2020
Vision

Digital & Tech Trends

As predicted by
It’s been a wild ride into this new decade.
Ten years ago, Facebook was a website where we uploaded photos from a Kodak Easyshare into our ‘FuN NiGhT’ album. The iPhone 4 was also released with its front camera that unleashed a new generation of selfies.

It was a simpler time back then, but here at Bolster we love navigating the challenging, complex and ever-changing tundra of this digital life. From new faces on the dancefloor or a return to the raw aesthetic; Bolster presents to you, our trend report for 2020.
Captain Planet (GIF)

The New Planeteers

Gen Z’s views on the environment, sustainability and social causes will encourage brands to speak out, take a stance and align themselves authentically with wider world issues.

It will make brands have an opinion on important issues and form an identity outside of what they are trying to sell. This will be key for brands to win the favour of younger audiences.
Elise Mackey - Digital Campaign Manager
Elise Mackey
Digital Campaign Manager

New Year’s Resolution
Learn to love myself more (and also snack less).
Image of a man holding a phone and take a selfie

Social Content Gets a Make-under

Over the past year we’ve seen a shift away from the polished and curated aesthetic on social. As a result, brands are choosing more diverse talent and are opting for grittier, less airbrushed aesthetic. Gen Zs are also engaging with rough and ready content where the execution is less important than the delivery of the idea.

Brands will need to change their approach if they want to continue to cut through and engage the younger, ad-aware digital natives. Sponsoring creators rather than shoe-horning them into content will result in content partnerships where brand messages are told through the lens of the creator.
Nick Humphreys - Creative Director
Nick Humphreys
Creative Director

New Year’s Resolution
More books. Less guff.
Image of a physical activation at Coachella Festival

IRL Please

As average time spent on social media is decreasing, audiences will start to engage more with physical experiences/activations over purely digital activations. This will be in a combination of digital and physical like Spotify's playlist-come-to-life Front Left or the Dallas Cowboys' Pose with the Pros AR experience.

The focus of brand strategy for the last few years has been on how to improve the digital experience for users. This is still valuable however digital campaigns won't be as successful in a siloed environment. They will need to highlight and enhance physical experiences rather than be the centrepiece.
Josh Clements - Senior Account Manager
Josh Clements
Senior Account Manager

New Year’s Resolution
Learn one digital language and one spoken language.
Image of a globe covered in newspaper and magazine pages

Playing the Long Game

A return to holistic, curated and long-form content will affect the way that we create social strategy and content. This means a focus on quality and well-crafted content with a strong emphasis on collaboration and artistic influence from varying mediums in long-form content.

This trend is important as it refocuses content back to more artistic principles, with less of an emphasis on clickbait and instant gratification. It's about getting to the core of a brand's ethos and message, rather than creating content for content's sake. It will encourage creativity and exploration.
Ruby Giles Social Media Coordinator
Ruby Giles
Social Media Coordinator

New Year’s Resolution
Write in my diary every day (✿◠‿◠)
The Jetsons voice automated robot (GIF)

Ask Jeeves... For Real

Australians will use voice assistants more effectively as an 'assistant' to help us manage our personal and professional lives, and perform tasks more effectively. Expect a minimum 200% rise in searches via voice assistant and movement towards smart-home models with the evolution of IOT.

Search will start to move from keyword based to natural speech. It will become even more necessary for websites to optimise their SEO so that it can easily be translated to voice. Sites will also need to integrate frictionless voice activated payment systems as this will be the main pillar of a voice-driven digital economy.
Julian Monty Digital - Campaign Manager
Julian Monty
Digital Campaign Manager

New Year’s Resolution
Go to a new continent and go to a more diverse range of gigs.
Photo of an ipad with a web design and other design tools

The Devigner
(Not A Typo)

The rise of the 'devigner' - the designer-developer hybrid made possible thanks to platforms like Webflow. Development tools are now in the hands of UI/UX designers and allow them to create websites without having to learn all of the complex languages typically involved.

By living out the design-to-development process, designers are learning the fundamental principles of web development and HTML & CSS. By understanding the limitations that are involved with web design, designers learn best practices. This will lead to more cohesive relationships between designers and developers in the future.
Lor Perm-Jardin - Digital Designer
Lor Perm-Jardin
Digital Designer

New Year’s Resolution
Less party, more arty.
Dancing kid with a cowboy hat (GIF)

TikTokTunes

TikTok is already dramatically changing the music industry and will continue this year with brands.We see this with rappers such as Lil Nas X, Suecco The Child, and Stunna Girl who've broken ground through this unconventional promotion method. The greatest example of success on TikTok is ‘Old Town Road’ where Lil Nas X said, “They [TikTok] really boosted the song… The streams have been up. I credit them a lot.”

TikTok brings a new wave of music which can be consumed and shared quickly. Understanding TikTok’s trends can be extremely helpful for the success of a song, and even for brands like Chipotle, NBA, and Guess. With TikTok’s influence on the music industry, brands will take note and jump onboard the growing platform.
Jack Jaeschke - Motion Designer
Jack Jaeschke
Motion Designer

New Year’s Resolution
To go to Spain and get fit for Spain.
Neon sign of a handshake icon

B2B Flips The Funnel

B2B experiences via account based marketing will become more prominent and flip the traditional marketing funnel on its head. Clients and customers are placing a greater emphasis on culture and thoughtfulness now more than ever. Market growth comes with treating your clients as you would your mates.

Building lasting relationships leads to new opportunities that help all parties grow together. From an economical stand point, it’s reported that an increase in retention of just 5% can lead to an increase in profit by 25-95%. 
Abhi Ramachandran - Senior Account Manager
Abhi Ramachandran
Senior Account Manager

New Year’s Resolution
Pick a mate each month and do something huge with them.
Mark Zuckerburg smiles (GIF)

The Future Is Private

2020 will see the strengthened amalgamation of tech and capitalism. It will also see an uprising of global communities demanding the tech industry's inclusion of human rights policies and data privacy and protection. Consumers will shift heavily toward valuing and fighting for data privacy and ownership rights.

With ever-increasing consumer awareness and the CCPA and the GDPR now in effect, tech companies will find it increasingly difficult to hide from their massive social and economic responsibilities. We can only hope to see meaningful legislation and sweeping reform, changing the way the industry operates for the better.
Lauren Mitchell - Senior Campaign Manager
Lauren Mitchell
Senior Campaign Manager

New Year’s Resolution
Read more. Learn more.
Lines of code on a computer screen

React to React

With the introduction of Gutenberg (built on React) in late 2018, it's taken a year for people to become more open to it. Gutenberg will push more developers who previously held out learning React to start diving in. With WordPress holding 34% of the web, this will make a huge impact on the amount of React used in everyday sites.

As more websites begin using React there will be a push for core development of the library for more mainstream uses. Whilst this may lead to poor implementations of React as amateurs build the sites, it will drive companies to hire developers with differing specialities (Front-end & Back-end) instead of the full stack developer they previously relied on.
Phil Johnson - Head of Development
Phil Johnson
Head of Development

New Year’s Resolution
To improve my ReactJS chops.
Shot of behind the scenes camera man filming a man in a vintage car

Teams Behind
The Scenes

A greater push towards content that breaks the fourth wall. Get ready for more quips from the camera operator, shots of the producer walking on screen, stars fiddling with their camera or spilling their coffee mid-video. The BTS crew footage, blooper reel and hero asset are now homogenising.

It signals a shift in our expectation from content producers and also reveals audiences desire to see the process that goes into producing the videos they consume. This content is perceived as more ‘real’ or 'humanised’ and offers a starker juxtaposition to the traditional media sphere and the stylised facade it often puts forward.
Oliver Hall - Senior Campaign Manager
Oliver Hall
Senior Campaign Manager

New Year’s Resolution
This will be the year of ‘Oh Well’ or ‘Not Sweating The Small Stuff.’
Portrait of Lil Miquela - Virtual Reality Influencer

Blended Realities
Step It Up

The power of AI for creating incredible experiences will have a big impact in music and entertainment. Last year’s Fortnite-hosted Marshmello gig was a perfect look at music’s future, with 10.7 million players attending the show in-game with a further 46 million YouTube views. So too does Björk’s touring Vulnicura VR app, the virtual-reality imaging of her Vulnicura album.

As technologies advance, the confines of reality are eroded, and even become redundant for the younger consumer. This will strike up new conversations around the ethics and accountability of blended reality. VR influencer Lil Miquela came under fire in late 2019 for posting a vlog about being sexually assaulted by a rideshare driver - the boundaries of virtual morality are about to be tested!
Anthony Zaccaria - Managing Director
Anthony Zaccaria
Managing Director

New Year’s Resolution
Create more space to restore, recharge & reflect.
Crazy Rich Asians cast clean up at an awards ceremony (GIF)

Diversity in
the Spotlight

Music will see more cultural diversity. The music business has historically taken cues from the film industry, so I predict the huge success that movies have had with POC representation will inspire the music biz.

Australia prides itself in being a cultural melting pot, but we’re yet to see this reflected in festival lineups. Apart from the obligatory male rapper, there is little POC representation. It’s hard to be what you can’t see, so diversity in culture will inspire a new generation of musicians.
Paige X. Cho - Senior Music Strategist
Paige X. Cho
Senior Music Strategist

New Year’s Resolution
A weird mish mash of things like horse riding, learning Mandarin & giving people stick-n-poke tattoos.
Illustration of genderless characters every colour in the rainbow

Genderless
Brand Personae

Brands need to assess the gendering of tone and how they define their target audiences. Today's younger consumer has a far more nuanced understanding of character and brand - the way we engage with them, inspire and sell to them has to change too. Stripping back on gender associated with brand voice, and seeking out areas where tone or targeting isn't inclusive is critical for longevity, especially as we grow out AI.

Global brands like Amazon/Apple are criticised for entrenching gender biases with Alexa/Siri, stemming from the male-dominated engineering world. As brands we don't have to fall into that trap. Our tools, like voice search/chatbots, need to be designed from the ground-up with these new values in place.
Katie Smith - Content & Trends Strategist
Katie Smith
Content & Trends Strategist

New Year’s Resolution
Treat the planet with more care.
Photo of girls multiple reflection in a broken mirror

Platform
Personality Pie

TikTok’s rise in popularity will push more content creation and curation across yet another social platform. Online presence will become further disjointed, making it even more difficult for friends to engage with - or even be aware of - each other’s social profiles.

Social media enables individuals with modest technical ability to create and curate content across multiple spaces. People will require solutions for consolidating their cross-platform presence, in a form that they can share with their friends.
Jeremy Katzenstein - Growth & Partnerships
Jeremy Katzenstein
Growth & Partnerships

New Year’s Resolution
Going to bed at a reasonable hour!
Photo of hand holding a new iPhone with a neon tron-like background

5G Opens The Gates

Mass-market release of 5G will break down the infrastructural barriers to real-time, onground data analytics and communications. Events will better understand how punters use the space and will begin to evolve into micro smart cities; sustainable, safer and better catered to people with different needs.

With a high barrier of entry for collecting real-time data at events, we cannot accurately marry up data and so infer instead. Given that 46% of people working in data roles are white and 70% are male, inferences are biased and affect the entire events ecosystem. Having access to accurate data will lead to decision making that benefits the broad spectrum of people that attend events.
Cat Rewha - Head of Digital
Cat Rewha
Head of Digital

New Year’s Resolution
I’m going alcohol-free this year. I'm also going to do more photography, do more writing and start capoeira.
Loop of a man endlessly scrolling on his mobile phone (GIF)

Tech accountability

Laws and legislation created around tech companies creating addictive products or products that don’t meet accessibility needs. For example, how platforms with endless feeds like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter are designed to create rushes of dopamine or how the US Supreme Court recently handed victory to a blind man that sued Domino’s Pizza over the accessibility of their website.

Though they are digital products, they have a very real and negative physical world effect. Addiction to anything is not good and the web should be accessible for anyone.
Dan Taplin Designer
Dan Taplin
Designer

New Year’s Resolution
Expand my skillset across tools, communication and management.
There Is No Planet B Protest Sign

Brands Take A Stand

More than ever, consumers expect brands to stand for something.

In order to connect with consumers and build brand loyalty it is becoming increasingly important for brands to genuinely engage with issues that matter to their customer base. Staying mute, or simply talking about an issue will no longer do. Brands need to take an active stand when it comes to relevant causes/societal issues.
Kate Wills - Digital Campaign Manager
Kate Wills
Digital Campaign Manager

New Year’s Resolution
Swim more. Walk more. Read more.
Hand holding mobile phone taking a photo

Short & Snappy

Video ad content will continue to get shorter, snappier and more creative in line with the way audiences are engaging with social media platforms. We've seen platforms increasingly encourage and prioritise shorter content over the past few years and they'll undoubtedly continue to adapt ads to match the way that users are watching.

We've seen over the course of this year that we're increasingly competing for our audience's attention. The need to shift to content which communicates swiftly, effectively and memorably has never been more important. It's an exciting and challenging time to be in the digital space!
Carl Redwood - Digital Campaign Manager
Carl Redwood
Digital Campaign Manager

New Year’s Resolution
Minimise my out of work screen time.
Girl texting falling into pool (GIF)

The Sacred
Group Chat

The group chat is a sacred, curated, sometimes coveted and most importantly private space for sharing literally everything. It’s a cultural phenomenon in the age of social media becoming personal. I think we’ll see social platforms capitalising on their direct messaging functions in more innovative ways; like the Instagram Stories group chat feature launched last year.

Group chats embody what consumers value in social media - privatisation (sharing but not on the feed), personalisation (custom emojis, nicknames) and authenticity (real conversations). I see it as a way to reach people where they’re comfortable in an engaging way. Think private AMAs, focus groups, exclusive info-sharing and competitions.
Bec Andersen - Social Media Manager
Bec Andersen
Social Media Manager

New Year’s Resolution
Even more Bec time i.e. focusing on doing the things that fulfil me – creative pursuits, reading, learning.

IRL Please

As average time spent on social media is decreasing, audiences will start to engage more with physical experiences/activations over purely digital activations. This will be in a combination of digital and physical like Spotify's playlist-come-to-life Front Left or the Dallas Cowboys 'Pose with the Pros' AR experience.

The focus of brand strategy for the last few years has been on how to improve the digital experience for users.This is still valuable however digital campaigns won't be as successful in a siloed environment.  They will need to highlight and enhance physical experiences rather than be the centrepiece.
Josh Clements
Senior Account Manager

New Year’s Resolution
Learn one digital language and one spoken language.

Blended Realities
Step It Up

The power of AI for creating incredible experiences will have a big impact in music and entertainment. Last year’s Fortnight-hosted Marshmello gig was a perfect look at music’s future, with 10.7 million players attending the show in-game with a further 46 million YouTube views. So too does Bjork’s touring Vulnicura VR app, the virtual-reality imaging of her Vulnicura album.

As technologies advance, the confines of reality are eroded, and even become redundant for the younger consumer. This will strike up new conversations around the ethics and accountability of blended reality. VR influencer Lil Miquela came under fire in late 2019 for posting a vlog about being sexually assaulted by a rideshare driver - the boundaries of virtual morality are about to be tested!
Anthony Zaccaria
Managing Director

New Year’s Resolution
Create more space to restore, recharge & reflect.

Captain Planet

Gen Z’s views on the environment, sustainability and social causes will encourage brands to speak out, take a stance and align themselves authentically with wider world issues.

It will make brands have an opinion on important issues and form an identity outside of what they are trying to sell. This will be key for brands to win the favour of younger audiences. 
Elise Mackey
Digital Campaign Manager

New Year’s Resolution
Learn to love myself more
(and also snack less)

Captain Planet

Gen Z’s views on the environment, sustainability and social causes will encourage brands to speak out, take a stance and align themselves authentically with wider world issues.

It will make brands have an opinion on important issues and form an identity outside of what they are trying to sell. This will be key for brands to win the favour of younger audiences. 
Elise Mackey
Digital Campaign Manager

New Year’s Resolution
Learn to love myself more
(and also snack less)

Blended Realities
Step It Up

As average time spent on social media is decreasing, audiences will start to engage more with physical experiences/activations over purely digital activations. This will be in a combination of digital and physical like Spotify's playlist-come-to-life Front Left or the Dallas Cowboys 'Pose with the Pros' AR experience.

The focus of brand strategy for the last few years has been on how to improve the digital experience for users. This is still valuable however digital campaigns won't be as successful in a siloed environment.  They will need to highlight and enhance physical experiences rather than be the centrepiece.
Josh Clements
Senior Account Manager

New Year’s Resolution
Learn one digital language and one spoken language