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Digital continues to excite us with its wide scope and rapid rate of change. Starting with the birth of digital marketing to the developments of social media and mobile marketing what can we expect to see over the next 5 years? Chanelle Carawan, Operations Director of Student Brands, believes that six key trends will dominate the next five years of digital.

Whatsapp Business

Social media networks and messaging apps have changed the way we communicate, and for businesses it means adopting these technologies to reach their audiences. WhatsApp, is arguably one of the world’s fastest-growing communication apps, already replacing SMS, and is fast becoming our primary mode of communication. The question business owners are now asking is: How can WhatsApp be used for business?

Whatsapp Business will allow for more flexible, fast and personal business communication. Many businesses have already begun to use this app for internal team communication and will, with time, begin to use Whatsapp for real-time customer communication, support and feedback. With its recent addition of Snapchat-like functionalities with the new Status feature, WhatsApp can now be used by businesses to provide valuable engagement with their audience whilst learning more about their customers’ needs.

Social Media and News Sites are basically going to become one

Digital innovation has introduced a new set of influences on the public’s news habits. Gone are the days of picking up a newspaper in order to get clued up on what’s happening in the world. Social media has provided a constant stream of information and, now, a constant stream of news, not only from people we’re close to but, from total strangers.

News stories have now come piecemeal, as links or shares, on our pages meaning that news will come to us whether we look for it or not. Social media platforms are now recognizing and adapting to their role in the news environment and will soon offer unique features for news users which may foster shifts in news use. This not only changes the way people engage with social media sites but the way that they engage with news websites and the news itself.

Instagram, Facebook and Whatsapp Stories becomes the new thing

Video is no longer optional for brands and businesses looking to market to students.  According to Animoto, a cloud-based video creation service, nearly two thirds of millennials prefer video to text.  Instagram and Whatsapp’s Snapchat-inspired Stories feature has placed video at the centre of all of these platforms.

This tool will impact how brands and companies engage with their client pool allowing more users to access real-time, temporary video content faster and easier.

Everything is going to become mobile

We’ve entered a world where there are more tablets and smart phones than PCs.  It has become a world where global internet users are led by mobile usage and where mobile is THE chosen medium of use.

The growing use of mobile technology by students, not only in the classrooms, indicates a great future towards digital. Today, we’ve already seen apps disrupt multi-billion dollar industries – gaming, retail, media, publishing, small business, photography, and travel. Brands will, in the future, need to develop their mobile strategies and budgets to begin catching up to the levels at which consumers are embracing the digital channel. The golden age of mobile is here and will be here for many years to come.

AI and Animation in advertising will continue to make an impact

Marketers have begun to realize the potential of using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Animation as a tool for improving the effectiveness of campaigns and brand marketing. Advertising agencies are using AI to learn their audiences’ interests and tastes. A simple example is Facebook’s targeted ads, which use artificial intelligence to narrow target segments down in a matter of hours. According to Advisor: “The artificial intelligence market is projected to grow by 53% in by 2020…”

On the other hand, ‘animation’, which is often associated with cartoons, has however firmly established itself in the world of Digital Marketing. Animation has, not only, become a superb way to tell a story, but a great way to engage with your audience; and in today’s techy age that’s never been harder. Whether online or on TV, ‘animated ads’ are more popular than ever before and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many other social networks have built functionality that make using this content a breeze.

Digital is the future

Digital is taking over the earth, and the generational shift is in full force as millennials grow older and smartphones, computers, and tablets become the go-to options for media consumption.

Digital is changing the way we live, work, consume and create. Students have become the digital generation that prefers to be engaged and discover content through exploration, interaction, and collaboration. This will mean that digital transformation will become the key strategic thrust for most companies and brands. Brands will need to effectively integrate various digital initiatives across the business and create a clear digital vision that will bring revenue-generating digital experiences to students and other consumers.