Glimpsing into a digital business future not far away

Our world is changing every day, and often in subtle ways.

Glimpsing into a digital business future not far away

While it might not seem like it on the surface, we have already surpassed many of our science fiction fantasies.

Menial work is outsourced to robots, and modern watches are more powerful than the computers that sent people to the moon.

This year brought us the rise of the smart watch, the proliferation of specialist social media, and our digital interactions changing how we see and even shape world news events.

The pace of change looks set to increase in 2016.

At the Digital Marketing Institute, our business brings us into contact with leading technology brands, training its future titans and monitoring digital trends.

This is our view of 2016.

As wearable technology becomes more affordable, it will also be an opportunity for innovative marketers.

Apple’s smartwatch is just the beginning, and numerous imitators will flood the market.

Many new companies invest more in their interactive mobile apps than on their websites, and this trend looks set to rise as apps are now appearing in mobile searches.

Businesses are using digital marketing in better ways.

They will have to continue to work just as hard to adapt to the way consumers use apps.

Facebook and LinkedIn have made social media a part of everyday consumer and business life, but specialist social media platforms are having a moment too.

Periscope, Vine, and Snapchat’s ‘Discovery’ section are the tip of the iceberg.

Digital content is becoming progressively more interactive.

Twitter’s real-time polls, creative engagement from consumers, and bespoke mobile games, are accelerating at a dizzying rate.

With many technology giants investing heavily in search technology, Google will no longer be the last word in searches.

That will have a knock-on effect on search engine optimisation.

Content marketing — blog posts, info-graphics, reports, clever tweets, and all the rest — remains king in attracting and retaining audiences.

Google is continuing to look for high-quality content and promotes it based on the time a user spends on a page.

Content also needs to be honed to target specific customers.

It is about much more than attracting some one onto a website and hoping for a sales conversion.

The business needs to use data to identify customers. Virtual reality also is becoming a reality with products such as Oculus Rift.

This is a niche category but businesses may attract valuable media coverage for using it effectively.

Ian Dodson is the founder and president of the Digital Marketing Institute

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