Summary: Ogilvy Key Digital Trends 2017

The latest Ogilvy Key Digital Trends report was released just before Christmas and here we take a look at some of the headline social media findings.

Ogilvy Key Digital Trends 2017

A yearly trend report, Ogilvy authors Marshall Manson and James Whatley have outlined where they believe the digital and social landscape is headed and what brands and agency partners should do about it.

Here’s a summary of the key findings…

Chatbots are on the rise

CNN Chatbot

The modern-day consumer wants everything now, and they expect on-demand customer service too. This, paired with the rise of messaging apps such as Whatsapp, has seen a gradual move towards networks offering automated chatbot solutions.

The report presents the key numbers behind this trend…

  • There are 33,000 chatbots on Facebook Messenger
  • There are 1bn monthly active users on Facebook Messenger
  • There are 1bn monthly active users on Whatsapp
  • 80% of marketing leaders said they were planning chatbot/AI solutions by 2020

Bot-building platforms are becoming increasingly commonplace. The likes of Chatfuel, ManyChat, Botsify and The Chatbot Factory all offer free or cheap options. The report suggests they’re ideal for dipping your toe into chatbot waters before ‘calling in some help’.

The report also explores at length the ethical issues surrounding AI, particularly with reference to driverless cars, automated airline control and the like. Marketers are advised to define the ‘basic principles of human ethics that must sit at the core of any bot’. It’s sound advice. The rate that chatbots have infiltrated the digital industry means that little thought has been given to ethics and where they fit into delegating human tasks to a bot.

For more information, read our post about the rise of chatbots.

Video is here to stay

Live Video Campaigns

Social media networks embraced video in 2016, and users lapped it up. The report quotes Mark Zuckerberg as saying, “We see a world that is video-first with video at the heart of all our apps and services”.

Staying with Facebook, we’re also told that Facebook ‘is throwing so much money at (Live) it is unheard of’.

With the arrival of new technology such as VR, Snapchat Spectacles and augmented reality, the report states, ‘We are witnessing the collapse of traditional video formats’. But what should brands be doing to join in the fun?

  • Got a TV commercial? Get/cut/use all footage.
  • Shooting a TVC? Get someone there shooting with a smartphone.
  • Can’t afford a TVC? Shoot something yourself.
  • Get clever/useful with video apps that can give you the creative edge that you need.
  • Publish to Facebook? Use Square video.
  • Got a ton of cash? Do something awesome in VR.
  • Got a small amount of cash? Look into 360 video.

Is Twitter in freefall?


‘It’s been a rough year for Twitter’, begins another of the report’s key sections. They couldn’t find a buyer, shut down Vine, continued to struggle with trolls and lost ground to Facebook in the social customer service race when the latter introduced chatbots.

But far from dwelling on the negatives, Ogilvy suggests that Twitter should re-focus in 2017 and fall back on two key areas: data and influence. Twitter has bucket-loads of data and may look to monetise this ‘more aggressively’. Influence is a reference to the big players who are very much alive and kicking on Twitter, such as a certain Donald Trump.

But how should marketers approach this? Apparently brands are overly reliant on Twitter for data – more than 80 per cent of reported social conversation volume in the big enterprise monitoring tools comes from Twitter. ‘Brands must widen their sources of data and insight,’ we’re told. ‘That might mean paying more for a wider range of data’.

Brands also need to reconsider Twitter as a platform for influence. Success will come not just from routinely publishing content, the report suggests, but from partnering with influencers to reach a wider audience. We should be looking for ‘strong, second-tier and emerging influencers’ to help them climb the ladder.

Facebook’s metric problem

Ogilvy Key Digital Findings 2017 Facebook metrics

Fake news wasn’t the only awkward problem Facebook suffered in 2016. They also had an embarrassing issue with metrics, which Ogilvy were only too happy to explore…

  • Facebook overstated the average video viewing time by up to 80 per cent (for two years).
  • Overstated how long people spent reading Instant Articles.
  • Overcounted views with Branded organic posts (double counting repeat visitors).
  • Overstated website and app referrals.
  • Video Through Rate (VTR) under-reported.
  • Under-reported Facebook reactions to Live video content.
  • Mobile search miscalculations.

As the report states, brands will now naturally have less trust in Facebook’s reporting tools. But what can they do when there’s no third-party alternative to Facebook’s metrics? According to Ogilvy, they should ignore the 220-odd measurements on offer from Facebook and instead focus on the metrics that matter to their business. In other words, stop like-chasing.

Read the full Ogilvy Digital Trends 2017 report.

Read Next

In this article

Join the Conversation