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The 5 Hottest Social Ad Trends to Look Out for in 2013

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This year we’re encouraging players in the social ad game to think big. 2012 was a breakout year for social advertising. Brands from all verticals emerged to play the social ad game, with some clear winners emerging

But what are the major trends for 2013? Our strategy team has a few answers.

5. The Desktop Gets Dropped

As 2012 was the year of mobile first, 2013 will be the year of mobile-only. The rocket success of Instagram proved that a mobile-only approach could work in software. The same goes for social advertising: with mobile traffic now at 13% of total internet traffic, and mobile internet use now surpassing desktop use in countries like India and China, the eyes will be on mobile. 

4. Power Shifts to Distributed, Multi-Social Players

Media planners started noticing, through their social campaigns in 2012, that one social platform didn’t work like another. Facebook and Twitter campaigns were good for different things, and promising offerings started emerging from other players like Tumblr, Foursquare, and Pinterest. In 2013, we predict that individual, walled-garden social platforms will lose paid media market market share not only to their sibling big platforms but also to media companies that can put all the pieces together. Multi-social strategies like the Blended Interest Graph or diversified networks make campaigns more efficient and will take an increasing share of media allocation. Small business customers will likely stick to their favorite platforms, but media agencies will increasingly turn to firms that can offer packaged social solutions.

3. Consumers say, “Understand Me!”

In our 2012 predictions, we discussed the rising tide of big data. In 2013, this data gets ever more personal. Consumers generate reams of data daily online, and they expect an ever more personalized web. 

What does that mean? Consumers are increasingly becoming smarter about how advertising weaves in and out of their lives. They’ll expect companies to understand their needs and preferences and personalize their advertising experiences — even while demanding privacy be respected. Effective and ethical ad targeting matters!

2. Ad Creative for Here, There, and Everywhere

As we saw in IBM’s US Open campaign (the #1 social campaign of 2012), Local + Global is a hybrid strategy with obvious applications in televised events. But throughout 2012, more and more agencies and brands will build local components into their broader paid social campaigns. Tools like location check-in targeting combined with heavily mobile strategies will spark creative campaigns throughout the year.

1. All Advertising Is Social

QR codes are an example of how many ads, even outdoor, went digital in 2012. And in 2011 and 2012, we saw an endless parade of TV commercials punctuated with Twitter and Facebook links. In 2013, all advertising will get social — behind the scenes as well as in full view. We’ll see not only more links in TV ads (hello, Pinterest) but also more socially-targeted advertising and social features on rich media placements. There will even be nods to social in classic online display ads. (All those “dumb” banners? They’ll have Share buttons that encourage clicks.) Social has broken out of the walled gardens and begun roaming the open web of apps and sites. You’re soaking in it.

Update on a 2012 Prediction: Second Screen Breaks Out

Last year we predicted that “the line between social and broadcast [media] will continue to blur.” Shane Doyle, one of our field strategists, reports: 

2013 will be a breakout year for 2nd screen interaction (last year only the early adopters were doing it). We’re seeing migration away from Facebook toward Twitter based on strengths of the platform (simple, realtime, brief, etc.). The Retweet is becoming more powerful (see: Kate Upton). Look no further than Buzzfeed to understand the power of real time. And people everywhere are watching TV by proxy: I didn’t watch one second of “The Bachelor” but followed enough people to know what was happening. Every single strength of Twitter as a communications platform is why second screen and brands, advertisers, users are going to benefit if they can be nimble and tap into the real-time frenzy that ensues during the trending waves that take place.

That’s what we see in our crystal ball for 2012. Are there any trends you feel should be added to the list?

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January 9, 2013 - 1 year ago
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