Being the ripe old age of 23, I can’t help but to think about all of the innovations that led to this point in time. I remember my family getting our first cordless phone and our first desktop computer, which led to getting a second phone line because of dial-up Internet. I remember creating my first AIM screen name, getting a car phone, getting a pager, getting a cell phone and getting a laptop. Now the Internet is in the palm of our hands, TV and movies are on demand, thousands of songs can fit in our pockets, and entire cities are wireless. The year 2012 brought 3D tablets, speech recognition software (Siri), the iPhone 5, the iPad Mini, and I think you get where I am going with this — what will 2013 bring?
As we begin to plan for our clients in 2013, it seems essential to know what the trends will be. From what I have seen so far, 2013 is going to be the year of engagement, i.e., engagement between brands and their audiences.
Amazon.com is launching a new platform in 2013 called Amazon Pages (real creative name, Amazon) that will integrate a brand’s Amazon page and Facebook page. The top of an Amazon page features a large image, similar to a Timeline image on a Facebook profile. Underneath this “timeline” are posts that can only be created by the brands themselves. These posts can be images, products, links to other retailers, coupons or anything else the brand would like to promote. Although the posts cannot be over 140 characters, an Amazon Page Post cannot be linked to a brand’s Twitter feed, but a post can be linked to their Facebook page.
This may or may not be an avenue for Facebook to dip their feet into e-commerce, as it is still up in the air whether or not an Amazon Page Post that is synced to Facebook will have an “Add to Cart” button. This initiative comes back to the theme of 2013: engagement. Brands are not just engaging with their audiences on Amazon, they are doing it on Facebook too. This integration will allow a brand’s audience to share their purchases in their news feed or share a post with a friend, prompting their friends and friends of their friends to check out a brand’s Amazon page.
Video chatting is something that is personal, which most brands haven’t even considered as a way to advertise. Because, in reality, how is a brand going to engage with someone in their audience while that person is trying to video chat with a friend? Skype has thought of a way. In 2013, Skype will be turning display ads into interactive, engaging apps. This is an opportunity that every brand dreams about — a platform that is designed for people to have conversations centered around a brand. The GM of advertising for Skype explains,
“An auto brand could develop a car configuration tool for the Skype platform that users would be able to play with during a call with a friend. The user could customize a car, compare their version with their friend’s version, talk it over, [and] then schedule a test drive.” *
In 2013, Skype is also launching Skype-branded hubs that can host games, news or special events, which can be shared among users. In 2012, Skype was solely used as a communication tool; in 2013, Skype will allow users to engage with a brand by sharing content in their hub and while video chatting with friends.
Media Landscape in 2013
So what does this mean for media in 2013? This means that the days of running banner ads across a network will be left in 2012. In order to have a successful campaign, our 2013 media plans have to include engaging units far beyond eye-catching creative on a site that our target audience frequents. Amazon pages and the new Skype platform are just a couple examples of what’s to come in 2013. If we can strategically place our media and use platforms that allow our clients to engage with their audiences in new and exciting ways, 2013 will be a year to remember.
*Peterson, T. (2012, November 15). Skype to expand its native ad platform in 2013, display ads turn into interactive apps, AdWeek. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/skype-expand-its-native-ad-platform-2013-145197