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2017 in review

2017 was an interesting year in digital marketing. While brands continued to pour money into the online sphere, advertiser trust wavered and major publishers faced unprecedented public criticism. With the New Year underway, let’s take a final look back at the news and trends that dominated the past twelve months.

First the bad: brand safety became a major issue in 2017. Companies whose ads appeared alongside objectionable or extremist content experienced major backlashes from consumers. Some companies went so far as to pull their ads from YouTube until Google could remedy the situation.

More broadly, consumers demonstrated a concerted mistrust of digital content in general, particularly in the wake of the 2016 US election. Users became unusually wary of bots, fake news, and extreme content in 2017, making it more important than ever for brands to advertise on palatable channels.

Concerns about the quality of the digital marketing experience also festered in 2017, prompting Google to announce an ad-blocking initiative on its Chrome browser for mobile and desktop. Digital marketing agencies and their clients will have to take steps to ensure they deliver unobtrusive, user-friendly marketing in 2018.

Despite these emergent vulnerabilities, the digital marketing industry experienced another precedent-setting year. According to the Internet Advertising Revenue Report, digital ad spend grew 23 per cent year-over-year in the first six months of 2017. Revenues topped $40-billion in that period, an all-time high. Also for the first time, digital advertising sales surpassed linear television, accounting for 41 per cent of advertising sales overall compared to TV’s 35 per cent.

On many levels, from the cultural to the geopolitical, 2017 was a turbulent year. As a Premier Google Partner All-Star digital marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is excited to confront the numerous challenges that 2018 is sure to present and ensure another profitable year of partnership with our clients. We wish you all the best in the New Year!