5 Ways Digital Marketing Changed in 2017

Stuart Elmes

With each passing year, technology grows exponentially, providing the digital marketing industry and its audience with better, faster digital marketing experiences and stunning new levels of convenience.

Take shopping, for example. What used to be an activity limited to physically going to a brick and mortar store has expanded to include making decisions and purchases online - wherever and whenever - with just a few taps on a touchscreen or keyboard.

From a digital marketer’s perspective, staying on top of these shifts in shopping trends has become a means of survival. By adapting to industry and technology changes and implementing the latest online marketing tactics, companies can grow their audience and business more effectively than ever before.

Better still, increasingly effective digital journeys to purchase have made it more practical than ever for brands to convert these growing digital audiences into sales and revenue.  

2017 has proven to be tumultuous year in the digital marketplace, as the many key advancements and technologies the industry has adopted have been somewhat overshadowed by the controversy and infighting which has consumed the digital marketing industry for the past 12 months.

Let’s take a look back at the stories and developments that rocked this amazing industry in 2017...


5 ways digital marketing changed in 2017


1) Brand push-back

Procter & Gamble led the way in the growing movement to demand more accountability and clarity from digital ad providers. This forced many ad agencies to make drastic changes.

After much sabre rattling, things really came to a head when P&G announced more than $100 million dollars in digital ad spending cuts, and claimed that it hadn’t seen any reduction in the growth rate of its digital sales. After a close look at its performance metrics, P&G vociferously noted than many of its purchased digital display ads never reached their intended audience.  

Brands are now closely watching their digital ad spending and subsequent sales. They are also pushing for greater transparency regarding advertising fees to get the best bang for their buck, which in turn helps to keep prices down for their consumers. Digital display ads work, but it’s crucial that they’re properly tracked to show real reach and ROI.

The brands have spoken, and ad agencies are finally stepping up to meet their relatively reasonable demands.


2) Voice-activated shopping

Not long ago, speaking one’s digital commands into a device was the stuff of science fiction.

Those days are long gone.

Today, more and more people are getting comfortable chatting with their screenless digital voice assistants such as Siri and Alexa, thanks to the quickly growing capabilities of machine learning and AI.

Consumers are recognising how easy and convenient is to online shop by simply requesting items from their assistant, so it’s only a matter of time before this practice is more fully integrated into everyday life. As this technology continues to advance and become more precise, online shoppers can rely on placing an order and having items shipped to their home instantly.

For marketers, the growth of the digital assistant in 2017 represents both a great challenge and an amazing opportunity.


3) Hyper personalisation

Personalisation is dead. Long live hyper personalisation!

Many brands already collect massive amounts of data and use it to target consumers via their specific demographics, interests and buying habits. However, this tactic is being used to go one step further to create hyper personalised ad campaigns that focus on individual consumers.

Hyper personalisation involves several elements:

  • Reducing a group audience to an audience of one
  • Increasing advertising variants from the two-fold A/B testing to multiple variants
  • Employing cross-channel engagement instead of multi-channel engagement

Applying these tactics and creating specifically tailored experiences pays off. A brand’s top customers are worth far more than an average customer. Therefore, extreme personalisation can engage top customers and keep them happy and loyal to the advertising brand.


4) Retargeting

Retargeting, which is also known as behavioural remarketing, is a form of online advertising that targets consumers based on their prior online interactions and searches. It uses cookies to store these bits of information that are later used to display a brand’s advertisements on an entirely different site if there’s available ad space.

If a consumer browses a home goods store’s website for new appliances, they will soon notice ads for that particular store and even a specific brand or appliance popping up while they’re using Google or scrolling through Facebook.

Retargeting is an extremely effective tactic because these advertising efforts target people who are not only familiar with your brand but have already shown an interest in it. It’s an excellent way for e-commerce stores to re-engage a potentially lost customer, bring back bounced traffic, reduce shopping cart abandonment and capture impulse purchases. It can also increase completion rates for online applications, increase enrolments to events as well as donations to causes and organisations.   


5) Shoppability

Traditional marketing does a great job of getting consumers to want a product. But getting them to buy the product? Well, that’s another story.

That’s where shoppability, the ability to purchase items online with just a few clicks of the mouse (or touchscreen), becomes important. It turns a consumer’s dream into reality faster than ever before by making it easier to click ‘BUY’.

This technology assists with online transactions anytime and anywhere, making the path to purchase nearly seamless. This includes “shoppable” Pinterest pins, Instagram posts and other digital ads (which really are a must-have nowadays). Third-party products like Adimohave made shoppable technology available to any brand, and many came to their senses and integrateted shoppable features into their advertising (both on and offline) in 2017.

Brands that are recognising the above-mentioned advances in technology – advertising accountability, voice-activated shopping, extreme personalisation, retargeting and shopability, among others – are becoming more popular with today’s consumers.


Those that have jumped onboard and incorporated this technology into their digital marketing strategies, whether that be driving the online shopping experiences or complementing existing technology, are already reaping the benefits.

What will be the next big thing in digital marketing in 2018? Only time will tell…