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The turning of the New Year is a good time to look ahead. As we start into 2013, we are excited about the shifts in the digital advertising industry. Banners and buttons are turning into more native experiences. Marketers are creating content that people want to interact with, leading to brand building. Buying and selling is possible with less friction, and more efficiency.
All this and more is setting the stage for our industry to grow. One indicator: last month ZenithOptimedia predicted that global online ad spending will reach $101.5 billion this year to overtake newspaper expenditures. Here are a few major trends that I’m hearing from customers and seeing build across the online advertising landscape in 2013, which will shape how and where that spend and growth takes place.
Opportunities Across Devices
We live in a devices and services world, where experiences are connected across screens and online engagement happens anywhere and at all times. This is empowering a new generation of consumers who are active critics, fact-finders, content creators, buzz-marketers and user-innovators. They demand highly personalized, socially relevant experiences. Time and place are no longer constraints when it comes to engaging with media, discovering and researching brands and making purchases. This year we will see the promise of integrated devices and services offer marketers more opportunities than ever to advertise across screens. The challenge is up to us to step up and to adapt and innovate in this ever-changing marketplace.
Microsoft stands out with Windows 8 across tablets, PCs and phones. We’ve embarked upon a new era for the company where devices come with core experiences and services built in – like consistent user experiences across devices, a rich combination of premium first- and third-party content and services. Coupled with the strong consumer focus and very, very large market footprint deployed worldwide, the opportunities for marketers are enormous. The more than 25 brands around the world that initially signed on for Windows 8 Ads in Apps campaignslast November is just the start.
With consistent user experiences across devices and our own native Microsoft advertising experiences, we are working to transform advertising into something that is more personal, immersive and more valuable to consumers. A recent study in the US found that 72 percent of consumers will share data in exchange for “fair value” – defined as rewards and monetary benefits, better service, and transparency and control in data usage (OgilvyOne Worldwide in partnership with MarketTools, August 2012).We believe that creating a value exchange between consumers and marketers is the key to a new era of more relevant, engaging, and successful advertising in the year to come.
Social Becomes Interactive
For the most part, “social” in the digital world has been equated with Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare or other types of “check in” sites where people typically just post and wait for reaction. I’m not sure I buy that one-dimensional, passive experience as “social” when there is the potential for more actual conversations, where people interact with each other in real time. The boundaries that prevented us from communicating online instantaneously and even “face to face” are slipping away as technology advances and devices become more location-aware, which is redefining social as more interactive.
We’ve allowed for passive posts and review later and not something that’s real time, actual interactions with people.
When I talk about social with customers, I point to the real-time interactions possible on Skype and Xbox. How people can carry on real-live conversations with their most intimate circle of friends and family on Skype. There is nothing passive about the social interactions through Skype conversations – from talking to your mom about planning a family vacation, getting advice on clothes or a new car from your best friend, or deciding where to go to dinner with your spouse. Or how people can play with friends all around the world on Xbox LIVE and with Kinect, as well as directly interact with those in their living room through everything from dance-offs to play-offs.
Social is a big concept that we need to think of more broadly and help redefine in the marketing and brand building community. I see 2013 as the year when brands will find ways to help people connect and share online, and actually join into conversations and interactions with consumers. Why? To gain trust, to build relationships, to get back to loyalty.
Programmatic in the Mix
In the next five years, television advertising will be eclipsed by online ads. Television still receives the lion’s share of total spending at 38%, or nearly $64 billion, but money from traditional media, most notably newspapers and magazines, is moving to digital. Forrester is convinced programmatic buying methods will account for a majority of display transactions within five years. That means less friction, and real efficiency gains for marketers and agencies looking for audience-centric buying. We believe buying methods will consolidate with programmatic playing a large role, but there will continue to be a strong role for sellers who service “custom buyers” looking for nonstandard, rich, immersive brand experiences.
The Microsoft Advertising Exchange is currently available in the United States, Canada, most of Europe, Australia and New Zealand. We support programmatic selling but also believe in the value of custom sales strategies and will be investing in both.
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As we kick off 2013, I want to challenge us to think outside today’s norms and to find new experiences and ways of reaching consumers that are far more reflective of the potential that today’s platforms have to offer. If you have other trends that you see taking shape in 2013 that you want to share, please feel free to comment or send via Twitter to #MSApredictions.
Hope that everyone has a prosperous and happy 2013!
ThanksFrank Holland, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Advertising & Online
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