This week, GlobalWebIndex published Trends 17, our annual look at the major digital trends that will impact the year ahead. In conjunction with TheMediaBriefing, here we outline the 10 trends that you need to watch out for in 2017. The full report can be downloaded for free here.

The Mobile-First Landscape

‘Mobile-Only’may be rapidly becoming a much-coveted audience, but it’s the ’Mobile-First’group which is steadily expanding throughout regions and demographics as mobiles become the default device for getting online. As such, prioritizing mobile-optimization will be key in reaching pretty much all audiences in future.

The Victory of Video

With 93% of internet users watching online video each month, little wonder many of the major social platforms are betting big on video. The substantial opportunities for brands and a growing demand for user-generated or professional content mean that we’re moving headlong into the video-first landscape.

Are VR and AR Here to Stay?

Substantial backing has propelled VR to the fore, and the explosion of Pokémon Go earlier this year did the same for AR. For both to go mainstream, that means maximizing accessibility, which ultimately means mobile.

Facebook 2.0

Facebook is king of the social media landscape, but its aggressive move into video and the rising role of social commerce on the network show it is an ever innovative and evolving platform. For Facebook 2.0, services will be as important as social.

The Future of Free

The spread of ad-blockers has demonstrated that there’s some consumers who don’t recognise or aren’t willing to accept that ads are at the core of free content. But innovative business models and the rise of chatbots do provide a glimmer of hope.

Snap Goes Through the Looking Glass

We’re still waiting for the wearable revolution, but Snap. Inc thinks this is about to change. Why could Snap Spectacles succeed where Google Glass failed? They could well have the purpose, the right demographic and the right price-point to kick-start this revolution.

The Smartphone Squeeze

The smartphone marketplace has changed, but the global slowdown disguises some key nuances. Growth opportunities have shifted to Asia as Western demand stagnates. But it’s India which stands out as the rising star here, with Indonesia and the Philippines showing potential too.

The Context Collapse Spreads

Unlike the bigger networks, messaging apps have managed to remain relatively unscathed by the so-called “context collapse”. But as more chat apps look to monetize via expanding platform functionalities,they run the risk of encouraging more passive behaviors among users.

Mobile Ad-Blocking Comes West

For Western markets, mobile ad-blocking may be out-of-sight but it should no means be out-of-mind. If Western markets are to learn from their Asian counterparts, then the quality and quantity of ads need to be addressed as activities increasingly migrate to mobile.

Gaming Gets Competitive

With 32 percent. of internet users watching eSports tournaments or live game streams, spectator gaming has been quick to make an impact. That this genre has such a brand-engaged, young, and desirable demographic should be a clear signal for any brands still on the fence. 

Don’t forget to get your free copy of Trends 17 here.