Every year, marketers get smarter about how best to leverage social to boost a brand’s online profile, but they also have the daunting task of understanding the new tools that cropped up that year as well, deciding for themselves what they think will ‘stick’ and what won’t. The challenge to not only understand and leverage new and existing tools has created the need for an intelligent look back to glean key learnings, but also shows us a glimpse of the big moves social is poised to take in the year ahead. Not long ago, Shoutlet penned a blog about new tools in 2012 to help us understand the year, and today we’ll be talking about what to expect in 2013.
Video takes the main stage
In 2012, pictures were big. Pinterest and Instagram made lasting impressions on how brands and users share information. In 2013, pictures are going to the next level in the form of videos, with brands finding bigger and better use of video shorts and commercials to share stories and promotions. Doing so will make way for campaigns to have a longer shelf life and more and more brand-supported videos are set to go viral. What helps with virality? A solid plan, an element of surprise and humor, and keeping it short. And with easy sharing capabilities, video will continue to be used heavily in social.
While it’s more costly to do so, brands are beginning to understand the value in leveraging video to invoke emotions and create a stronger sense of action, which in most cases, means sharing. A good example of video done right in 2012 was the Fiat 500 Abarth campaign, aiming to compete with similar cars that were already well established in the US automobile market.
Sure, the Fiat 500 Abarth is small, fuel-efficient and affordable. It also looks like a cross between a Mini-Cooper and a smart car. Nothing too exciting there, right? With a creative video campaign, Fiat cut through the ‘boring’ and made their ad memorable. Bet you didn’t expect to see Charlie Sheen step out (ankle monitoring bracelet and all), did you? On the heels of his antics, Mr. Sheen’s social popularity was unprecedented, setting the Guinness World Record for “Fastest Time to Reach 1 Million Followers” (remember #winning?) and people were clamoring to see what he’d do next. Expect to see this level of creativity and more viral sharing in the next year.
Brands will need to find a balance with social ads
Social ads were a big topic in 2012, especially with the news of promoted posts and tweets and the costs associated with them. Facebook users were very vocal on how their newsfeeds were affected, as were brands which felt their backs were against the wall due to changes in sharing offers and promotions. Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban was perhaps the most vocal.
Beyond paid, earned and owned media, 2013 will show us how brands are being creative when it comes to social ads as they relate to social sharing. We’ll begin to see ads options beyond what exists now by platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to help drive revenue. Just this week Instagram’s hint at ads in its new policy set off a firestorm, but it pointed to monetization of new platforms that have become popular among users. It’s been no secret that Facebook has been under added pressure to be profitable post-IPO and ads are the fastest and most effective way to get there. Monetizing on social is an issue that will not go away but we’ll see more steps taken in the right direction in 2013.
Continued Rise of Mobile and Location-Based Apps
Location-based technology isn’t new. In fact, tech companies were talking about it even before iPhones came into existence. But with mobile users on the move more now than ever, coupled with technology being as accessible as it is in app stores, brands are looking for ways to apply geo-targeting in new and creative ways. Case in point, Facebook’s Justin Osofsky, Director of Platform Partnerships, shared at LeWeb Paris just this month that mobile users are 70% more likely to engage on Facebook than Web users.
Coupons, daily deals and offers promoted through user check-ins will continue to rise in 2013 and app developers will continue to look at industries that could benefit from location-based technology. In an April 2012 study by TNS, mobile users surveyed stressed the want and need for location-based technology, with one in five mobile users (21%) stated that they find mobile advertising interesting if it is offering them a deal near their current location. Interestingly, North America lags in LBS adoption (9% of mobile users versus Latin America’s 39% and Europe’s 20%) so opportunities abound for US-based LBS app developers. As the industry matures and offerings are unveiled, LBS is poised to really take off in 2013.
What do you think? Do you agree with these predictions, or do you see 2013 moving in another direction? Tell us in the comments.