The 2017 Marketing Transformation: 5 Ways the Digital World Changed

The 2017 Marketing Transformation: 5 Ways the Digital World Changed

Throughout the year we hear many announcements about digital marketing changes or improvements to digital marketing options, or completely new directions altogether. Some of these things we brush past and others excite us from the first moment we hear about them. However, it’s often not until we look back at things as a whole that we say, “Wow. Did all that really happen in just one year?” So while the digital marketing world this month may not look so different than last month’s, 2017 is certainly ending at a different spot than it started.

This article will take a look at the transformation of digital marketing in 2017, and open the conversation of what that transformation means for marketers in 2018.


Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is not new a technology; however, using AR within marketing is becoming increasingly more popular.


Advertisers and marketers have an opportunity to create innovative campaigns that integrate the digital world into the real world. And while virtual reality still has a ways to go before becoming mainstream, AR is accessible to anyone with a smartphone. For the time being, this helps the marketers using this technology to reach a large audience and stand out from competitors.

AR also allows for more detailed ads due to the higher pixel and display size ratio that 2-D monitors don’t have. Which, you know, looks nice.


Improved Data and Improved Targeting

The ability to track customers’ buying habits online reached new strides in 2017. This is typically referred to as attribution, and allows marketers to know which types of media are influencing people’s purchases. As tools like Facebook and Google Analytics continue to improve their algorithms, it is becoming easier for companies to identify specific target groups.

Luckily, there’s not just more analytical information out there, we also have better tools to do that targeting.

Two examples of those “better tools” in 2017 are from Facebook. Within 2017, Facebook introduced value optimization for dynamic ads, which is aimed to focus campaigns on purchase value. By optimizing ads for people who are likely to spend more, marketers can improve ROI and focus their efforts on the people who will help drive the most revenue for their business.

Facebook also began a collection ad feature which allows for a cluster of ads (rather than only one) to be shown to your audience. For example, a shoe company could use a collection that featured a video of a girl running in new shoes, and also pair this with individual pictures of the shoes beneath the video. Facebook quoted Mike Maleszyk, head of growth at Inkbox saying, “Displaying products beneath our videos has given us the ability to generate intent and relevancy for our customers, resulting in a 10-20% increase in overall return on ad spend.” The images clustered together can be chosen according to the shopping behavior of your target group.


Visual Content

Marketers still use written content for search engine optimization purposes, but the main traffic and leads for a company now comes from visual content. That includes images, 360 photos, augmented reality and virtual reality (as previously mentioned) and video content.

Video in particular has been a big player in 2017.

An infographic Boostability posted here on the blog in August of this year found that 85% of businesses now have internal staff to produce video content and that businesses post an average of 18 videos per month. Not that I doubt your math skills, but that’s an average of at least four videos a week!

Even more specifically, the growing trend of 2017 is live videos. People spend 3x more time watching live-streamed content than they do watching regular videos. Marketers have been taking advantage by showcasing new products, or making big announcements through outlets such as Facebook live.


Digital Marketing Got More Expensive

This isn’t the point you want to see on this list, but here is it. As more companies join the online marketing world, the prices of search engine marketing are rising. Even search engine optimization, which avoids paying for ads or per click online, is becoming more expensive. Higher competition requires businesses to put into more time and resources.

This article from WebStrategies addressed the budget changes in different digital marketing channels. They referenced that 75% of respondents expect to increase their Google Adwords investments in the next 12 months.  Facebook expects to see 71% of respondents increase investments.

Maybe your own company felt that this year, and maybe you need to start preparing for an increased budget for 2018 as well.

This point wasn’t fun to read, so let’s go onto the next one.


More and More Mobile

Mobile use for online shopping has been on a continual rise, and this year was no exception. An infographic from Boostability reveals that 78% of consumers use a smartphone for online shopping. Additionally, especially during the holidays, 64% of shoppers go online for ideas before going into a store.

There were a few big changes during 2017 that contributed to this rise of mobile use connected to goods and services.

Social media for example; Facebook started allowing users to order food from restaurants directly within its app, without navigating away to a delivery service or restaurant’s own website.

Snapchat made similar changes. They introduced the concept of “context cards” which allow users to swipe up and get information about a location or product that they are interested in. From there, users can take simple actions like calling for a ride with Uber or Lyft or reserving a table at a restaurant. They can also opt to see more Snaps like the ones they were interested, a great benefit for marketers.

Changes like these reinstate that the necessity of mobile accessibility for businesses in 2017, and in the years to come.


What do you think?

Did I fail to mention some big changes from 2017? How have you felt these changes within your own marketing strategy?  Have you experienced old techniques not working in the same way they used to, or new techniques being hugely successful? Let us hear about it! Share your thoughts or marketing experiences below.

Colton Miller
[email protected]

Colton is the Director of SEO Strategy at Boostability testing and defining the products and processes that make Boostability's customers successful. He has been a part of Boostability for over 7 years. Colton loves hanging out with his family and gaming. He runs a personal blog over at where he discusses gaming, life, and SEO.