9 Digital Trends for Enterprises in 2016


trends door

While the open door is metaphorically welcoming you into 2016, each of these stars represents an important trend you want to know about.

Through our work equipping leading corporations with the capabilities they need to succeed in the digital age, the GA Corporate Training team is consistently learning new trends that matter to enterprises. In this article, we’ve highlighted 9 of the trends that we’re really excited about for next year: these are the things we can’t wait to explore in depth with our clients in 2016:

1. Consumer patience comes to an end

Human brains adapt incredibly quickly to their environment, and our current enviroment is dominated by short-form, quick-fire interactions. It’s no surprise that our expectations for immediate gratification have skyrocketed. Until 2016, we were ready to forgive our devices for short lags in certain circumstances–when they booted, when they loaded web pages, when they saved documents, etc. But devices like the Chromebook–which boots in an instant–or the iPhone 6–whose speed significantly outpaces that of the iPhone 5–have eroded our ability to be patient.

Recents stats are incredibly telling: 29% of smartphone users will immediately leave your site or app if it doesn’t immediately satisfy their needs. Of those who do immediately leave, 70% are doing so because of lagging load times. With mobile commerce playing an increasingly important role, this will matter. 40% of shoppers will wait no more than three seconds before abandoning a retail or travel site!

Next year, I expect the conversion rates of apps and websites from brands and retailers who are still experiencing lag times to take a serious hit.

2. The new mCommerce is Messaging Commerce

While original mCommerce (Mobile Commerce) will no doubt explode in 2016–this year, 50% of all Black Friday orders at Walmart came from smartphones, more than double last year’s percentage–mobile shopping currently remains, for the most part, a hassle: checkout experiences are clunky, shoppers still have to input their credit card information, there are multiple screens and they each take too long to load. 

In response, we’ve seen a slew of concierge shopping apps that offer personal shopping services that are available, not just on your mobile phone, but within a messaging interface. Among them are apps like Dispatch, which logged $1 million of requests in its first 20 days. The combination of the seamless user experience of text messaging with the utility of on-the-go purchasing will make Messaging Commerce “the new mCommerce” and a big winner in 2016.

3. “Promateur” video goes VR


Source: Surf Images

The success of GoPro cameras in the past five years, and of consumer drones in the past two, has empowered amateur video enthusiasts around the world to record extremely high quality and beautiful footage that, in the past, would have required huge budgets. (For instance, check out this Youtube compilation of the best surfing drone videos of 2015.) I call these video enthusiasts “promateurs.”

Next year, in addition to seeing more GoPros on helmets of all varieties–think: cycling, skiing, climbing–and more incredible drone footage, we’ll see cameras like the Luna 360. The Luna 360 is offering 360 views, at a very reasonable cost, and without the complicated setup of professional rigs. It is the full package for a stunning, and cheap, VR experience. The public appetite for virtual reality promateur video tools was evidenced when, in just a few days, the Luna 360 raised more than double its ambitious $50,000 goal on the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.

4. Personalization goes offline


Source: Estimote

As brands and retailers start leveraging the full benefits of geolocation, personalization of content, products, and services in the real world will boom. The benefits of geolocation for retailers have already been showing with online purchases: 61% of smartphone users are more likely to buy from mobile sites and apps that customize information to users’ location.

Combining geolocation with the power of beacons means that retailers will be able to create the same personalized shopping experiences offline as they have been able to create online–first, attracting customers to their stores through geotargeted ads, and then serving those customers personalized offers when they step into the store. A recent Juniper Research study estimated that, in only four years, the number of shopping offers triggered by beacons will hit 1.6 billion–more than 10 times the 2015 figure of 11 million offers. We have a long way to go, but the explosion of offline personalization starts this year.

5. Customer centricity expands to include internal corporate “customers”

While product and marketing teams have broadly adopted and integrated the principles of design thinking–designing products and campaigns with customers top of mind at all times–the principles of customer-centricity are now spreading across organizations to all employees.

We’re seeing early signs of this in the work we do with HR teams around the world. In our workshops, we have begun to adapt journey mapping tools to an HR context to cater to employees–“internal customers”–much as product designers or marketers would think about their end customers’ experience. This approach is powerful and helps companies–regardless of size, industry, or culture–rethink how they attract, retain, and develop employees.

6. Mobile payments take off in the analog world

apple pay

Source: Fortune

While it took eight years for the vast majority of consumers in the developed world to own smartphones, it will take just one year for the smartphone to dominate their shopping lives: 2016 will mark the moment smartphones fully permeate not just our social behavior, but our purchasing behavior, too.

Apple Pay launched in October 2014. Then 2015 was the year that thousands of businesses in the US and the UK–retailers, restaurants, and more–integrated the technology. Admittedly, adoption has been slow up until this point, but now that a critical mass of businesses have integrated, I’m confident that real, scaled adoption is right around the corner. One more prediction: Apple Pay will be the winner in mobile payments, thanks to its position as the dominant mobile payments system, its growth so far, and its brand power.

7. Video consumption explodes

A recent stat I read absolutely blew my mind: In 2017–just 1 year from now–74% of all the content that’s consumed online will be video content. 74%!

In 2015, the rise of video became evident as Instagram videos took off and Flipagram reached 30 million users in 12 months–twice as fast as Snapchat reached the same amount of users. In 2016, I expect video to appear everywhere: from replacing the text instructions when you receive a package at home, to replacing the text in your news app.

8. Facebook is more valuable than Alphabet


Source: Smarter Analyst

Ok, no, that’s a lie, but in 2016 we’ll start realizing how Facebook’s incredibly solid ecosystem of platforms is changing advertising for brands and marketers. Not everyone understood what was happening when Facebook paid $1 billion for Instagram in 2012 or $19 billion for Whatsapp in 2014. But as a part of the Facebook mothership, Instagram went from 90 million users in January 2013 to a whopping 400 million in September 2015. Similarly, Whatsapp went from 430 million users in January 2014 to 900 million in September 2015. The success of both platforms bolstered Facebook’s ability to understand and measure mobile behaviors and gave it the tools it needed to connect the dots between people’s mobile and desktop usage.

In 2013, Facebook purchased Atlas, an online ad server and measurement tool. At the end of 2014, Facebook merged the valuable behavioral data from platforms like Instagram and Whatsapp together with the technology of Atlas to launch a “people-based” ad technology Atlas by Facebook. With Atlas by Facebook, Facebook is able to measure the success of ad campaigns across devices and platforms by targeting real people through their Facebook ID, rather than using cookies. This has totally changed the game for marketers who can now easily track connections in the consumer journey from one screen to another. Even Google struggles to do that. As a result, I expect Facebook to keep winning the cross-device war in 2016.

9. Ad blocking’s life is short-lived

In 2015, the rise of ad blocking software sent a clear message to the advertising industry: if you don’t stop jamming our mobile experiences with ads that are slow to load and clutter the experience, we’ll cut you out. In 2016, I expect the advertising industry to outsmart the ad blockers.

One key to advertising’s revival will be native advertising. A great example in 2015 came from the Australian beer brand Foster’s in their ‘Helluva Tour’ campaign. The campaign featured ads that were short, mobile-filmed travel videos of 4 young people driving from England to Australia, complemented by a reality comedy television series on Channel Four in Australia. It was a hit, and I expect more brands to leverage this type of advertising in response to ad blockers.


Learn about how these trends, and others, will affect your business by having your product, marketing, or leadership team work with GA’s corporate training team in 2016.


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