5 digital trends that companies need to bear in mind
As the festival gets started, OMR founder Philipp Westermeyer looks at the development of the digital economy and the latest trends – predicting a swift end to the rapid growth that was accelerated by the pandemic. But what will come next?
“The realisation that digitalisation was accelerated by the pandemic is correct – at least in part.”
It is as much a part of the OMR Festival as tapping the first barrel at the Oktoberfest: Year after year, Philipp Westermeyer uses his “State of the German Internet” keynote to point out the key digital trends in Germany – seasoned with a keen glance at the most important international development. Here, we show you a selection from this year’s presentation.
#1 Pandemic – anomaly rather than accelerator?
The pandemic as a major accelerator for the digital economy – a theory that has proved popular. However, Westermeyer begs to differ: While the digital economy was dominated by winners two years ago, virtually all digital companies posted a slump in revenue last year and saw their market capitalisation value decline. This applies to large companies from Germany as well as to the major Chinese and American groups such as Alibaba or Amazon. The growth trajectory for digital businesses is starting to swing down, returning to normal pre-pandemic growth levels.
#2 Investors developing new channels
However, even though the big players of the social media world have lost ground, there were plenty of new developments in the industry. Investors see increased potential for new channels and are investing in new platforms again, for the first time in years. Start-ups are using original concepts and innovative interaction options to challenge the industry titans. Platforms such as Poparazzi, BeReal or Dispo, some hailing from Europe, are breathing new life into the social media landscape.
#3 The comeback of the QR code
The QR code is the proof that modern digital trends can already be retro. A few years ago, it felt like the technology had missed out on the big breakthrough, but today it is an indispensable part of daily life. Whether you use a digital vaccination record, any type of rental vehicle, or the menu for the restaurant on the corner: The QR code has become an established, everyday tool that is accepted by large swathes of society and has a variety of application areas.
#4 Niche, not mainstream – analogue and digital advertising
It is not just the QR code that is celebrating a comeback – traditional outdoor advertising now relies on reposts from social media users. The procedure, dubbed ‘hacking the feed” by Westermeyer, shows that targeted campaigns can generate lots of attention without costing a fortune. That also applies to low-cost, do-it-yourself content: Westermeyer used the keyword “Docutainment” to list a series of examples revealing how small and mid-size companies can also reach a large audience. For a driving school, a farm or a supermarket: Providing insights into the company’s daily work and satisfying curiosity generates results without huge budgets.
#5 The explosion of gamification
Many digital companies focus on the interplay between analogue and digital worlds that arises from user interaction. This is reflected in the continued and explosive trend towards gamification in the e-commerce area, for example. Companies from Asia in particular, such as Shein or Shopee, use prizes, bonus points and ranking lists to encourage users to buy. Designed as gaming apps, the shopping platforms provide tempting discounts as soon as interaction begins. Westermeyer takes a critical attitude to what he terms “gambling for discounts”, but the underlying concept is clearly working and shows that even small gimmicks can generate a significant user response if used effectively.
As the examples provided show, the bounce-back from the pandemic peak has left its mark. The behavioural patterns learned in the digital space continue to have an effect in our day-to-day lives, promising an exciting future with interesting developments to come. It is likely that analogue and digital technologies will continue to merge. Now, companies need to stay active and grapple with the current trends.
Philipp Westermeyer - State of the German Internet