What are digital trends? Put simply, they are new inventions or ideas that begin online and rapidly gain attention, change online behaviour and become popular in the mainstream. In the digital world, these changes come along thick and fast and it can be challenging to stay up to date with the latest and greatest.
How to Spot Digital Trends
Spotting digital trends can become a full time job; the internet changes at a rapid rate, day by day and sometimes even hour by hour. Being at the forefront means actively researching and looking out for ideas and concepts that are starting to create a buzz. Spotting digital trends isn’t about breaking the mould, unless perhaps you’re aiming to start a trend yourself! The internet is 24/7 so as new thoughts, beliefs and opinions come into being digitally we can see it being shared, talked about and commented on.
Places to spot trends:
- Internet Searches! – regular searches within a target industry will throw up new articles and resources created as web pages. Trends can happen when certain words and phrases become popular, and businesses may be able to use them to help customers find their products or services. They may be answering a key need of customers or may be lead by the inventors themselves.
- Social Media – what are people talking about on social media, what are people sharing, commenting on and spending their time doing on social media? It’s a great place to start looking at whether the ideas are flowing through into the general public, or whether something is a passing fad.
- Media & News – the media and news publishers are usually very keen on identifying when something new is coming into the mainstream. When a new idea or concept comes into the mainstream and starts being adopted by the many, media can go along way in spreading the message and helping many people understand the need for the trend in different ways and at different levels.
- Thought-leaders – If there are already people out their in an industry that are known for bringing new ideas to market, then following thought leaders is a great way to stay up to date with the curve. Following large digital companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft and companies known for their innovation such as Dyson and Tesla is a great idea.
Acting on Digital Trends
Identifying the trend is the first step! When you’ve done that it really depends what your business goal is. As a manufacturer this may mean that you build business relationships with retailers so that you can be prepared to create products that can be brought to market quickly. As a marketer you may need to stay on top of how customers express themselves on the internet so that you can adapt your advertising so the businesses you work with can ‘speak’ the language of their customers.
A great example of a digital trend is the app, Pokemon Go – an entire industry sprung up around it. It was driven by customers and the market responded in kind. For example, as lots of people were using the app companies began providing better phones, portable chargers, phone cases, new watches, Pokemon merchandise became more popular again. And the most vital part of this phenomenon was that manufacturers and retailers were able to spot this digital trend and bring products to market quickly to meet the demands of the customers.
Taking steps on digital trends to help your customers and end users is really about understanding what their needs are. How will service as a software make people’s lives easier? This is exactly the sort of question a company like Uber may have asked themselves in order to create their app – identifying the need for a taxi and the frustration of not always being able to flag one down or ring one up when you need one. Finding a way that digital services fit into consumers lives to make them easier.
Going forward, many of our digital trends are likely to be surrounding things that we already know are developing in the digital world such as AI, Machine Learning, Cloud Storage. The key is to keep track of how the information is filtering from the innovators and consumers and identifying ways that you can benefit consumers by using and better understand these developing technologies and digital trends.
Guest Blogger Misha Cunningham: “Misha is an entrepreneur and business owner, with a particular affinity towards eCommerce. He is the current Regional Team Leader on the Google Digital Garage project and loves using his digital wizardry to help existing business owners and startups alike. A staunch believer in the Law of Attraction, he believes we are all the sum total of our most dominating thoughts.”