What trends have you seen change or emerge since the start of the year?
This post was written by Maxine Gurevich and Amanda Kleinberg
Image credit: vancouverfilmschool