Blog Insight

3 Impact Trends from 2017

It’s hard to believe, but it’s already December, and we’re headed toward the end of 2017. This year, three major trends emerged in the digital marketing world. If you’re a smart marketer, you’re already on them. If not, you’ve still got a few more weeks.

Social ROI means pay to play.

This year, brands’ organic social reach on Facebook hit an all-time low. According to a study by BuzzSumo, organic reach was down an additional 20 percent since January 2017.(1) The biggest drops were in image and link posts, though video posts were also down. In research cited by HubSpot, just 2 to 6 percent of brands’ audiences were seeing their posts.(2) Ouch.

Clearly, Facebook and other social media platforms are increasingly “pay-to-play” environments. That’s why paid social media is still highly effective, at a time when organic reach is significantly down. Brands that spent 2017 investing in paid social campaigns found that it was hands down the best way to get quality social content to reach their followers. This year, GLG created paid social campaigns for brands such as Babolat, Avaya, Microsoft, IQVIA, and T-Mobile, where paid social was a key component in helping the Un-carrier recruit top employees and salute military veterans who work at T-Mobile.

Gen Z has come of age.

This year marked a major milestone for Generation Z: its oldest members turned 22 years old and are now starting their careers. As more of Gen Z grows up, the group’s buying power is on the rise in a big way. Smart marketers in 2017 pivoted their strategies to reach the 82 million members of Gen Z. (Yes, they outnumber Millennials.) Gen Z is a unique generation that has grown up not only being digital natives but also the world’s first “mobile natives.” For brands, reaching Gen Z requires mobile-first strategies and experiences. This summer, GLG created a Future Five video for mobile technology leader Syniverse to share Gen Z mobile trends at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Check it out here.

Furthermore, the members of Gen Z, even more than the Millennials before them, care about a brand’s social values. Brands in 2017 found themselves talking less about their products and more about their brand identity and values than ever before. Successful brands doubled down to show rather than tell about their commitments to diversity and inclusion on Gen Z’s favorite channels: Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube.

Digital strategy is mandatory.

Finally, 2017 was the year that a unified digital strategy became a make-or-break proposition for brands desperate for efficiencies and a better customer experience. A decade into the merger of marketing and technology, many companies’ technology ecosystems have grown organically with point solutions addressing market and customer demands. However, this organic growth has resulted in a preponderance of inflexible platforms and customer experiences that are difficult to manage and that inadequately address the entire customer journey.(3)

As a result, brands thought carefully about their digital priorities to achieve real digital transformation in the areas of sales, marketing, operations, and the customer experience. This year, GLG worked with a large agricultural firm and a products manufacturing brand to inventory their digital ecosystems; identify requirements in their systems of record, systems of engagement, data security, and performance; document gaps in their technology and workflows and digital asset management; and then present a roadmap to orchestrate and prioritize the rollout of future technology initiatives.

Happy New Year!

As we put a bow on 2017, I want to say thanks to all of the clients and colleagues who’ve helped us grow and get better this year, and I wish all of you a happy New Year. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you want to build upon (or even start) paid social campaigns, better connect with Gen Z, or solidify your digital strategy. We’ve learned a lot this year, and we’re excited about the opportunities to move brands forward even faster in 2018. Let’s go!


1. Steve Rayson, “Facebook Engagement for Brands and Publishers Falls 20% in 2017,” BuzzSumo website, August 29, 2017, http://buzzsumo.com/blog/facebook-engagement-brands-publishers-falls-20-2017.
2. Jasz Joseph, “8 Digital Marketing Trends Set to Expire by 2018,” HubSpot website, November 1, 2017, https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/digital-marketing-trends-set-to-expire-2018.
3. Gerald Kane, Doug Palmer, Anh Nguyen Phillips, David Kiron, and Natasha Buckley, “Strategy, Not Technology, Drives Digital Transformation,” MIT Sloan Management Review website, July 14, 2015, https://sloanreview.mit.edu/projects/strategy-drives-digital-transformation.