7 Digital Agency Trends for 2017


Our team takes a look at several big-picture trends and tactical trends that digital agencies will face this year. 


1. DIGITAL SHIFT: It's not surprising to anyone that budgets continue to shift from traditional broadcast line items towards digital lines.  That’s a lagging indicator chasing a seismic shift of consumer behavior towards digital content. The consumer shift isn’t just one segment either. All segments are continuing to consume more and more digital content. That doesn’t necessarily mean consumers are not watching television anymore; in fact, the data points in the opposite direction. How is that possible?  There’s only so many hours in a day, so it becomes apparent that people are consuming concurrently. The choice for advertisers then becomes where to place budget bets. The smart money bets on a channel closer to a conversion event, and that’s digital.

2. WHAT CONSTITUTES DIGITAL: In the same way that budget line items are shifting into digital, the lines are continuing to blur between what is and what isn’t digital. With the significant and still-growing penetration of smart/connected televisions, is the content, and therefore the advertising, digital or broadcast? 2017 will see big moves towards defining that.  Ironically, advertisers don’t care. However, the agencies care because it determines who gets the budgets. So, while our agency colleagues are busy fighting over broadcast vs. digital line items, we'll be busy focusing on advertising that works regardless of who is upset because their budget line items shrunk this year.

3. IN-SOURCING ADVERTISING: Another trend affecting all marketing and advertising service partners is the growing trend among brands of in-sourcing activities that have traditionally been outsourced to agencies. This shift is increasing in size and velocity. It is the logical next step in any industry where external forces have squeezed every last penny out of an external system. It happens in manufacturing all the time and it’s happening to us now as agencies are no longer providing anything really special to clients. On top of that, the financials have not been transparent enough for clients. The result is a commodity-based economic system where the buyers (brands/clients) control the supplier’s bottom-line and when they hit rock bottom, the buyers in-source because they can get it cheaper. Unfortunately, this is a vicious cycle that results in increasingly poor work product, which drives fees downward. In 2017, IMM will continue to focus on work that delivers sales to our clients that are economically beneficial to both our client and our bottom line. We believe that a sale delivered by us is a great insulator to the in-sourcing trend. While not always the case, it’s a great place to start off the new year. 

4. CLIENT/AGENCY PARTNERSHIPS: In 2017, the formation of partnerships between agencies and brands is sure to play a significant role. Client-agency relationships will go the way of drive-in movies and Woolworths. Taking their place will be true joint-venture partnerships, or similar engagements, where the negativity around lack of transparency and fraud disappear because agencies/partners no longer stand to gain even when/if the venture doesn’t perform.


1. MOBILE: With the continued proliferation of smartphones, coupled with an increase in affordable high-speed mobile data plans, it’s no surprise that people are spending a steadily increasing amount of time consuming data/content on their mobile devices.

2. CONTENT: People want good content. Advertising suppliers, like Facebook, reward advertisers with lower rates for good content that will draw in consumers. The emphasis here is on good content, including good video content. This doesn’t mean just high-product value; it means interesting, unique and engaging.

3. ANALYTICS: Marketers need true analytics. Results reporting is not necessarily analytics. Don’t let an agency sell you a set of dashboard reports and call them analytics. Among other capabilities, true analytics determines why something happened and predicts what is likely to happen next.

As we collectively work to get smarter and thus perform better for our clients, we see that 2017 will likely be a year of truth. Truth in mutually beneficial work. Truth in content. Truth in the transparency necessary for a successful digital campaign.  Because truth is central to how we measure success. 

About Ideas Made Measurable!

At IMM, creating action isn’t just what we do — it’s who we are. Our agency is built to deliver full service capabilities while also delivering measurable results. Big data is the marketing buzzword everyone talks about but few understand. We are here to explain in plain English how data-driven, bottoms-up marketing strategies can help generate leads, drive sales and build your brand. We leverage the expertise of the staff at IMM, a data-driven, full-service digital advertising agency based in Boulder, Colorado.

Let's work together

Sign up for our newsletter

What are you interested in?

How to Increase Dining Traffic Overnight & Build Loyalty Over Time

The Retailer's Guide to Acquiring & Retaining Your Best Customers

Driving sales overnight to build brands over time