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A photograph of the Buble cam at the office of Buble Technology Inc. in Toronto on Friday, February 13, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette (Nathan Denette/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
A photograph of the Buble cam at the office of Buble Technology Inc. in Toronto on Friday, February 13, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette (Nathan Denette/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Four trends that will shape digital media in 2016 Add to ...

“Out with the old and in with the new” is one of those sayings that is most commonly used around the holiday and New Year’s.

But increasingly, we’re seeing that this is the standard motto of fast moving industries, like digital marketing and social media.

If 2015 taught us anything, it’s that today’s hot trends are tomorrow’s tired clichés, and that the lifespan of digital strategies is shrinking in the face of technological evolution and rapidly shifting consumer trends.

There was a lot to keep up with in 2015. In the past year, we were introduced to the power of Periscope’s live streaming technology, we witnessed the growth of video on new platforms, and we saw an increasing push towards e-commerce on all the major social networks.

So what does 2016 have in store for us? Here are a few thoughts about what we can expect.

The rise of 360-video and VR storytelling

Whenever a new storytelling medium is created, it takes the innovators of that medium time to create new ways of creating narratives using the new technology. At the dawn of cinema, most movies were just filmed plays; it took filmmakers some time to create the techniques and storytelling methods that would lead to the movies we enjoy today.

The same has happened in video in the digital age. Platforms like YouTube, Vine and Twitch are all creating new methods of storytelling, and in the coming year, we expect to see creators begin making the most of new technologies like 360-video and virtual reality (VR) as the find new platforms and avenues to craft engaging narratives.   

On the VR front, as more consumers get the technology that allows them to consume this content, creators are looking to find ways of reaching those users. VR offers a truly immersive video experience by replicating an environment, making you feel like you are actually there, whether that be on the Great Barrier Reef or inside a video game set on Mars.

Then there’s Canada’s own Bublcam, the world's first 360 spherical camera that can capture a full view of the world around you with no blind spots. The Bublcam has created a whole new way of seeing things. No longer do we have to wonder what’s behind the camera, because the Bublcam allows us to see it all.

Not unlike the sensation first brought to us by 3D films, these new forms of video and photography provide the viewer with new windows on the world, and creators with a new way of reflecting their reality.

The re-emergence of long form content

For the past few years, those of us in the content creation industries have been obsessed with in-the-moment, real time content that can respond to trends in the marketplace. Oreo changed the game with its Daily Twist campaign, where it put out new content every day; content that was a direct response to whatever was happening in the world on that day. The campaign revolutionized how brands looked at content marketing. It has become a given that brands will react to current events and have a stake in the conversation. This kind of reactive, real time content, is now a valuable tool for marketers.  

However, these days consumers are showing an appetite for longer narratives that can draw us in, tell a story, make us feel connected, and truly feel something. Brands understand that one of the best ways to build loyalty is to create an emotional connection with their consumers, and when you have more time to tell a story, there’s a greater opportunity to create those connections.

For successful brands, it still comes down to storytelling. With Hudson’s Bay it’s the story of heritage, with Proctor & Gamble it’s the story of family, with Dove it’s the story of real beauty.

In 2016, it’s likely we’ll see more brands move to a hybrid content strategy that includes longer form content, as well as additional reactive, and real time content.

Nostalgia reigned in 2015

Nostalgia has always been a powerful marketing weapon, but in the age of the social web, where people in their 20s and early 30s hold incredible buying power, marketers continue to experiment with new ways of evoking feelings of nostalgia. 

Perhaps nostalgia is more powerful these days we now spend more time trying to capture the moment rather than acknowledging and enjoying it. With constant stimulation, it’s truly impossible to slow down.

Whether it was Back to the Future Day in October, or the upcoming release of the new Star Wars movie, nostalgia is everywhere, and will continue to be a powerful marketing tool into next year.

Social media’s capacity to bring out the good in people

There’s no shortage of evidence showing the negative effects of social media, but over the last year, and going into the New Year, there is encouraging evidence that people are increasingly looking to social media as a means of doing good.

When terror struck in 2015, new social technologies helped people find shelter, stay safe, and let their loved ones know they were okay. From such darkness, the tragedies this year have shown us that social media is actually doing good things.

We constantly see people flood to social media to support one another and create a world bond in the wake of tragedy. Our ability to speak, to connect and support has allowed us to commune and heal. When tragedy does strike we have the tools to empathize, to sympathize, and to come together to build a better tomorrow.  

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