Here’s another prediction for Online Advertising in 2013, this time by Eric Wheeler, the CEO and cofounder of 33Across.
1. Companies will begin to leverage “dark social” to drive sales. Today, there is widespread confusion regarding social media’s impact on online sales. IBM, for one, recently stated that less than one percent of Black Friday e-commerce sales were driven by traffic from social. Part of the problem is that IBM–and frankly most of us–define “social” only in terms of Facebook and Twitter. In reality, some sites get 30% of their traffic from email and IM, which is usually mis-categorized as “direct navigation.” This powerful form of word-of-mouth marketing–what might be more accurately defined as “dark social”–remains a major blind spot for publishers, brands, and commerce companies, inhibiting their ability to measure a key driver of sales. In the coming year, brands will become far more equipped at detecting and accounting for this viral feedback loop: link sharing, site traffic, and ultimately, purchase.
2. Brands will get serious about social. While every major brand is embracing social advertising, 2013 will be the year in which marketers will gain a significantly more in-depth and sophisticated understanding of how their customers communicate with each other online. For instance, brands will begin working harder to understand the types of channels and devices through which consumers are sharing information, and when and how these cumulatively effect sales. Given that mobile is expected to grow significantly in 2013, this laser focus on unlocking the social/mobile combination will separate those brands that succeed from failures.
3. The multi-channel advertiser will prevail. The explosion in the number of consumers engaging with brands on mobile and tablets will force advertisers to become significantly more “mobile aware.” The success of advertisers will no longer be only predicated on creating the right ad and targeting the best audience. Rather, advertisers will need to think more strategically about usage patterns and multiscreen activity. For instance, advertisers will need to closely examine how users increasingly navigate and consume branded content on smartphones and tablets, versus the desktop.
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