The end of the year is a time to reflect and to look back on how things have changed over the past twelve months. There is never a dull moment in marketing, and we’ve recapped some of the biggest things we saw happen in marketing this year.

Birth of Live Video Content

Just as brands were adjusting to the idea that they need to be publishers, now they’re expected to become broadcasters on platforms like Facebook Live, too. Some marketers who tried their hand at live broadcasting really nailed it, while others are still trying to figure it out. For example, Experian holds straight-forward, weekly chats via YouTube Live, Snapchat and Periscope, to talk directly to consumers about their money worries. On the flip side, the Grammy Awards had a major live stream fail with technical glitches. The medium is young, but shows a lot of potential.

Social Media Gets Political

I know we’re all exhausted from this year’s election, but I would be remiss if I didn’t include some mention of how social media had a significant role in this year’s election.

Regardless of which presidential candidate you supported or voted for, social media seemed to play a significant role in this election. President-elect Donald Trump’s tweets were at times controversial, but they definitely garnered attention. And who could forget the time Hillary Clinton clapped back at Donald Trump with a tweet that simply stated, “Delete your account”?

Besides the candidates tweeting up a storm, there was also a flurry of information being passed around all social media channels. At first, I thought that seeing all these news articles would make everyone a far more informed voter than in years past. But as we all know today, not all of these articles were accurate or coming from real news sources. So what once seemed like a big win for the media could be just a lesson in making sure they get it right.

Pokémon Go Brings Augmented Reality to the Masses

Augmented Reality (AR) isn’t new, but it wasn’t until Pokémon Go came on the scene that people really took notice of the technology. Businesses quickly understood the value of customers searching for virtual little monsters in real-life businesses. Touting your business as a “PokéStop,” more players can become aware of the business and its location. There are also data opportunities for marketers. While it’s cool to have your business be a part of a popular game, the game itself could become just another passing fad. The real value of augmented reality might lie in the customer insights it can provide. There are endless opportunities for marketers to observe user behavior and subsequently provide relevant, timely content. Of course, this also comes with security concerns that will need to be worked out in the near future if AR in this capacity really takes off.

Smart Assistants Get Smarter

What does Google Home or Amazon Echo have to do with marketing? A lot! Our world is becoming increasingly connected and we’re seeing growth in products and devices that can connect to these smart assistants. This year, Google Home launched and Amazon Echo grew—both fighting to dominate the same space in the Internet of Things (IoT). But beyond the devices they can connect to, there are other implications that have been brought to light. You can ask Amazon Alexa or Google Home a question you might have Googled on your phone or computer yourself. Something like, “What’s the weather today?” What’s the impact this might have on SEO and search engine algorithms in general? Time (and Alexa) will tell.

This list of marketing milestones just scratches the surface of all that has happened in the industry this year and we’re looking forward to seeing what 2017 will bring.

Did we miss any big 2016 trends you’ve had your eye on? Leave a comment and let us know!