​As technologies develop at lightning speed, it can be difficult to keep up with every new media and marketing opportunity, but fear not, here’s our run-down of three digital innovations to watch in 2016 and beyond.

The Facebook Messenger Platform

In April this year Facebook launched its Messenger Platform. Still in Beta mode, the platform expands what individuals can do on Messenger, and for the first time allowed brands to join the party with a host of features – they can connect offline customers to messenger with custom codes, ‘Live Message’ their customers one or one, manage existing relationships with ‘custom match’ and – if they’re really going for it - create Messenger ‘bots’ to respond automatically to people’s questions.

So far early Facebook Messenger bots include a weather app (Poncho), news service (CNN) and Personal Shopping Assistant, Spring.

The potential for brands is huge and it is definitely one to keep a close eye on.

Branded content in virtual reality

Virtual Reality is here and with predictions from Deloitte Global that VR will hit its first billion dollar year this year ‘with about $700 million in hardware sales, and the remainder from content’, it’s a mega-trend that looks set to fulfil its potential. General Electric’s Global CMO, Linda Boff, predicts VR could revolutionise marketing:

“It’s a tool to tell a powerful story in a way that’s much more personal and up close than we’d normally be able to.”

Brands are already using VR to provide awesome experiences, from pretending you are Brazillian football star Neymar (Nike), to soaring over the skies with Santa (Coca Cola) and making ‘Happy Goggles’ from your Happy Meal (yes, MacDonalds). Or you could just go on a virtual journey through a fridge...


Using VR doesn’t have to be costly, Oculus Rift headsets can be found on Ebay for under £100 and Google Cardboard to pair up to your customer’s smartphone, for under £5.

360 degree video cameras come to a variety of budgets so you can experiment with the technology without breaking the bank and ultimately immerse your customer in whatever unforgettable experience they will like… over to you.

Mobile In-App Advertising

We all know that mobile is big; mobile has already overtaken desktop in global user numbers (people don’t see their families and friends much anymore!) and mobile internet advertising is increasing dramatically to match this consumer reality, growing by 95% in 2015 and forecast by Zenith to overtake desktop in 2017.

But what are people doing on mobile? They’re hitting their favourite apps, like Facebook, Youtube, Facebook Messenger and Google Search so much so that a whopping 90% of mobile time is spent using mobile apps, (Flurrymobile, 2015).

The smart money is on in-app advertising, with the opportunities that offers for location targeting, less ad blockers and targeting.

And guess what, Facebook (which shockingly takes 50 minutes of our time each day) is making it easier to create great mobile ads for Facebook and Instagram with a new Creative Hub allowing creative advertisers to test and review different creative formats.

These are just some emerging trends we really see potential in over the coming year or so, but we'd love to hear your views.

What are your top digital developments for this year? Where will your marketing and media spend be going?