Digital Marketing Trends of 2017: Best & Worst

Digital media saw bold advances in 2017, with evolutions in video formats and social media platforms giving marketers more sophisticated opportunities to connect with their consumers. Here are the best and worst developments in digital advertising that 2017 had to offer.

2017 gave us tremendous changes in technology from mobile, and artificial intelligence, to autonomous vehicles, drones, and crypto currency. Digital media saw equally bold advances in 2017, with evolutions in video formats, social media platforms, and mixed reality, giving marketers more sophisticated opportunities to connect with their consumers. With such drastic changes, there were bound to be a few hiccups along the way, reminding us to be vigilant when investigating new ways to engage target audiences. Here are the best and worst developments in digital advertising that 2017 had to offer.



Mixed Reality

Mixed Reality had great momentum in 2017, from the interactivity of Augmented Reality to the full immersion of Virtual Reality, allowing brands to communicate their message like never before.


Augmented Reality gave consumers the ability to view computer-simulated data, superimposed onto real world objects when viewed through a tablet or smartphone. This allowed companies to better engage, educate, and entertain their customers simply by leveraging their product packaging or retail signage.

Augmented Reality will undoubtedly continue to gain traction into 2018, with a recent survey finding AR content influenced 72% of shoppers to purchase a product they would not have otherwise considered, and with 40% of U.S. shoppers saying they are willing to pay more for a product if they can experience it through Augmented Reality. [1]

Moving to the other side of the Mixed Reality spectrum, tech giants continued to invest within the Virtual Reality space. While this technology struggled to gain a foothold in 2017, its incorporation into digital video through 360 Interactive Virtual Reality gave brands an exceptional opportunity to influence their

consumers. 360 Interactive Virtual Reality allowed consumers to control what they saw and learned, while being served panoramic views that came to life through VR devices and platforms. 



A personal touch goes a long way, with 75% of consumers more likely to buy from a company that either recognizes them or provides recommendations based on their purchase history or product preference. [2] Accordingly, 2017 saw marketers put increased emphasis on personalizing their communications. This past year delivered technological breakthroughs and optimized analytical tools which allowed marketers to create messages tailored to the right person, on the right platform, and at the right time.

Dynamic Video Advertising was one of the most powerful targeting solutions to launch in 2017. It allowed brands to create infinite variations of their video advertisement, ensuring that individual consumers were served messages that were directly in line with their specific search preferences.

Dynamic Video Advertising was, and continues to be, especially effective in retargeting individuals, allowing brands to reach out to consumers who have already expressed some type of online interest in their products. Research has shown that website visitors who are retargeted are 70% more likely to convert [3] and that there is a 30% higher conversion rate with retargeting video ads versus generic ads [4], making DVA a powerful marketing tool.

Social media also took steps in 2017 to further personalize the user experience. Facebook, for example, beta tested customer chat plugins on various brand websites. This allowed Facebook users to instantly message businesses directly through the Messenger framework and seamlessly extend the conversation across mobile, web, or tablet. Businesses were able to interact with their consumers anytime, keeping a record of all pertinent details within the conversation history.


Consumer Insight

Business data is estimated to double every 1.2 years, and is set to become increasingly complex. [5] Fortunately, 2017 saw the rise of cognitive computing a computerized model that can mine enormous amounts of data and mimic the human thought process. Through building on its own knowledge and making intelligent connections from consumer information and patterns, cognitive computing was able to create valuable insights for businesses.

2017 also saw a number of popular social media platforms coming under fire as a result of their unreliable reporting. (More on that later). Out of that situation, however, came a renewed commitment for transparency. Pinterest was at the forefront of this business-centric movement, introducing their Taste Graph to brands in 2017. Pinterest shared a wealth of data regarding their users’ evolving tastes, preferences, and interests in an effort to create more meaningful connections between advertisers and their growing user base.




Following the November 2016 U.S. elections and into 2017, some of the most frequented social media platforms were heavily criticized for the validity of their user data and the reluctance with which it was being shared.

Facebook was criticized for its part in the distribution of fake news from bogus profiles while Twitter was found to have a wide proliferation of bots, tweeting and re-tweeting misinformation from hundred of thousands of fake accounts. From a business standpoint, these fake accounts inflated user data, making it nearly impossible for businesses to measure the effectiveness of their 2016 and 2017 ad dollars.

2018 will likely see more rigour around measuring reach and performance, with brands turning to third party partners to ensure ROI is accurately assessed. Visibility will be key in this area, where social media entities will have increased pressure to share their user data and reporting methodology.


In-Sourcing Content

Experienced content professionals can make the development of sleek and successful digital marketing campaigns look easy. So easy, in fact, that last year, some marketers brought content creation in-house to save time and money. While DIY projects were trending in 2017, there were some things better left to the experts, and 2018 will likely see the resurgence of outsourcing content creation to ensure brand messaging is meaningful and available across the most relevant channels.

Without the in-house capabilities or facilities, content was falling short of the mark. Marketing dollars can be maximized, however, by working with an agency that has the experience, technical know-how, and studio space to create effective and polished video content.

1. Retail Perceptions
2. Accenture
3. Digital Information World
4. Vehicle
5. AT Kearney