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2015

As the end of the year approaches we start to see all prediction posts for 2016 and talk of new starts and new goals for the next year. Before I jump on that bandwagon I just wanted to take a look back at an interesting year in digital for both business and myself.

Below I have outlined the top three things that I have noticed having the biggest impact or change over the last 12 months in digital.

  1. Live streaming

This is both an obvious trend an interesting one. I was fortunate enough to attend SWSW in Austin Texas in March 2015 and was present at the launch of Meerkat. This was shortly followed by the announcement of Periscope form Twitter. For a while this two brands battled it out like the VHS vs Betamax days in a fight to win the live streaming battle. Although both brands are still running as of this post I think it would be fair to say the Periscope made the biggest dent on the social media landscape.

As with all new social platforms a number of stars rose out of obscurity and made a name for themselves very quickly and good on them. I will be honest, I downloaded the apps and had a play but much like I did with Vine I have never actually published anything.

I am not concerned with getting in front of the camera at all I just hesitated and never started. A little later into the year a new streaming service came along in the form of Blab. Now Blab did seem to be much more of a desktop tool and also designed for multiple people in much more of an interview style. I do not believe that this was directly competing with Periscope and Meerkat as it has a very different function, however I do believe that it stole the attention and focus to a large degree.  I very recently was part of a Blab (ironically it was for a prediction in digital for 2016) and the experience was simple and seamless. I can see me using more use of blab going forward.

I do think that 2015 was the year for live streaming and is now very much in the mind of influencers and marketers for the coming year.

2. Podcasts

Now as many of you know I am a bit of a podcast freak, however that aside podcasting was hot in 2015. With tens of thousands of new shows being released and millions of downloads anyone who was anyone in the digital space had a podcast. This is not a new technology by any stretch of the imagination although has now really come to fruition due to an number of factors. The first is the launch of the iphone and the native app that included. The second was the launch of the podcast serial which brought some major awareness to the format as a whole. However 2015 was the year that more people than ever started downloaded episodes and on a regular basis.

The huge spike in new shows has diluted the audience numbers and some original broadcasters may not be getting the same amount of downloads even with the bigger audience. The number of new shows and new technologies continues to grow and with services like Ringr and Spreaker that have recording apps on your smart phone and one button publish it is getting far easier to produce and publish your own show.

As for the future of podcasting I think there will be a drop out of shows that are not getting the numbers they want and this will leave a smaller number of shows but still considerably more than in 2014. I will still publish my weekly show called the Getting Ahead Podcast which you can find here.   

3. Content Shock or Saturation point

The brilliant Mark Schaefer wrote a post in 2014 about a term he coined “content shock” the basic premiss was that there was so much competition for attention with the massive surge in content production that it was getting harder and harder for brands to cut through the nose and gain the attention of their desired audience. With the Facebook edgerank algorithm stripping out content from peoples feeds the only way to get in front of your fans was to pay. While this topic was heavily debated the signs in 2015 were very much there. Boosting Facebook posts and social media advertising as a whole has generated million and millions of pounds for the respective social platforms as content marketers have to find a new way to get in front of an audience. The laser like targeting available on Facebook is very impressive and I have used Facebook boosts to great effect. This is a very different way of distributing content to in 2014 where paying to play was not in the minds of many digital marketers.

There is a huge amount of content out there far too much for anyone to consumer even what the wanted. Getting people onto your email list is without a doubt harder than before but is still the most valuable assets in your arsenal.

Going forward I can see more tools and services from the social platforms as the battle for dwell time starts. Brands need the attention and the social platforms  have that attention. Content marketing has been a buzz word for 2015 and I can see the face of content marketing changing in 2016 but that all for another post.

Summary

2015 had flown by and innovation and disruption are showing no signs of slowing. Sales and marketing continues to evolve as we learn more about the way we are learning and operating in a mobile first and in some cases mobile only world. We have less time that ever and that is likely to continue to be the case as we expect more on demand and live services.

I for one am looking forward to 2016 and can see a whole new wave of change on the way and that will result in more new faces and opportunities.

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