Digital and media trends for 2013

Part of our series with Millward Brown

Digital and media trends for 2013

Millward Brown’s digital predictions for the coming year

Duncan Southgate, global digital brand director from Millward Brown, shares a summary of the company’s predictions for the hottest digital and media trends for 2013.

1. The monetisation of Facebook will bring new, richer ad opportunities
We will see the rise of bigger, bolder, more interactive – and intrusive – Facebook advertisements in 2013, as it seeks to monetise and justify its massive valuation.

Brands will be permitted to be more visible in newsfeeds and advertisers will also be prominent across most of the landing page – richer and perhaps even expandable formats will become prevalent.

With these new opportunities will come increased responsibility for advertisers to deliver quality content that enhances the user experience rather than invades this ‘personal space’.

2. Social media listening will evolve from ‘grab and go’ to meaningful insight
As brands give more weight to social data in making decisions, they will demand greater transparency in data collection and better quality insights.

Most social listening platforms scrape up every piece of data they find – but privacy settings make it difficult to know how much of the total has been captured, and there’s often no ‘scrubbing’ process to eliminate trivial or unreliable data.

Brands will seek a new iteration of social listening that is focused on reliable research rather than fast feedback, and which can effectively assess more subjective aspects like sentiment.

3. Mobile devices will become ‘remote controls’ for our lives
With increasing power and capabilities, mobile devices will not only give us active control of electronics, but also seamless integration of the world around us.

Brands’ communication plans should take advantage of the greater possibilities as consumers trade personal information for convenience and access to events, offers and premium content. Marketers need to create content that is flexible and smart, so it receives as well as gives information and adapts in real-time to become more relevant and appropriate.

4. More paywalls will mean fewer premium eyeballs
In 2013 we’ll see more content shifting away from free access, ad-supported business models to pay-per-view or subscription-based models – driven by the decline in audiences for traditional media.

This will result in more fragmentation – audience sizes for premium content sites will fall as consumers look for free content or go without. And while marketers will see less clutter and tighter targeting, they’ll also face higher CPMs as the reliance on ad revenue by content providers declines and focus shifts to an improved use experience.

5. Omnichannel marketing will come of age
Developments in technology will enable brands to be present or available across the consumer’s behavioural path, by ‘sewing’ conversations together across all contact points. Marketers will be able to have more constructive ongoing dialogues with consumers, by capturing meaningful moments of engagement so they can be referenced and built on during subsequent interactions.

The shift will begin in the digital arena, as social and mobile data sources are blended with offline brand experiences. Big data will move from a passive pool of potential insights into an active mechanism for deepening the meaning behind each individual interaction.

6. Social TV will be part of the narrative rather than a conversation about the narrative
Telling stories through multiple screens will begin to supplant the notion of broadcasting something on the first screen to which people react on disconnected ‘second’ and ‘third’ screens.

People who are most invested in a particular TV programme, for example, will be able to access and interact with richer story elements during and between episodes. Unique story components in different channels will be integrated with audience responses to create a single narrative which permeates more deeply into people’s lives.

Brand owners, especially those sponsoring a TV series, will similarly need to interweave their brand story across screens, tailoring it appropriately to those most involved in the content.

7. Africa’s ‘smartphone divide’ will be bridged with a two-pronged approach to mobile advertising
Mobile advertising will become the centrepiece of multimedia campaigns targeted to markets in Africa.

The growth of internet traffic across the continent is set to continue unabated in 2013 – and most of it will be accessed on mobile devices. Our recent AdReaction study also showed that mobile marketing favourability is higher in Africa than anywhere else.

The mix of basic phones and smartphones makes the implementation of campaigns challenging. Brands should begin with text-based search ads, SMS advertising and mobi-optimised sites. In time this will give way to screen takeovers, location-based advertising, apps and augmented reality.

8. Industry players will collaborate to provide actionable in-campaign insight
For agencies in the business of maximising the return on their clients’ paid online ad spend, 2013 promises to be a year of exciting collaboration.

Advertisers want insight into the brand impact of their online activity alongside click data, and in 2012 we saw the introduction of real-time branding optimisation, allowing advertisers to tweak live campaigns. In 2013, this real-time planning and reallocation will go mainstream.

Research and media agencies will need to integrate behavioural and attitudinal data for optimisations that provide maximum brand impact and cost-efficient clicks, while creative agencies must respond more quickly to these insights by reworking creative on the fly.

9. Online display formats will be laser-focused on achieving objectives
We will see even more innovative and strategic online planning in 2013, as advertisers strive for a deeper understanding of how different online formats impact brand building in different ways.

Some general rules are emerging (e.g. wallpaper ads drive awareness better than preference), but media planners will also need to consider and test for macro factors such as industry and brand status and micro factors such as creative strength, website context and frequency effects.

10. Brands will harness the full power of in-app ads to engage mobile consumers
In 2013, in-app advertising will make far greater use of rich media to draw consumers into highly engaging brand experiences. Brands will also adapt mobile advertising to immediately meet audiences’ needs – for example, a hotel brand can offer a click-to-reserve option directly from the ad.

Our recent AdReaction study showed that mobile users are looking for brands that offer something in exchange for their attention, and so we also expect a surge in rewards-based mobile advertising activity (e.g. sponsored in-game currency).

For the full version of these predictions, go to:

This article first appeared on Contagious magazine

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