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Nuke Suite Whitepaper: Key Trends in Social Ads

This whitepaper outlines the trends and ideas that are shaping Social Advertising. Across Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, and many, many more social networks, social media advertising is becoming a high-stakes game. This whitepaper goes over what brands need to know to play their best.

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Nuke Suite Whitepaper: Key Trends in Social Ads

  2. 2. From Myspace’s blinking banner ads, social media advertisments have come a long way. Since its emergence as a field over a decade ago, social media advertising has gone through a number of upheavals. A few things stayed constant: the field has continued to grow, and it has remained secondary to other forms of advertisement for most companies. Social advertising has continued to grow in recent months. But there has also been a shift: social ads are becoming more and more primary, integral parts of brands’ advertising strategies. Brands like Procter and Gamble, who are spending 35% of their advertising budget on social media, are realizing that social channels like Facebook, with its 1.3 billion monthly active users, are some of the most cost-effective places to reach existing and potential clients. "Social feeds are becoming the primary way of experiencing content for a bigger and bigger swath of users." Where is social advertising now, and where is it going? 5 key trends in social advertising
  3. 3. What’s driving this shift, and why now? For a number of reasons, the biggest being the huge growth of mobile, social feeds are no longer just one part of how we interact and spend time online. They are becoming the primary way of experiencing content for a bigger and bigger swath of users. On average, Americans spent 2 hours and 20 minutes on their mobile phones (excluding voice calls), and it’s predicted that will increase to 2 hours 50 minutes this year. And how do mobile users spend most of their time? On social networks, with 1/3 of all time on mobile devoted to them. This means more and more time on social feeds, and an increasingly important place for social ads. Publishers, like newspapers and magazines, have already felt this change strongly, and are adjusting their strategies accordingly. Advertisers are finally beginning to adjust their ad spends to reflect this new reality. The social advertising spend in 2013 was $4.44 billion, a 44% increase over 2013. It is predicted that this number will grow to $7.3 billion by 2016. Here we take a look at the current state of the social advertising space and the key trends determining the direction it will go in the years to come. 5 key trends in social advertising 2012-2015 (in millions) U.S social media ad spending 2012 $3,103 2013 $4,436 2014 $5,817.6 2015 $7,302 +25.5% +31.1% +42.9% +30.1%
  4. 4. Social ads are now essential Beginning with the most evident, social ads are now completely unavoidable for the majo- rity of brands. Factors already touched on are driving this change – key role played by social feeds, and the amount of time spent on social. But Facebook may have given the social ads their final push into a central role in brand strategies. At the end of 2013 Facebook made major updates to the algorithm used to determine who sees posts by brand pages. The updates have significantly decreased the reach (the total number of people who see updates) from brand pages in their newsfeed for most brands on Facebook. Brands once relied on a rather convenient setup on Facebook, wherein they posted content to their page, which was surfaced in the newsfeeds of a large number of their fans, for free. This old model—where brand posts were seen by a majority or a very large number of their fans—no longer exists. Many brands essentially used Facebook pages as free ways to engage with their fans. Since Facebook’s changes, this is no longer an option. When brands create content for their Facebook pages, they will need to pay if they want it to be seen by a truly large audience. This means that social content needs to be created to a higher standard—there is no reason to put money behind content that won’t get users to engage. 01 5 key trends in social advertising As social content becomes essentially a type of social ad, other new types of social ads are cropping up. This is a natural progression as social advertising begins to mature. New ad types crop up frequently on the major networks. After a long period of experimen- tation, the major social networks are beginning to figure out what types of ads draw the most engagement from their audiences. Social ads are becoming more diversified02
  5. 5. 5 key trends in social advertising Some key ad types, new or tested, are driving significant growth in social ad spending: Facebook’s autoplay video ads have only been released to a handful of prominent adverti- sers in the US. They are beginning to roll out in seven countries outside of the US now, and should be open to a somewhat wider swath of advertisers soon. App install ads – these ads are now becoming a huge part of social ad offers. They have been a staple on Facebook for some time, and are currently being rolled out on Twitter. They play a much-needed role for any advertiser with a mobile app, and will likely continue to grow in prominence as apps become indispensable to the online experience. Social context ads: Facebook recently axed sponsored stories, their original ad format that included what were essentially endorsements from your Facebook friends. But they will continue to include social context in multiple different ad formats across the network. Google+ has also introduced their own ad product that includes social context. Facebook reports that ads with social context have a 60% higher recall rate than those without. As these ad types are becoming more specialized, it requires more and more expertise to know what will be effective for your brand. Planning a social ad campaign now requires a more thorough understanding of goals and the appropriate ad type, across multiple networks for accomplishing them. As new types of social media advertisements proliferate, they are becoming more and more specific to different points on the social marketing cycle. Generally, the social marketing cycle follows the same contours as the real-world one. Potential clients move from ignorance, to awareness, to interest, then if you are lucky, to desire and action. New ad formats are emerging that are better suited to reaching users specifically at different points of this cycle. These new ad types are better adapted to the Social Ad Cycle 03
  6. 6. 5 key trends in social advertising If once, social ads were less prevalent in the early stages of this cycle (freely distributed social content, most prominently on Facebook, accomplished brand goals here well for the most part), they now have to play all these roles. Ad formats are becoming more adapted to accomplish these specific goals. This requires a thorough understanding of who your social audience is on every step of the spectrum, in order to target them, create ads that will get responses, and move people to the next step of the cycle. Determining goals for paid social media campaigns can help social media marketers choose social ad formats that will be more effective in accomplishing those goals. It will additionally improve brand’s ability to track campaign results and determine overall success. The introduction and subsequent near-takeover of native advertisements has not been isolated to social media. But it’s perhaps where this surge has been most strongly felt. What are native advertisements? Advertisements that mimic the format of the unpaid (usually user-generated, as in the case of ads seen on Facebook, or editorial—a native ad on the Huffington Post would look like editorial content) The click through rates on Native ads on Facebook are dizzingly higher than those for the more display-type ads on the right hand side of the page. Studies are showing click-though rates of 2-3% for newsfeed ads, typically higher for mobile. This CTR is 40 times or more higher than an average CTR for right hand side ads on Facebook (0.05% CTR). Native ads are becoming the standard04 "Look for native ads on social to become both more prevalent and more expensive."
  7. 7. 5 key trends in social advertising Internet users have adapted their habits to a new world, with fast, powerful smartphones, and better connections. Linkedin is now the only major social network whose users spend more time on it on desktop in the USA. 68% of the time spent on Facebook in the US is on mobile; that number is 86% for Twitter. And ad revenue is catching up to user time spent. Social ads are now mobile-first05 And the new social networks introducing adverting options for the first time are often starting with native (in the case of mobile-only apps, they may end there as well). Brands have gotten used to native ads for their social media content that focuses on enga- gement and recruitment. As it becomes more apparent that native ad types are driving more engagement, brands will feel the need to create effective native ads for a wider array of goals. Look for these ad types to become both more prevalent and more expensive —they have a much higher click through rate, but social networks don’t want to overwhelm their users with them, fearing that too many would decrease the quality of user experience and ultimately drive them away. Facebook is showing a higher click rate for mobile ads in their newsfeed, which is promi- sing, but brands still have a lot of work to do to create consistently compelling content here. of the time spent on Facebook in the US is on mobile." 68%"
  8. 8. Advertisers have only recently begun to craft ads that are adapted to mobile. Many still have work to do on a number of fronts. First, in terms of creative, social ads for mobile need to be able to do everything that standard social ads do: draw attention, and attract engagement in terms of clicks, but also shares comments and likes where applicable. Accomplishing this on mobile is perhaps more difficult: creative needs to accomplish more, to be clear, attractive and legible, in a smaller space and with fewer words. 5 key trends in social advertising % of time spent on social networks in the United States, by platform Desktop Mobile How Mobile Are Social Networks? 98% 92% 86% 68% 46% 26% 49% of Facebook’s ad revenue came from mobile in Q3 2013. This figure will be over 50% in 2014. For Twitter, over 75% of ad revenue came from mobile in Q4 of 2013. Brands will have no choice but to operate on a mobile-first model in their social adverti- sements. The implications of this change will be significant for all the advertisers in the social space.
  9. 9. 5 key trends in social advertising To learn more about Nuke get in touch with us at: As social continues to evolve, new networks, new ad formats, and new contexts will emerge. Social advertising is a powerful for marketers who know how to use it well. It will play a larger and larger part in user experience on social and in brand social media strategies. Intelligent advertisers and their partners will be ready to adapt to these changes as they come. Nuke Suite can help your brand to craft and manage a truly effective social adverti- sing strategy. For more information, get in touch with us at +33 (0)1 40 26 23 07 or at The Social ad field will continue to grow and change Nuke Suite is an integrated social marketing platform used some of the world’s top brands. Nuke Suite’s comprehensive marketing toolsets empower brands on and beyond social, improving enterprise-level collaboration, increasing engagement and growing fan communities across all social channels, managing paid social media campaigns, and boosting the overall impact and ROI of social marketing operations.