Marketers will face important challenges in 2012, as customers are more savvy than before and late-adopting brands enter the social stream. Take a look at the top 5 upcoming social stream trends of 2012: each one will affect brands’ marketing plan in different ways.
1. Online Video Is Getting Social
“It’s not only in the stream, but video is feeding back into the stream too”
Video is powerful. Brands are learning that adding video to a site increases traffic and improves SEO, and marketing email effectiveness increases 90% when video is used (Creattica). In the social stream, Twitter users post YouTube links 500 times a minute, and Facebook users watch 150 years’ worth of video every day.
What’s your brand’s social video strategy for 2012? Are you increasing the volume of video you produce and share, or building entire campaigns around video content?
(Soon, 140 Proof will unveil a special offering for brands interested in enhancing their video strategy. Stay tuned.)
2. Smartphones Rule
“Brands not mobilizing in 2012 are behind the curve”
The smartphone buying spree of 2011, plus the growing tablet market, means customers are now spread across many devices. Most adults 18-34 own smartphones, and Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley has predicted that mobile traffic will overtake desktop traffic by the end of 2014. This doesn’t mean that you need to hire a team to create apps for every platform, but it does mean you need:
- mobile-optimized digital assets and communications
- a mobile advertising strategy
- a thorough understanding of how customers use devices
At 140 Proof, we help our customers navigate social advertising on every platform, with platform-independent ad units as well as smartphone-only campaign strategies for brands who want to reach that slightly tech-leaning, slightly more affluent audience.
3. Social as a Second Screen Will Change TV Media
“Social will circle back on TV, influencing shows and ad buys”
Social buys are already tagging along to the broadcast TV buy, as we saw last year with Victoria’s Secret Fall TV Continuity (140 Proof’s #1 campaign of 2011).
Additionally, broadcasters are starting to recognize the value of social as the second screen for television. And the fact that TV shows have their own Facebook pages and all the show actors are active on Twitter…the line between social and broadcast will continue to blur.
Social advertising, as a complement to upfront or scatter buys, promises a strategic flexibility that’s tougher to get in the high-overhead world of TV production. TV shows will be designed and promoted with the knowledge that viewers use the second screen as a backchannel. Social advertising campaigns will be built up in advance of show premieres, in increasingly more ambitious efforts to shape public opinion.
4. Big Data Will Start Overwhelming Brands
“Social means big data, and social ads mean bigger data”
At 140 Proof, we’re already up to our ears in big data. Studying the interest graph means we analyze those many-to-many relationships, and the data points multiply like bunnies as our audience members click and Like their way through the Internet. Our Data Science team is dedicated to researching and reporting on the interest graph. And Luke Lonergan of EMC recently told Forbes of companies who underestimate the impact of Big Data on their business: “They are going to miss the opportunity or get overwhelmed. Those with data science teams begin to understand; others don’t see how much it can do.”
The kinds of big data created continues to grow in volume and change in kind, but now there’s a critical mass of teams getting a handle on it. In 2012, R&D teams will have more tools and resources to choose from, as data streams and online behaviors are better understood.
5. Brands That Can Speak It Real Will Win
“Good social strategy supports sustainable customer relationships”
A new surge of brands will be entering the social stream in 2012. This is the year of the late mainstream. If your brand already has a social media and a social advertising strategy, you’re ahead. Why? Because you’ve adopted that socialspeak that people expect in the stream: personal, more lighthearted, and direct.
And it goes even deeper than tone. AdAge delved into the power of the sustainable relationship at the start of 2012:
The new imperative, according to Rogers, is “How do you, as a marketer, get the subset of the loyal customer who doesn’t just buy your product again but … writes those positive reviews? They share your links and retweet you on Twitter and post a photo of themselves with your product on Facebook and “like” you on Facebook and generate all these network conversations, which go back to the top of the funnel and influence other customers in your network at their own stage of awareness, consideration, preference or action.”
At 140 Proof, we help brands new to the social stream make a home there: by advising on campaign strategy, taking the message to the right audience, and adapting creative to the special tone of the social stream.
“What challenges is your team most concerned about in 2012?”
Let us know in the comments below, or on Twitter at @140proof.