6 Digital and Cultural trends for 2016

Real-time everything — I feel like Drake could sing a song about this

Over the holiday period I bought some new stuff, I bought a bunch of Christmas presents for people and was ultimately let down by shipping times and deliveries. I don’t know whether it’s my generation but when I purchase something I expect to get it instantly or within a day. This option just doesn’t exist everywhere, but the brands that make it happen and always over deliver are brands like Mr. Porter. I know that I didn’t receive what I bought in “real-time” but the updates on what was happening and when, made it feel like a real time experience and that’s now an expectation with products and content.

The reason that this is my first trend is that over the last 3 months I have never heard so many requests for real time topical content. We now have trending topic emails sent out every morning on topics in pop culture that we could build a creative brand story around and post within the same day. It’s an expectation from people that your brand is on trend and as we get more impatient the demand will only increase.

Be careful though, just because it’s culturally relevant doesn’t mean you should post about it for your brand, just look at last years MLK day posts from some brands or Woolworths Anzac Day stuff up.


This is nothing new but it’s becoming increasingly more important to the digital success of both brands and campaigns. Everyone wants something that relates to him or her, gone are the days of spray and pray content. Now I expect my name, images and other parts of my life to be integrated to content that I receive in order to make it feel like it was made just for me. This makes it hard for marketers as the budgets are not always there to do this (stop making banner ads and reinvest), but if done correctly like Nike’s OutdoYou then it can lead to more sales of a product, more money for the bottom line and a more engaged user experience.


I hate myself for writing this and I know that every staff member at The Monkeys will ultimately tease me but I read about this lately and well it kind of makes sense. FOLO is Fear of living offline. You laugh but we all have this fear. We can’t be by ourselves, we second and third screen, we pick up our phone as soon as someone goes to the toilet at a restaurant, we even use our phone on the toilet. Basically if something isn’t on social then it didn’t happen. There is a fear of living in the real world as for many people their lives just are never going to be as good as their Instagram lives. So should we embrace this and help people live even better online lives or provide experiences that make them put their phones down and enjoy the moment. I am for the latter.


Again this is nothing new but it relates to one of my favourite pieces of tech for storytelling and that is both Virtual Reality and 360 video. We have done some great work with both at The Monkeys, but I feel we will be doing a whole lot more of this type of content within the next 12 months. Consumers are adopting the technology as it’s now affordable and any time you hand over a Google cardboard in a meeting you can’t help but laugh at people looking up, down, left and right with astonishment that a whole new world is able to be explored without leaving the room.

Brands that can make their stories both relevant and interactive will be the winners, therefore look out for some brilliant new websites and a bunch of new VR apps. Who knows, a brand may even be brave enough to have a whole store that is dedicated to VR experiences (ok, maybe I pitched this to a client last year).

Wearable health (I said last year I would write more about this so here it is)

The rise of digital tools and technology use among consumers is having a major impact on healthy living. After all why would you use a Nutri Bullet and have a green juice if you couldn’t track your steps and tell people how it you’re getting.

People are searching for health related information and making decisions related to their own health, it’s definitely going to be a major trend for Health Insurance companies and the company that moves first in this domain will have a massive advantage both through data and innovation. So how do we take advantage of this trend?

Integrate this need for being healthy with wearable technology or apps. Give consumers the answers they are looking for and ones they can share to fill up your Facebook feed with something other than babies. A lot of businesses have started already. Apple have partnered with Nike and created an app called HealthKit of course they have. Users can now set goals and track their progress through a single dashboard. There is even an app called FitBark which allows you to track and monitor your dog’s sleeping patterns and eating routines, this may be a little over the top.

But let’s make sure we don’t create things just to get more “Big” data. Let’s make it into smart data and personalise experiences for people.

Social Commerce

You know those “buy now” buttons you see stalking your interests in your timeline? Yeah, they’re not going anywhere and soon you’ll be clicking on them.

In fact, more platforms are working on creating their own buy buttons.

Currently, if you see something appealing on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, you can get it with your fingertip. Plus, you never leave the app. Instagram is apparently launching one very soon. Plan on Twitter, SnapChat, LinkedIn, and even Google+ (although no one will see it) to have one next year.

I am all for this as if I can see something I like and buy it with a click then it simplifies my life. There are some great social shopping networks like Nuji that do this extremely well, so go check them out.

That’s all for this year, hopefully these have made you rethink your plans for some awesome banner ads, amazing generic eDM programs and interactivity beyond pressing play on a video for your website. You can read the above in real time, see the trend is already coming to fruition.

Enjoy and feel free to leave comments here http://digitaladculture.com/2016/01/04/6-digital-and-cultural-trends-for-2016/

Like what you read? Give Grant Flannery a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.