There is nothing constant about the digital landscape, and this year, like all the previous ones, saw some interesting changes in the digital advertising sector such as Twitter's objective-based (CPA) campaigns, the introduction of ads on Instagram and, of course the re-launch of Atlas, after being acquired by Facebook.
With 2015 coming to a start, we marketers are all busy planning and strategising for the year ahead, so we've put together a list of trends that we think are going to have great impact in the social advertising industry.
1. Social shopping in THE year for ecommerce
There is great news for ecommerce businesses: 2015 is going to be all about you! Earlier this year we heard that both Facebook and Twitter were testing out ‘Buy’ call to actions for their ads, and very recently Facebook launched a new ad product – the multi-product ad – and improved Website Custom Audiences, aimed specifically at ecommerce.
Multi-product ads are a type of ad that allows advertisers to showcase three products, or three different images of the same product, within a single ad unit. Each image has its own description and link, so you get more real estate and can drive traffic to multiple pages on your website using only one advert.
These changes mean that it’s going to be increasingly easier for online sellers to find an audience, and they would be able to sell directly from Facebook or Twitter, without requiring an online store elsewhere. If these social shopping experiments are successful, this could be huge!
What you can do:
- Early bird gets the worm, so experiment with the new features and ad types as much as you can!
Pro tip: Why don't you read our complete guide to Facebook Multi Product ads?
2. The rise of video content
A quick look down your Facebook news feed during 2014 will have shown you how video has massively grown to become one of the most viewed and shared forms of content (ice bucket challenge anyone?) – Adobe did a study earlier this year and found a 43% increase. With Facebook, Twitter and Instagram launching video ads this year, we think the use of video in social advertising will be quite widespread in 2015.
We haven’t tried video ads yet here at Driftrock, but speaking to other Facebook advertisers who have, we heard really good feedback. Most advertisers agreed that Facebook video views were cheaper than other video platforms they’d used, and some brands even managed to get the price per view down to £0.02-£0.03, which is quite amazing!
What you can do:
- Create engaging videos that speak to your audience. With such detailed targeting options provided by some social ad platforms, you can be really creative and send a strong, relevant message to your granular targeted audience. Don’t forget to track your ads' performance closely and see how people are engaging with your videos.
Pro tip: Video ads are likely to get lower clickthrough rates than regular post ads so if you want to run video ads, following up with a post ad with a good call to action will get you better results.
3. Bridging the gap between offline and online
2015 will see an even bigger focus on SOLOMO (Social – Local – Mobile). It’s no news that mobile is rapidly growing as the preferred form of access to most digital content including, of course, social media.
With Twitter’s ZIP code targeting and Facebook’s new local awareness ads, as well as Facebook's amazing Custom Audiences, it has never been easier for brick and mortar businesses to use online channels to drive footfall in offline stores and acquire customers.
What you can do:
Obvious one: align your online and your offline marketing.
Reach people where it matters: create mobile versions of your Facebook ads, and start using local awareness ads where available.
4. Diversification of social advertising spend and importance of shareability
Social ad spends has traditionally been focused mostly on Facebook and Twitter, but 2015 is the year that Instagram and Pinterest advertising is going to be more widely available. Also, some big brands are spending money on platforms like Tumblr, and if these new channels prove to be profitable, we may be looking at a significant shift in social ad spend.
A consequence of this is that, since these new channels are quite heavy on shareable visual content, brands will have to tone down the overtly promotional posts (something that Facebook is already trying to do) and focus on creating meaningful storytelling for native advertising.
What you can do
- Do a little research to understand where you audience hangs out, and if it makes sense to try out these new social ad channels
- Incorporate more powerful imagery and storytelling, where relevant, into your Facebook and Twitter ads.
5. Atlas and Facebook’s Audience network shaking up the digital advertising world
The last, but potentially most important one: 2014 saw Facebook launching their Audience Network and re-launching Atlas. In case you didn’t know, the Audience Network allows Facebook advertisers to extend our reach beyond just Facebook, enabling us to display ads in third-party apps as well (still using Facebook’s rich targeting). Atlas, on the other hand, is an ad serving and measurement company Facebook bought earlier, which will extend that reach beyond apps to websites, as well as focusing on cross-device tracking and measurement.
What this means is that we will be able to move from cookie-based advertising to an integrated, cross-platform and cross-device, real people-based approach. With an increasing proportion of people using mobile, this allows advertisers to identify, track and target an audience that hops between devices, platforms and publishers throughout the day, providing relevant messaging at each stage. It is basically every advertiser’s dream, and advertisers are likely to discover that channels that were previously thought to be quite profitable will stop delivering as much, and marketers will have to adjust where the spend goes.
How about you, what do you think? How do you see social/digital ads evolving in 2015?