Viral Visionaries

Viral Visionaries: Our trend predictions for 2018

Viral Visionaries: Our trend predictions for 2018

With 2017 done and dusted, it's time to dive straight in to the new year.

With that, we sat down with our Viral Visionaries panel to discuss the trends that are about to take the influencer space by storm. 

If there's something big happening that we've missed, or if you'd like to join the discussion on our panel of Viral Visionaries, drop our editor a line at [email protected]

Jiri Kupiainen CEO Matchmade

Jiri is the founder of Shark Punch, a transatlantic game development company working on a game about bank robberies in the 70s.

He was the CEO and a founder of the cross-platform gaming pioneer Rocket Pack, which was acquired by Disney in 2011.

He has been part of the Finnish games industry for almost 14 years, but currently resides in San Francisco because the weather in Helsinki sucks.

In no particular order, focusing on games and YouTube:

  • We'll be seeing a lot more games inspired by PUBG. Definitely Fortnite and Rules of Survival, but also a whole bunch of others that haven't even launched yet. Riding on this wave, we're also likely to see more of mobile PVP in general.
  • On the business side, pricing and terms will continue to standardize, with advertisers looking for consistent, scalable and reliable ways of running influencer campaigns all year long.
  • Influencers will become more vocal on how the platforms treat them, which might result in surprising shifts in the (perceived) importance of different platforms, as well as leading to consumers having a better understanding of how influencers actually make their living.
  • With some of the biggest games declining, we're going to see influencers going for broader appeal instead of just sticking to a single game. And on the other hand, we might see influencers moving en masse from one of the popular-but-declining games to something else.
  • A game that hasn't been yet (globally) launched will become one of the top 5 games on YouTube.

Macy Mills Head of Business Development GameInfluencer

Gaming brands will expand their reach via non-gaming channels. With gamers and non-gamers alike juggling varied interests across multiple devices, it’s critical that brands think outside the box when determining whom to work with.

By partnering with “non-traditional” channels, gaming brands have the opportunity reach entirely new customer segments. Pet Paradise Bubble Shooter did this when they integrated their game into typical family vlogs and cooking videos, resulting in a huge organic uplift.

Brands will invest in esports ventures. Tournaments provide gaming brands the opportunity to foster a stronger sense of community and healthy competition amongst its users.

When done well, player loyalty increases as does the likelihood of installs of spectators being introduced to the game for the first time.

Tencent recently hosted a successful Arena of Valor tournament at Gamescom 2017. Not only was there a huge live audience, but there was also 20,000+ viewers on the Twitch stream.

We already thought about the topic and recently released a post on our blog, that highlights the eight biggest trends we expect to dominate in 2018.

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.

Next year, we are going to talk about mental health a whole lot more. It is already being recognized in closed circles that the busy YouTube creator burn-out cycle is 6 years in average.

Beyond that point, it is a very hard lifestyle to sustain, especially mentally. Older entertainment industries like Hollywood and Music suffer from the same problems, which are rooted to fame, money and fast-pace career happening at a young age.

YouTube as a company is doing a good job holding seminars about how to lead a healthier lifestyle when dealing with success. The eye-opening moment for star creators attending such seminars is when they hear that they are not alone, that others deal with the same problems.

I expect this debate to move up from seminars to the public place. Some sensationalist media will rejoice and go for the cheap, ugly and personal headline, but overall it should be a positive conversation worth having.

Heck, I'll start here and now: I too started my career at barely 20 and went through a successive rush of 5 years before experiencing a burn-out in 2003. I'll gladly and transparently discuss the topic of what led to that and how to cope, with anyone who feels like giving me a shout about it.

Another thing we should expect to see with the eco-system maturing: brands will be more cautious of who they work with, and criteria such as professionalism and reliability will become much more prevalent than the raw performance numbers.

And because they listen to brands, YouTube will keep making some algorithm changes that reflect the big advertisers' desires. The creators on whom one can count with will make even more money than they did in 2017. Those who play with fire are likely to get burnt and see their revenue spiral down. The YouTube gold rush is over - here begins the purge.

Kat Peterson Reelstyle

I think in addition to the trends noted by my friends above, I think we can expect to see better, tighter integrations on the merchandise side. We saw a lot of licensed and branded merch in 2016 and 2017, I think we'll see this heightened in 2018.

There will be more opportunities for Influencers to be more creative with their merchandise offering, there will be better and more robust sponsorship of these creative endeavours and finally, more global access to the products.

Excited to put logo tees to bed (ok, not totally) and shake up the game, innovate, monetize and expedite globally!

James Beaven CEO Keymailer

2018 will be dominated by the letters G, D, P and R. When the new General Data Protection Regulations come into affect next year, it's hard to imagine any business with at least one data tendril in the EU that doesn't look at the cookies on their website, mailing lists, user sign-up forms, fan or customer database, and think at the last minute, "Holy crap. GDPR covers that as well??"

And just because that's a terrible note to leave 2017 on; we also predict the demise of the scammer. There's now enough information, tools and understanding of what constitutes value from channels to allow the good guys to bubble up and those taking advantage to sink to the bottom of the pile.


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.