Social Fresh 2013 Social Media Predictions: 4/10
The ROI of social media has been a hot button issue since social platforms first became a viable channel for engaging with and reaching consumers.
Until recently, social ROI has been defined subjectively rather than objectively—ultimately losing substance when held against driving the bottom line.
In 2013, we will see this definition become more standardized, and social will begin to cannibalize the marketing budgets of newspaper, direct mail, spot TV and even search and digital display.
The reason for this shift? Facebook, the behemoth of social networks, has finally reached maturity. For the first time, the platform has truly evolved into a true conversion and monetization channel due largely to the following points.
Ecommerce brands have always had a straightforward way of measuring ROI for any of Facebook’s online platforms, by simply measuring traffic driven to site. Meanwhile, for retail-centric brands, ROI has always been harder to track, as consumers can be exposed to a brand through a multitude of channels before they are finally driven in-store.
True attribution has been a key area of focus for Facebook in 2012 and will continue to be of high importance next year. One of the main partnerships helping to bring Facebook monetization to age is the network’s relationship with Datalogix. Datalogix and Facebook have been able to take credit card data at the store level and pair that back with paid exposure on Facebook. Initial results from 45 campaigns saw a 70% increase in sales at a 3x investment level (for every $1 spent, retailers saw a $3 return).
As for brand awareness attribution, Facebook recently introduced native polling ads, which they are giving to marketers as added value to paid campaigns. These polling ads show the effect that Facebook paid units have earlier in the marketing funnel than engagement or retention—Facebook can truly be impactful in lifting overall consumer brand awareness. The new high impact units of newsfeed and mobile newsfeed only help further these brand lift opportunities.
2. Precision Targeting
In order to make campaigns more cost-effective, Facebook is increasing its targeting capabilities to ensure the impact of every impression served. Facebook Audiences is one key area in which marketers can rely on their other CRM marketing lists to power impressions on Facebook. By pairing existing CRM databases with Facebook accounts, marketers can be sniper focused in whom they are serving both fan acquisition ads and conversion centric units. One use case would be a local auto dealership that has 200,000 email addresses of people who’ve bought cars—now that dealership can target these same people with a tune-up offer.
Additionally, Facebook Exchange (FBX) brings a big retargeting and further integrates paid social placements with digital ad displays and search to create a holistic online media strategy. With FBX, consumers who visit a website but then leave without a conversion can now be retargeted within Facebook, and driven back to site.
3. Facebook Offers
Facebook Offers is another product that will be instrumental in driving monetization in 2013. Now that offers can accommodate both ecommerce and in-store, brands will be able to see direct sales data associated with specific deals. Brands have already seen huge returns from Facebook Offers—the Bubble necklace offer, for example, that was claimed over 187,000 times over a short period.
Considering Zuckerberg’s newly minted “mobile first” mentality, expect the Facebook mobile experience, and in turn the mobile marketing opportunities, to take huge strides in 2013. Facebook mobile ads are already driving high click through rates and high awareness lifts in their current form, which is relatively basic compared to the possibilities.
The biggest hurdle plaguing mobile advertising today is the ineffectiveness of banner units in hyper-targeting on geo-location—the true differentiator of a mobile experience versus a desktop. Facebook will overcome these obstacles by offering new, more sophisticated units that are native to Facebook’s system.
5. Local and Real Time
Facebook has had an increased focus on local and small businesses for the past year, and with 75,000 new small business owners using paid advertising on Facebook in Q3 alone, this number will only grow in the next year. With a simplified self-serve ad interface and the ability to target in real time, Facebook is primed for a big local push in 2013.
In addition, with a focus on serving up relevant recommendations to the right people at the right time, Facebook is already evolving into a channel that can drive both WOM and traffic on a local scale. Think about the ability for a small hair salon to hit people typing, “Does anyone have a good hair salon?” with a recommendation from their friends. The opportunities and implications for small businesses are huge.