What to Expect from Social Media Advertising in 2013
Social media advertising has really taken off in 2012, but what does the future hold? Here's what I'm expecting to see in 2013.
Having had its IPO earlier this year, Facebook's attention in 2012 has been firmly on how to make money from the huge amount of data it holds about its one billion members. It's not exactly going out on a limb to suggest this will be their main concern going into 2013 too. However, I think there will be some significant changes to how it's done.
New in-feed adverts Facebook has introduced this year have annoyed some users, but on the campaigns we've run at the HPS Group, they have delivered fantastic ROI. Whereas Facebook adverts have typically seen click through rates of between 0.02 and 0.08%, we're now seeing CTRs as high as 3-6% with page post adverts - a huge increase. Facebook will no doubt look to make more of these ads, so I wouldn't be surprised to see changes to the news feed layout so they can do this in a way that makes the ads prominent in a way that doesn't aggravate users too much.
I think the ads themselves will become better too, with targeting becoming even more refined and focused. I look forward to seeing the impact of the Facebook advertising network away from Facebook, as the Facebook Exchange starts to spread and provides Facebook with even more information on its users' web habits.
It's not just Facebook that will be looking to make more from brands though. Twitter looks set to launch its own self-serve ad platform in 2013, giving the opportunity for thousands of small businesses to get in on the act with promoted tweets and promoted accounts (I'd suspect that sponsored hashtags will be out of reach for most still). Interesting to see how this works though. With relatively few adverts on Twitter at the moment, they aren't too intrusive. But opening that up to everyone? They'll need to make sure users don't get flooded with promoted tweets from accounts they're not following in their feeds.
LinkedIn has made big changes in the last few months relatively quietly, but I think they're preparing for a major (and much-needed) overhaul of their offering for brands. Company pages have had fairly big changes this year, with status updates and products now having significantly greater presence than before. I think LinkedIn adverts have the potential to be a brilliant tool, but at the moment fall short. Based on the huge survey they sent out recently about their advertising platform, I'll assume I'm not the only one. Hopefully they can get it right.
And what about Pinterest? Having burst onto the scene in a big way in early 2012, it's already been a massive hit with retail brands. But Pinterest aren't making money from those brands.... yet. They might want to build into more of a mainstream network first, but they have already started making changes to benefit brands recently. They've launched business profiles and added the option for a private board - very useful for a campaign you're not ready to share yet or for internal use. Considering those additions, I'd suspect ads or another revenue stream won't be too far away.
What do you expect to happen with social advertising in 2013? Do you agree with these? Let us know in the comments below or tweet @thehpsgroup.
This post originated on the HPS Group blog.
Follow Graham Day on Twitter