Starting with the dot com bubble well over a decade ago, the digital world is becoming more omnipresent in all of our lives. The digital world, however, is changing at an incredibly fast pace, and it can be difficult to keep up. Here are three relevant trends to keep your eyes open for in 2017 that maybe you haven’t considered.
1. Security in the increasingly mobile driven world: Due to recent high-profile hacks suffered by the DNC and others, security from both a business and personal standpoint will be of even more importance. Threats range from underground domestic hackers here in the United States, to hackers employed and trained by foreign governments, such as the cyber units of the Russian and Chinese armies. The skill of these cyber threats continue to outpace the development of countermeasures. The ever growing dependence on mobile platforms will only make this more problematic. The development of mobile malware has grown exponentially in recent years. In an interview with welivesecurity.com cyber security expert Denise Giusto Bilić explained that “During 2015, new variants of malicious code created for Android averaged 200 a month; during 2016, this number rose to 300 new monthly variants (in iOS the number is 2 per month). We would not be surprised to see this increase continue over the next year, averaging 400 new mobile malware variants per month for Android by the end of 2017.” On the Apple side, threats continue to develop. It was not too long ago that iPhone users lived a relatively care-free existence, free of the Malware viruses that plagued the Android community. Malware viruses were few and far between as of 2012, however in recent years the threat to the iOS system on the iPhone and iPad platforms has grown to a family of seven malware viruses. While still small in number compared to the threats confronting Android users, the years of blissful security have left the soft underbelly of Apple iOS exposed to hacks, and many of its users unaware of the possible threats.
2. Evolution of Ad Blockers: Users will consume less banner style advertising, which is quickly becoming an antiquated method of outreach to consumers. Research from PageFair found that more than 400 million users globally block ads served on the mobile web compared with 200 million desktop users. What this means is consumers are quickly becoming fed up with online advertising when browsing online content. Ad blocker software usage increased 34% during 2016, with the percentage expected to increase even more in the coming years. Adblocker Plus, an industry leader in ad blocker software, recorded 100 million users by end of fiscal 2016, with their number of users also expected to rise. Marketers must respond to counter this ever growing usage of ad block software by becoming even more strategic by developing and using sophisticated targeting methods and software to ensure ads reach the right audiences with the right messages.
3. Facebook Live: According to Facebook statistics, users watch live videos three times longer than the same videos when they aren’t live. Also, video posts on Facebook have been determined to reach 135% more users than the generic photo posts that were the long time bread-and-butter of the site. Couple those statistics with the 1.71 billion monthly users the site generates, and you are looking at the single largest potential audience in the world. CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself said in 2014 that, “In five years most of Facebook will be video,” and with 8 billion video views from 500 million users a day, look for the trend to continue in 2017. Facebook’s livestreaming platform Facebook Live has become the go to sharing platform for companies and individuals alike. Members of government, athletes, and pop culture celebrities have and will continue to use Facebook Live as a mode of communication. Whether it be an announcement from the White House, or the Pittsburg Steelers’ Antonio Brown’s recent gaffe of streaming live from the Steelers locker room after a playoff game, to House Democrats streaming live from the House floor during last year’s sit-in on gun control, Facebook Live has emerged as the preferred method of communication. Look for Facebook Live to gain further use and prominence in 2017.
Will is the spring 2017 intern for the SIGNAL Digital team. Prior to joining SIGNAL, Will worked on the Claudia Tenney for Congress campaign, directing get-out-the-vote and digital outreach efforts.