Industry News, Opinion

Key Search trends of 2017 and 2018 (and how to win awards)

Jess Leader

By Jess Leader

31 January 2018

It's nice to share:

There’s something ever so reaffirming about going to any industry event and hearing the same marketing principles come up time and time again. Know your customer. Give them what they want, not what you want to sell them. Think idea-first, not channel-first. Focus on the story you’re telling… But in an industry where the only constant is change, as they say, how do such principles remain central to the work we do, when the way we do it changes all the time?


With The Drum’s Search Awards deadline looming this week, we thought it would be worth sharing some of the things we learnt when we were invited to talk at Bing’s offices for The Drum’s Search Awards Review, looking back at the key search trends and award winning campaigns from 2017. Hannah Harris, our PR Director, and I were more than happy to share some of the secrets behind our most-awarded campaign of 2017 – in return we got to raise our own bar by hearing some super smart techniques and tactics from some other winning entries.


So what key industry themes and trends have stood out for some of the leading minds? How have they been impacting how we do our thing? And how do we ensure those key success principles remain central as we navigate them?

Key trends from last year


And the key trends for 2018?


  1. GDPR. Even though no one quite knows the implications yet, anyone not keeping a close eye here could get into deep, deep water. The message was get educated, remain vigilant, don’t take risks
  2. UX. The further into an experience economy we move, the more a user-first focus is needed. Regardless of channel.
  3. Local Search. This will dominate behaviour and strategies
  4. Amazon. Already monopolising retail & eCommerce, entertainment and cloud computing, paving the way in AI and with strong future plans in groceries, logistics and logistics, there are genuine fears for how much of our lives this beast will infiltrate. Not overlooking the impact on our own world of advertising.


The Drum’s panel affirmed that incorporating these into your campaign approach will stand you in good stead for award-worthy work in 2018 and beyond.

But what else will? With the event being an exploration of some of The Drum’s Search Award winners of 2017, naturally the question was asked of the panel ‘so what makes an entry stand catch your eye as you sift through hundreds?’. The answers?

Good luck out there!