Embassy Gazette

The 2017 Digital World in Review


What a year it has been in the digital atmosphere from Google to Instagram, we have seen so many changes for both users and advertisers on social media channels and customer management systems. Some of you may not have kept up with the latest news and changes, so we have summarised it for our 2017 Digital World in Review.

What a year it has been in the digital atmosphere from Google to Instagram, we have seen so many changes for both users and advertisers on social media channels and customer management systems. Some of you may not have kept up with the latest news and changes, so we have summarised it for our 2017 Digital World in Review.


WordPress had two major releases in 2017 – 4.8 and 4.9. The June 4.8 release was named “Evans” in honor of jazz pianist and composer William John “Bill” Evans. There were a few widget updates – such as the image, video, audio, rich text overhauls, plus a link boundaries update, which meant updating links was streamlined and so much easier!

In November, WordPress 4.9 “Tipton”, in honor of jazz musician and bandleader Billy Tipton, was released. Users can now see some of the existing features enhanced to be more user-friendly, as well as the inclusion of some long-awaited updates such as drafting updates and editing themes.

WordPress have introduced fixes on all bugs, as well as strengthened security measures throughout the platform. The ‘Customiser’ has switched up the theme installation, and switching themes with a live preview for the ‘Customiser’ is now available.

Another part of the update includes the ability to draft any changes in the Customiser, meaning, you can schedule your required changes to go live when your site isn’t being visited so your users aren’t disrupted.

In this release, WordPress have also looked after multi-sites under the new install framework, meaning it will be much easier for any websites with several different frameworks underneath them.

See our article on the release here.


The latest version of Kentico was released in December, with enhancements you can only get excited about. Kentico 11 meant changes such as digital marketing enhancements, smarter online marketing, a brand new shopping cart calculation, delayed payment capture and brand new integrations. These integrations will enhance and integrate the ecommerce and marketing capabilities of UCommerce (for streamlined functionality), Salesforce CRM (leverage sales and marketing data in both powerful platforms) and Azure Search indexes (provide faster, smarter customised search experiences for your customers). Read our article on the release here.


Google has continued its world domination in 2017 with it the search engine of choice and the biggest source of referral traffic on the web.

Probably sneakiest of them all, Google loves nothing more than releasing updates and not telling the rest of us – which in return ends up changing our organic ranking results. Google normally changes its search algorithm around 500–600 times a year, with some more minor than others do, this effects search results in significant ways, even if no updates are officially announced.

Last November, Google announced it was preparing a “mobile-first indexing” strategy, where mobile content would be prioritised over desktop. Throughout 2017, Google has continued to promote and reward sites with mobile-friendly websites, as well as accelerated mobile pages – which are specifically designed and structured to load instantly on mobile devices – so if you make your site mobile friendly, you will automatically be rewarded by Google.

We also saw a surge in focus on the content of sites. Rather than focusing on specific keyword combinations, it is now vital to focus on the context of the content. Google’s content quality algorithms are now advanced to understand the content – which now means content in a site is crucial to fit Google’s standards.


In April, YouTube changed its partner program from everyone – to creators only being able to turn on monetisation until they hit 10,000 lifetime views on their channel. In February, a feature allowing users to rewind or fast forward by double tapping their screen was released. In August, the video giant got a new logo and branding and a swag of new features. Including letting you watch any combination of SD, HD, 4K, 360, 3-D, and live video on nearly every device with an internet connection – from desktops to phones, tablets to TVs, game consoles, and even VR headsets.

On top of this, Google is hiring a spree to try and rid the platform of offensive videos and comments.

It's also introducing tougher restrictions on advertising and making greater use of smart technology.

By 2018, Google aims to have more than 10,000 people "working to address content that might violate our policies," YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said in a blog post.

Ms Wojcicki said they had already removed over 150,000 videos for violent extremism, which, 98 percent of the videos we remove for violent extremism are flagged by our machine-learning algorithms.


In Australia, Instagram has 9,000,000 Monthly Active users, so there is no doubting the popularity of the platform for us.

This one is quite obvious – how could we forget the introduction of Instagram Stories in 2017. Since Stories was enabled, we now have Stories Highlights section, where you can create highlights out of stories you’ve shared, as well as the Stories Archive, so all of your stories will be achieved after 24 hours. There was also the introduction of the archive saved posts, and a split screen on Instagram Live.

Another live feature, you can now request to join live videos. In 2017, Instagram has tried to make their direct messaging feature more usable, now with the ability to add unique stickers, text and drawings to your image, and send it directly to your followers.

As for influencers, the new sponsored post format has been rolled out, which identifies a paid post for followers.

We have also heard a few whispers about a regram button. YEP! No more need for third-party re-gramming software. This is still in the testing mode but we should know more soon.

FACEBOOK – *warning* this one is a lot to take in!

Social media in Australia has grown every year. In 2017, around 60% (15 million) of the country’s population is active on Facebook, with 50% logging on at least once a day. Globally, Facebook has 2.01 billion monthly active users, growing by 500 million in the last 2 years. The continued growth means they now have over 20,000 staff globally. (Social Media News, November 2017)

In 2017, Facebook was most popular at 94%, followed by Instagram at 46%, Snapchat 40%, Twitter 32%, LinkedIn 18%, Pinterest 10% and Google+ 10%. 84% of social media use was in the lounge/living room, followed by 59% in the bedroom and 34% in the kitchen.

A month ago, Facebook tested moving non-promoted posts out of the news feed in about 6 countries (not Australia). The new system saw almost all non-promoted posts in a separate feed, leaving the main feed focusing on original content from friends and adverts. Facebook finished the trial adding, “ We have no current plans to roll this out globally.”

Facebook are now cracking down on the latest type of clickbait – posts that ask people to “like”, share or comment to increase engagement numbers, in what Facebook is calling “engagement bait”. These posts will now be pushed down in the News Feed.

So, what can we expect from Facebook in 2018?

While Facebook is projected to boost sales by 46 per cent and double their net income in 2017, the social-media giant is facing a potential roadblock in 2018 as regulators close in. Currently in the eyes of regulators, Facebook is seen as a dangerous provider of instant gratification, and it’s also making abuse and aggression too easy, which has been pointed out in a report by the UK Committee on Standards in Public Life said. This could mean making both Facebook and Twitter liable for unethical content on their platforms.

Watch this space!


In November, Twitter finally allowed more words into a tweet. From 140 characters to 280, there will be much less frustration when it comes to editing and cramming your tweets. Nevertheless, this won’t apply to Japanese, Korean or Chinese language tweets – those languages can convey twice as much information into less space. The social network's character limit has not changed since the company launched in 2006.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life said tech firms have failed to stop the proliferation of hostile, offensive and threatening messages. It urged lawmakers to make the tech companies more legally accountable for the messages and videos on their platforms.

"Facebook, Twitter and Google are not simply platforms for the content that others post; they play a role in shaping what users see, “the report read.

"With developments in technology, the time has come for the companies to take more responsibility for illegal material that appears on their platforms.”

According to Social Media Today, 2017 was a tough year for Twitter.

While being investigated, Twitter (as well as Google and Facebook, we mentioned above) as part of the ongoing probe into the role social media platforms played in the lead up to the 2016 US election. One of the biggest questions for the probe was the political interference during the election, with investigations finding huge networks of fake accounts, which had been tweeting and retweeting information to make it seem more popular, or to support, a  political candidates, helping to amplify their messaging. In return, Twitter introduced new measures to better detect and remove inauthentic accounts.

What to expect in 2018?

To keep up with the other social media image-based platforms, Twitter outlined their intention for new image-recognition triggered ads, which can be activated by taking a photo of an object and tweeting it. Once tweeted, Twitter’s AI would recognise the image and respond with a ‘reward’ for the tweet. We are predicting this move in early 2018.


While it is forever gaining popularity, many users feel uneasy about it. The rest of the social media channels are very much fun and timely – whereas LinkedIn is your career.

For 2018, we are expecting a similar feed change as Facebook is testing – but with business news only. With 500 billion users worldwide on LinkedIn, the platform is becoming one of the most powerful.


Well, what a year it has been! We can’t wait to see what 2018 brings.

About The Digital Embassy

The Digital Embassy™ is an Australian Google and Microsoft Certified Partner transforming digital business. Our team are ambassadors for best practice in digital business strategy, web design, behaviour-driven software development and evidence-based digital marketing. For over 20 years our business has employed local industry certified personnel to help businesses meet the changing needs of digital users and consumers.

The Digital Embassy™ is a pre-qualified ICT service provider for Government in SA, VIC and NSW.


The Digital Embassy

AuthorThe Digital Embassy

The Digital Embassy™ is a Multi-Award Winning, Australian Google and Microsoft Certified Partner transforming digital business.

PostedWednesday, 20 December 2017