Keith Weed: My big takeaways from 2017

Three things have grabbed by attention this year: the acceleration of video, calls for better digital measurement and the compelling economic argument for more diversity.

It’s that time of year when articles turn en masse to reflections of the year, so here are a couple of overarching thoughts that, for me, have really characterised 2017.

1. This has been the year for video

Firstly let’s look at the area of technology. Although we’ve been earnestly repeating the ‘this year will be the year of video’ mantra every January for at least the last three years, it feels like 2017 finally was video’s year.

As the prevalence of video rapidly accelerates, it is fundamentally changing how brands and people connect with each other. Internet video traffic will be over 80% of all consumer internet traffic in four years’ time, by which point almost 17,000 hours of video content will cross global IP networks every second. That’s a mind-boggling amount of content.

It’s so important for brands to integrate this into their strategies now or risk becoming invisible to the next generation, which is also a very visual generation. We’ve seen some great examples this year of brands experimenting with different formats and styles.

2. Digital measurement has moved up the agenda

The second observation from 2017 is how the topic of measurement within the digital ecosystem has suddenly become the hot topic on everyone’s lips. It is gratifying to see so many people and companies now throwing their weight behind this critical issue.

Digital measurement is, however, currently very platform-centric – marketers work hard to optimise their spend, but ultimately it is happening in silos. As an advertiser, I want to be able to see one consumer across all the platforms that are out there, paid for from a single marketing budget – not separated out for online and offline channels.

READ MORE: L’Oréal’s new CMO on why brands shouldn’t have a digital strategy

To be able to do this we need to be able to see over the walled gardens of the different digital platforms. It’s time to make cross-platform measurement a reality – and also to start giving consumers the experience they deserve when they go online.

3. There is still a severe lack of diversity in the industry

And my third point is a society-wide issue: diversity, or the lack thereof, in our creative industries. It is a fact that diverse teams produce better creative. It has also been shown that creative which reflects the diversity of the world we live in has 25% higher branded impact. So why wouldn’t we want all want to improve the diversity in our industry? There’s an economic argument as well as a moral one.

At long last the conversation feels like it is reaching some critical mass and both brands and agencies are starting to make progress on better briefs, leading to better creative. This is something that needs everyone in the industry to pull in the same direction as each other, which is why I am so delighted to act as vice-chair to the Unstereotype Alliance, co-convened this year at the Cannes Lions festival by Unilever and UN Women.

READ MORE: Brands’ perspective on gender will transform in 2018

With its member companies collectively spending billions of dollars, we really have the opportunity to shift culture through tackling the unhelpful stereotypes in advertising that hold us back. It offers the real prospect of finally levelling out the playing field.

As Shelly Palmer famously said, the pace of change will never be this slow again. So if 2017 felt like a whirlwind, get ready for 2018 to feel even faster. Hold on tight, it’s the most exciting time to be in business.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here