A couple of us attended an event at the IAB offices in London earlier this year called ‘New Year, New You’. We were privileged enough to listen to speakers from Google and Microsoft, and whilst I know this year is now already in full swing, I’d like to share with you a few of our learnings on what the hottest digital trends are this year.
1. Value Me
Consumers are smartening up to the fact that they have something that brands really want (and I’m not just talking about their money). Their data is hugely valuable to brands and consumers are now becoming more willing to exchange this data for rewards.
FACT: 50% of consumers are likely to buy from brands that reward consumers for digital information.
With so many reward schemes out there, it’s hard to know which loyalty cards are worth bulking out your purse for. The Boots Advantage card certainly seems the most generous, earning you 4 points for every £1 you spend, so it’s easy to rack up points quickly. And as you can spend them on almost anything in-store, it comes in handy for those pre-payday beauty splurges!
2. Age of Serendipity
Consumers are getting bored of traditional advertising. They now want (and expect) to be surprised and delighted from technology and brands.
FACT: 36% of consumers expect technology to deliver experiences that feel like coincidences.
So many brands are doing this right at the moment, but one that has stuck in my mind for its poignancy is WestJet’s Christmas Miracle campaign. What a great and emotive way of showing America (and the rest of us) how important their customers are to them!
If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a must: http://youtu.be/zIEIvi2MuEk
3. My Analytics
It’s not just brands who are data hungry, consumers are also developing an innate need to fulfil their self-knowledge.
FACT: 28% of consumers would be interested in continuously analysing personal data implanted in their body.
Wearable tech is everywhere at the moment and it links quite nicely to this digital trend. My current favourite would have to be Withings’ smart tracker called ‘Pulse’, which syncs with your smartphone or tablet and helps you to be more active by capturing your steps, telling you how many calories you’ve burned, the distance you’ve travelled, etc. The Pulse offers an empowering experience as you are able to better yourself by making informed choices from analysing your data.
4. Enhancing the Real
Blurring the line between digital and offline is becoming more and more popular in the industry. We’re being introduced to new technologies all the time, such as 3D printing and augmented reality. It’s exciting to think ‘what’s round the corner?’.
FACT: 37% of consumers would buy a brand that allows them to experience things on-and-offline in the same way.
A really great example of a company who have ‘enhanced the real’ is Uniqlo and their ‘Magic Mirror’ campaign. Check it out here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUD57MpHAE8
5. Niche Networks
Consumers are turning towards niche communities and forming online groups, dedicated to sharing one common interest. So brands need to tap into these niche spaces and talk to consumers in a credible way.
FACT: 37% of consumers are more likely to engage with brands that make genuine connections with their specific interests and needs.
Take Red Bull & Fitocracy as an example. After Fitocracy launched in 2012, the site had gained over 1.5 million users and a highly engaged user base (moreso than Twitter!). So the clever chaps at Red Bull decided to jump on the bandwagon and join in with this network by sponsoring several fitness challenges. By tapping into this niche network, Red Bull has connected with a community of fitness fanatics and has managed to reach them in a space that is not littered with other brands all fighting for attention.
6. Creator Culture
Often associated with ‘Generation I: psychographic group’, these consumers are looking to learn how to build on existing technologies.
FACT: 33% of consumers express a desire to learn how to adapt digital devices.
A great example here are Ikea Hackers. They are people who enjoy making modifications on and repurposing Ikea products. ‘Hacks’, as they call it, may be as simple as adding an embellishment to an existing product or completely changing how a product was initially designed to be used, with the use of power tools and a lot of ingenuity. Check it out here - http://www.ikeahackers.net
7. Intelligently On
Brands have to always be switched on and available to consumers. They also need to know when to appear and disappear in front of consumers, as not everyone wants to be online all of the time.
FACT: 42% of consumers expect technology and brands to be intelligent enough to know the right moment to talk and engage with them.
Bet 365 are a brand with good timing. They engage with their consumers by running live ads during sporting events, which offer viewers the latest odds to encourage in-play betting.
So there it is, 7 of the hottest digital trends for this year. In the ever discerning and impatient world that we live and work in, it’s key to be aware of the things we might not see day-to-day. So I hope you’ve found these trends useful and can use these learnings as inspiration for your next digital project.