206 digital innovations

2016 - A look back to top 5 innovations that changed the digital market

Looking at 2016 through an imaginary virtual reality device live streaming from the past, we can spot a few interesting lessons for the digital market.

Through this device we would see a king-customer mounted on a throne of black Fridays, carrying a discount wand. His motto: “Save me time, money and make everything easy for me this instant!”

In this context of demanding clients empowered with more and more leverage by brands all over the world, some opportunities emerged. Here’s how they were approached bold companies and how to encapsulate them in your online strategy of 2017.

1. Facebook bet on video content and slowed down company pages

Facebook changed the news-feed algorithm again to accommodate family and friends’ posts first. Why? Because Facebook started out as a social network dedicated to people connections and is now fearing to become a simple commercial channel spreading impersonal and irrelevant news.

So, what can brands do in this situation? They should redesign their communication and marketing strategy, get rid of the tiring sales announcements and create personal content with sharing potential.

On the other hand, the good news from Mark Zuckerberg the past year was the LIVE transmission. It was open to every user, it has viral potential and does wonders for any publication, company or public figure. The real-time notifications towards fans and friends attract instant comments and reactions and no other user video content channel can beat that!

Cisco estimates that up to 2020, video traffic will represent 80% of the entire online traffic, globally. In 2016 alone the numbers show that 100 million hours of videos are watched on Facebook every day.

In Romania, PRO TV included newsroom live sessions in their online communication. They started a series of transmissions right before the evening news and reached 1.340.000 viewers in only 3 days. The effect on the Facebook page was an additional 20.000 page likes. (source: Pagina de media)

2. A new advertising medium - a brave new world - democratic virtual reality

Ever since Samsung launched their first VR Gear in 2015, the creative content niche started rolling down an entire snowball. Full feature devices started to emerge, but proved to have an uncomfortable price for the end consumer. Mobile ones still compete for popularity today. So, all rules were turned upside down by Google who invented Cardboard - a low-cost system accessible in everyone’s homes.

This past year, Google Cardboard was downloaded over 10 million times. Not to wonder that there are currently about 700 start-ups worldwide creating VR content or apps, according to AngelList. Who do they work for? Statista.com shows that 1,4 million VR devices were bought around the world and estimate that number will grow 6 times until 2017.

Locally, in March this year, Grolsch surprised us by launching a mechanism to build your own VR glasses, made from beer cans. In another market segment, during the summer, Uber customers were invited to test Samsung Gear VR devices while sitting in traffic, in their rides.

3. Content Marketing is no longer just king. It’s a dictator!

Therefore, personalized content created and strategically distributed through all channels will tell the brand’s story, will militate for innovation and will ultimately bring added value in its potential customers’ eyes.Banners, sales, discounts on all branding channels can only accumulate and project a diabolic noise on consumers’ devices. In all this battle for attention the relevant content wins over the commercial one. The consumer is no longer interested in receiving only cheap prices. He needs time saving to obtain an information, to get to the point without having to endure intrusive ads.

61% of consumers say they have a better opinion of companies who offer personalized content. (source: Custom Content Council) and blogs offer websites 434% more indexed pages and 9% more indexed links (source: Content+)

In 2016, 200 million users have ad blockers installed on their devices, which kills any classical marketing initiative. On the other hand, relevant content market leaders manage to grow awareness and brand recognition, which leads to better engagement and healthy long-term sales increase.

4. Mobile beats desktop without a doubt

After Google announced a change in their ranking algorithm for non-mobile friendly websites, a real “mobilegeddon” started. It’s a dreadful competition between platforms who attract most of their users through organic searches. Not only the mobile website version has become crucial, but it proved that Google considers it perfectly acceptable for websites to be only mobile.

A Google study published in October 2016 shows that 40% of users only rely on mobile Internet search and the average time spent per person each day on their smartphone is 3 hours.

Here’s why every website which doesn’t offer a pleasant and relevant experience to consumer, will direct him to the competition.

Now, more than ever, the efforts to align your website with the other social media channels tilts the balance in a decisive way. A non-responsive website can cancel all marketing efforts in the social media.  

5. Internet of Things, smart accessories and wearable technology

After Apple, other 16 global producers launched smartwatches followed then by fitness trackers or Snapchat spectacles - the product that dethrones Google Glass. Even international fashion designers like Michael Kors created stylish smartwatches for fashionistas.

As utility and connectivity are desirable together, hi-tech accessories will completely change the marketing landscape, especially as the Internet of Things makes your car communicate to the TV and fridge and tell them you’re coming home.

In Romania, the idea to start a hi-tech business is becoming more and more attractive to young entrepreneurs. A few promising start-ups are already rising and western investors are watching their moves.

Vector Watch - proposes a smartwatch powered by a battery with a 30-days life cycle.   

SkinVision - is a mobile app which detects risky skin problems. In only 5 years since launch, the start-up obtained 4.5 million euros in financing.  

MIRA Rehab - is also a medical app which transforms physical recovery into a video game. It was launched by cybernetic students in 2012, then moved its headquarters in London and now helps disabled children from unfortunate families.

(source: tech.eu)

Until 2025, McKinsey Institute estimates the IOT market will have an economic impact of 6 trillion dollars. Who will benefit from the opportunity and dive in to discover new ways to use it until then?