From Blockchain to Bots: 2017 Technology Trends That Will Influence 2018

In 2017 we saw blockchain-based technologies rise and rapidly begin to take over the media but was this a short-lived trend or will these and other kinds of technologies persist into 2018 and dominate the industry? Here are some thoughts and predictions on technology trends from our experts at Spark.

Alan Soucy, CEO

Alan Soucy

One undeniable trend in the industry this year has been the emergence of blockchain based protocols and applications. New highly disruptive blockchain projects are being formed at an unprecedented rate and have already begun to disrupt industries such as financial services, gaming, identity verification, and data storage, to name a few. Just as blockchain is a technology built on a decentralized data network securing a distributed ledger, the funding of blockchain projects is a process whereby a network of decentralized individuals are joined by a common interest to fund a specific project. As a result, we anticipate a trend will emerge where technology innovation, and the capital to fuel that innovation, will become less concentrated in Silicon Valley, and become increasingly decentralized throughout the world. Anticipating the emergence and importance of blockchain in 2017, early in the year Spark formalized a division with specific skills to service the blockchain and cryptocurrency markets, called Sparkchain.

Donna Burke, Founder

Donna Burke

The biggest tech trend of 2017, in my opinion, was the torrid pace of marketing. Nowhere was this felt more acutely than in the blockchain space. Companies that might normally prepare for months to secure venture funding were created, launched, and raised tens of millions of dollars oftentimes in less than three months. Funding was secured for concepts, not betas, and were often by wealthy individual investors and not VCs.

Larry Smalheiser, Vice President

Larry Smallheiser

2018 will be the year blockchain technology has a huge disruptive impact across industries and geographic boundaries. We’ll see many real-world applications come online and it will be a key topic that mainstream culture is talking about.


Looking beyond the popularity of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, a few other themes took over the media and the social scene this year: influencer marketing, cord-cutting, the Internet of Things, and bots.


Shane Jordan, Vice President of Strategic Insights


Influencer marketing has grown and will continue to grow into a staple of most brands’ communication strategy. Technologies and processes to measure the business impact of influencer marketing and the ability to amplify influencer content will grow more sophisticated and become more commonplace. Spark is uniquely well-positioned to be a leader in this area given our experience, expertise, and proven track record of successfully partnering brands with key influencers, raising valuable brand awareness and driving content engagement.

Linda Chung, Vice President, Broadcast, Video and Media Services

Linda Chung

As cord-cutting continues to accelerate at a rapid clip, cable companies are investing in live-streaming services, launching media apps, and partnering up with social media platforms to deliver video content. The upcoming “TicToc by Bloomberg” on Twitter just launched and we’ll continue to see more of these types of partnerships in 2018.

Katie Johnson, Vice President

Katie Johnson

The Internet of Things has really gone mainstream at this point. Technology surrounds us and there’s not much we can do these days that doesn’t have some sort of smart component. These devices are intertwined into our lives and because of all the data they are collecting about how we live, will only become more so as we go into 2018 and beyond.

Vanessa Zucker, Senior Marketing Manager

Vanessa Zucker

Bots will continue to manipulate what content we see and how we discover that content, especially on social channels. We will continue to need more sophisticated ways to determine which bot-driven aspects of social profiles and content are valuable, especially while wading through the gross overabundance of (oftentimes low-quality) bot content.

In the process of sorting out what we should pay attention to and what we should not, we will redefine how we determine value on social media. For example, swarms of bot followers on Twitter will render a user’s follower count a vanity metric and cloud the judgement of said user as a social media influencer based on follower count. Repetitive liking by bots and retweeting to other bots will also confuse the true value of social interactions. Instead, correlating earned media performance with business impact metrics like sales, conversions, and white paper downloads shows which content actually had an impact on viewers. This places a much higher prize on the ability to capture and sustain genuine human attention; Bots won’t drive sales and conversions but real people will. That is, until we give our emotion-based purchasing decisions entirely to bots that can make purchases for us.


Which 2017 technology trends that will influence 2018 have you noticed this year? Tweet us @sparkpr and let us know!