Viral Visionaries

Viral Visionaries: The biggest influencer marketing trends of 2017

Viral Visionaries: The biggest influencer marketing trends of 2017

 It's been a great year for influencer marketing. More and more companies are recognising the importance of influencer marketing, and investing more of their time and budget in to influencer marketing than ever before.

As 2017 draws to  a close, we decided to ask our panel of industry experts what they thought the biggest influencer marketing trends of 2017 were. Some of the answers were experted, and some were not! 

Pascal Clarysse CMO-at-large Eden Games

Pascal Clarysse started looking for so-called Growth Hacks a good decade before the buzzword was coined.

Clarysse used to be the marketing driving force at, where he was in charge of relentlessly spotting new trends, waves and magic holes. In recent years, he's served as a marketing consultant for various indie studios, participating in launching mobile games and the occasional Kickstarter campaign.

As Influencer Marketing has exploded compared to previous years, YouTuber endorsements are no longer sufficient for brands to cut through the noise and leverage big impact - there's the need to develop big events and social moments nowadays.

  • The age of the Mega MCN is behind us. The era of the specialized boutique agencies has begun.
  • Instagram has established itself as a viable (and scalable) marketing platform
  • Instagram has stolen the Stories feature, and the thunder that goes with it, from Snapchat.
  • Facebook is trying oh-so-hard to attract influencers to its video platform.

As for the hot influencers, biggup to Liza Koshy for her meteoric rise this year, to the F2 Freestylers for their outstanding level of professionalism under any circumstances and last but not least, I'm absolutely stunned by French influencer Jérôme Jarre's efforts to use his fame to actually make a social good impact in areas hit by disasters. Look up the #LoveArmy - it's not all about money, sponsored deals and the FTC after all. Let there be hope for the world we live in, as we head into the holiday season!

Brian Dodge CEO Spartan Elite

Firstly I have to strongly agree with Pascal on a few points, especially his shoutout to Youtubers doing positive change for the world by using the influence they have!

Spartan Elite Advertising has done a lot of campaigns this year with just our talent, but also at times involving companies like Blizzard or IGG to promote positive messages to the public and/or raise money for good causes. This is always something we love to be a part of! We also should recognize Markiplier for doing INSANE amounts of Make-a-wish meet ups that are an amazing way to give back to fans!

That all being said on top of agreeing with each of the mentioned topics by Pascal I would like to say the biggest emerging trends on Youtube are long term deals to provide retention/branding for companies.

Also re-engagement campaigns will be a big thing for 2018 in my opinion as people strive to find new ways to measure the full potential of working with influencers they won’t just look at the instant trackable downloads or the organic ones, but will strive to see how many old players reactivated during campaigns…

As a boutique agency I can say that we have seen a lot of companies become more open minded and see greater success this year with influencer marketing by letting talent have creative control and having us teach them on the back end how to track the results manually.

Macy Mills Head of Business Development GameInfluencer

In 2017, the influencer marketing budgets got larger, but also smarter. We had growing numbers all over the field: more campaigns, more influencers, more money and ultimately more data.

We saw companies really start to figure out their ideal marketing strategy in the influencer scene. I think that as more people got a deeper understanding of how influencer marketing works, it´s effectiveness has grown quite a bit (which, to be honest, was necessary to match the also rising prices).

We have been able to ramp up our database, having access to a wealth of past campaign performance in relevant fields, and determine how the users interact with different approaches and creative concepts.

This helped us smooth out our process of finding the right influencers for every product. The general trend of getting more and more data will obviously continue, but I feel that 2017 was the most relevant step, that will be followed by needed smaller adaptions in the upcoming years towards bigger, better influencer marketing campaigns.

There were also some interesting developments on the influencer side. We have noticed a huge shift in the predominant games of the scene. Mobile-wise, the 2016 hype of Pokémon GO was not able to sustain through 2017 and viewer numbers on those channels have generally dropped pretty drastically: a similar fate that hit some Clash Royale channels later the year.

On the other hand, the genre of Battle Royale games, like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite, saw an incredible upswing in 2017. It will be very interesting to see how things will develop in 2018, given that there is now quite a void in the mobile gaming market.

Jodi Sahlin Head of Influencer Marketing Space Ape Games

As usual, I'm in agreeance with my fellow panelists. Few other things come to mind:
First off Logan Paul is killing it! As I do have to give props to Liza Koshy for her fastest growing channel in three years award, Logan managed to hit 10 million subs in 333 days, deemed fastest growing in Youtube history. Super impressive for TeamDom!

As a community, we've taken major strides in banding together to help each other understand the value of Influencer Marketing this year. My 2018 prediction is that we will nail down the most accurate pricing seen in Influencer Marketing.

Here are some of the smaller trends since everyone has already hit on the big ones:

  • I think has proven valuable in regards to reach in the relevant demographic this year
  • Facebook Videos are booming! We saw most viral content come from FB Videos this year.
  • Burn everything with Fire! - Most viewed videos on Youtube are consisting of the creator setting fire to something, turing their channel into a reality tv show or a spin off of Jackass.
  • When they aren't burning physical items with fire, they burn each other in rap videos that can dig deeply personal. Or they burn their reputation by throwing in the wrong word, just to see if it pushes the stats up a notch. Creators now thrive on controversy and have become more addicted to growth and popularity in 2017 than ever.

Totally agree with Pascal quote - 'The Age of the MCN' dying. I feel there's been too many risks taken with these big agencies and brands/developers are seeing much more transparency and much higher engagment with smaller, passionate 'boutique' agencies.

I also have found that the small agencies are much more inspired to help grow their influencers/creators brands by giving them opportunities that larger agencies wouldn't even consider.

Veera Rouvinen Community Manager Traplight Games

I agree with everything posted here so far, very good points all around. I don’t have much to add for the great list of trends that the other panelists have gathered, but I do have some predictions for 2018.

As David said, consumers and players are getting more critical towards simple, paid content. One-off videos on channels don’t yield as good results as they used to, from audience reactions to CPI costs getting harsher.

So I think companies will need to put more effort into building relationships with the influencers, and find those influencers that can honesty say that they are fans of the game or product that they are showing to their audience. To make influencers fans of your game, you need to listen to their needs.

Game companies will be putting more effort into building influencer specific features for their games to make them easy and fun for influencers to show the game to their fans. Some games are inherently more ‘YouTubable’ or ‘Twitchable’, but games can increase the possibility of getting influencer coverage by considering those things during development.

This is why game companies will also need to include influencers in the game development early on. It was already visible during 2017 that companies started to invite influencers over to check out their unfinished games and to receive feedback from them.

This type of consulting relationship, as well as building custom features or in-game assets for influencers based on their requirements and wishes will become more widespread for sure.

Kat Peterson Reelstyle

I’m with Pascal here.

This year was a clear sign there is no room left for the mega MCNs, kudos to the ones adapting (sort of) but good riddance to those trying to hang on with the same model.

Hello IG Stories! I received more requests for executions on IG Stories than I ever could have anticipated for ALL types of Influencees, not at all limited to Beauty as previously felt on IG 1.0. I saw a lift on spend in Lifestyle, Gaming AND Beauty Influencers on Stories which was exciting, now all we need is a little more data please!

Excited and ready to welcome more data opportunities in 2018 with all of these changes.


Danielle Partis is editor of and former editor of She was named Journalist of the Year at the MCV Women in Games Awards 2019, as well as in the MCV 30 under 30 2020. Prior to Steel Media, she wrote about music and games at Team Rock.