2017 Marketing: Year in Review

With another trip around the sun nearly complete, it’s time for the annual ritual of taking stock to decide how to feel about the passing year. In 2017, we were blessed with a once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse, the “Cash Me Ousside” girl, a newly discovered giant void at the center of the Great Pyramid of Giza, the distracted boyfriend photo meme, Fiona the Hippo and, just in the nick of time, Porgs. Not too shabby. It was also a good year in the world of marketing, as brands found new ways to communicate, differentiate themselves from competitors and ensure a strong return on investment for advertising dollars.

While much of the American populace was busy pretending to be Salt Bae, we kept our eye on the marketing and social media trends that defined the year. Check them out and let us know what we missed on Twitter (@trilix) using the hashtag #TrilixTrends.

Paid Social Media Marketing

Organic reach on Facebook has continued to fall since a precipitous drop in 2016. Other social networks are following suit, with algorithms on Instagram and Twitter also designed to prioritize content from friends and to de-emphasize content from brands. Organic reach for brands nearly became a thing of the past in 2017. This development has made it more difficult than ever for brands to break through the clutter and get their messages to the right audiences.

Algorithmic changes have increasingly defined the social media marketing environment as “pay to play.” Even brands with engaging content, loyal fans and intelligent publishing techniques must pay for their content to reach a relevant audience of appreciable size.

Spending Smart

“Pay to play” rules the day, but spending on social networks and other digital advertising must still demonstrate a return on investment. Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble’s chief brand officer, called out the digital advertising industry earlier this year for phony metrics, poor quality or off-brand ad placement and poorly timed ads.

Now marketers are responding, moving away from vanity metrics like reach and impressions to demonstrate more meaningful, customized interaction with advertisements and branded content. The last year saw a greater emphasis on analytics and tracking to show a direct line from digital spending to lead generation and sales.

Fly the Friendly Skies?

Customer service took a viral turn in 2017, with an example of one of the year’s most-watched moments. United Airlines was featured in a viral video as flight attendants enlisted airport security to remove a passenger from an overbooked flight. United did little on social media or other brand channels to address the growing furor over the passenger's treatment. United’s market capitalization dropped over $770 million in the week following the incident, proving brands must be agile in responding to criticism online.

Other brands found fun, sharable ways to engage with customers online. Wendy’s gained a mention in the most retweeted tweet of all-time thanks to a chicken nuggets superfan and the #NuggsForCarter campaign. The Wendy’s Twitter account continues to make waves by engaging in playful banter with customers. More recently, MoonPie, a hundred-year-old brand of marshmallow and graham cracker treats, has gained viral attention for a similar approach to public customer interaction on Twitter. No matter the brand, responding to customers cleverly can lead to positive attention.

What marketing and social media trends did you notice in the last year? Tell us on Twitter using the hashtag #TrilixTrends.

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