The way ahead: What’s in store for digital and marketing?

We’re looking ahead to what 2016 has in store with our digital and marketing predictions. Read on to get the inside track on emerging trends and what to look out for to stay ahead of the curve…


Self-driving cars are on the way, making the alarming sight of ‘drivers’ wilfully paying no attention to the road something that we all need to prepare for. Not least motor insurers, who will have to find answers to the many questions posed by the eventual removal of human error from the roads.

At RSA, we’re leading the way to discover the effect of self-driving cars by insuring the trial of automated pods in the Greenwich area of London this summer. The Gateway driverless car project will use pods adapted from the ones on rails that have been in use at Heathrow Airport for nearly five years.

Should self-driving cars become popular then marketers could benefit greatly. Especially as ‘drivers’ will find they have many more hours available to look at the web on their mobile devices instead of the road.


Oculus Rift, the much hyped virtual reality headset, will be available at the end of the month. What does it do? Well,, want to take a stroll around that holiday resort on the other side of the world before you book? Looking for a way to make a visit to one of your stores way more engaging and responsive for customers? Putting on the VR headset could help you do both – and that’s merely the beginning.

The possibilities for VR in Retail are endless, game changing and exciting. Let’s see how this one pans out.


It’s a year on from when Erie Insurance USA were the first to use drones to assess home claims. We predict that 2016 will see drone use for similar operations rise significantly. The ability to get a bird’s eye view of damage relating to a claim without risk of harm to the assessor is one we welcome too.

We believe the only question relating to drones is not ‘if’ but ‘when’ they are called in to help more and more claims teams.


Mobile payment technologies such as Apple Pay will continue to be adopted, and we think we’ll see more tablet-based point of sale used in retail stores.

Giving customers the power to compare, read reviews and do their own research has certainly been welcomed wherever it has been installed so far. May is the ideal time to review this landscape and assess what others are up to technology wise.


Look out for visual content continuing to dominate. This is the month when we welcome 38 new emojis into the world’s fastest growing language. So you will soon be able to liven up your messages with symbols including a handshake, a shark, face palm, selfie, man in tuxedo and our favourite: a sizzling rasher of bacon!


If you haven’t already weighed up the impact of ad blocking on your marketing, then it’s time to review, take stock and re-think your strategy. That’s because the number of methods and apps consumers are using to keep ads out is on a meteoric rise. This sends a clear signal that they don’t want to be contacted in this way and are more than willing to ‘shoot the messenger’.

Instead of looking for technological ways to get round these challenges, try thinking about how you can interact with consumers on a more personal level. Giving them something that they really want and can access freely will not only influence how they feel about your brand, it will also compel them to share it with others socially.


Possibly the most anticipated social topic of the year! The Rio Olympics will hit the social sphere as the #rio2016 games begin.

If the popularity of #1YearToGo in 2015 is anything to go by (reaching 6.7 million people)* then the social media buzz will only get louder until it reaches fever pitch. Look out for brands of all shapes and sizes jumping on the bandwagon, with everything from the highly relevant to downright tenuous links to the main event.



The internet rumour mill is awash with murmurings that Apple will launch the iPhone 7 in September. It’s too early to say what new features it will present for consumers and marketers, but it is bound to cause a stampede of those obsessive about owning the latest handset.

The Apple Watch 2 is also on the way and could land this month. Its release might just be the catalyst that opens up the market as the more cautious ‘late adopters’ enter the world of wearable technology for the first time – more on that later.


Just as Oculus Rift can put consumers at the heart of a virtual retail experience, 360 immersive video allows them to engage and interact with brands – expanding on the art of storytelling. The technology has been around for a little while now but promises to rise in popularity as a viable alternative to virtual reality. t no less inpressive k out for brands of all shapes and s360 immersive video is certainly one to keep an eye on.


As the festive season approaches we could all be doing our Christmas shopping through social platforms without a second thought. That’s because ‘buy buttons’ will become more prevalent as ecommerce and social media continue to blend throughout the year. Buyable pins on Pinterest is just one example of how customers can snap up products they see without leaving the app.


Wearable technology, including the Apple Watch, will continue to gain momentum throughout the year. So by December you could well have revised your marketing strategies to incorporate the impact of small screens, voice command controls, location technology and integrated experiences.

What’s becoming clear is that consumers want to know more about themselves, want to keep their hands free and many are open to brands knowing their every move. These three things alone are enough to tell us that wearable tech will continue to rise into and well beyond 2017, presenting a wealth of opportunities for marketers.

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