Emily Tan
Dec 17, 2012

Digital and media predictions for 2013: Millward Brown

GLOBAL - Research agency Millward Brown's annual digital and media predictions by its global futures group highlights trends such as the mobile as remote, omnichannel marketing and social TV.

Millward Brown: brands will seek social listening grounded in reliable research
Millward Brown: brands will seek social listening grounded in reliable research

Facebook's monetisation drive leads to bigger more intrusive advertising
It was only a matter of time, said Millward Brown's Martin Ash, before Facebook sought to monetise and justify its massive valuation. "Facebook will morph from a relatively private social space to a business entity driven by the bottom line", he said.

As a result, Facebook's newsfeeds by the end of next year will likely be studded by bigger, bolder, more interactive, and intrusive advertising. 
"Some users will tolerate prominent advertising in return for free access to their friends and social connections, but others may balk at increased commercialisation. Seeing their personal data sold for targeted advertising may cause resentment, unless brands deliver engaging content that is appropriate for this personal space," cautioned the report. 
Social media listening evolves from monitoring to insight
Most social listening platforms scrape every piece of social data they can find, but Millward Brown reported that its tests have shown that across over 30 million conversations, only 40 per cent of the total volume of brand conversations may consist of actual mentions of the brand by humans. Meaning about 60 per cent of brand conversations may be generated by spambots. 
"As brands give more weight to social data in making business decisions, they will also demand greater transparency in the collection of data and greater quality in the insights," said Millward Brown's Anne Czernek, a senior research analyst. 
Marketers will want to understand the long-term implications of a crisis,not just to hear of it, and the underlying factors driving tha toutcome, said Czernek. "To find true insight in social data, brands will require a new iteration of social listening that is less focused on fast feedback, and more on reliable research."
Mobile remotes make it a central pillar of smart communication plans
Identifying a trend that's been on several trend lists including JWT's and frog's, Millward Brown predicted that anything that needs a processor to operate will be able to tap into our smartphoens as its brain and that brands need to learn to tap into this. 
"Marketers must learn to interact with consumers via these 'mobile remotes.' Content and advertising must stem from mobile but become adaptable to multiple screens and scenarios," said Drew Myers, Millward Brown. "The information that will be available on our 'mobile remotes' facilitates greater possibilities for advanced targeting and for interactive creative executions."
Paywalls rise
Next year will see an increase in the amount of content shifting away from ad-supported business models to pay-per-view or subscription-based models, said the report. Sustaining high quality content requires that publishers use soem form of subscription-based access to ensure hte deliveyr of specialised and exclusive content. 
For brands and marketers, this means more fragmentation, less advertising space, but greater audience targeting. 
"Brands will need to decide if the 'premium context' is worth the price of the premium CPM," said Millward Brown's Mark Henning. "There may be an opportunity for fast-moving brands to subsidise content to keep parts of it free."
Omnichannel marketing
Omnichannel marketing is about being present or available across the consumer’s behavioral path: each potential contact point integrated with all others. The concept started in the retail sector where this behavioral path is easily tracked across online, offline and mobile touchpoints, said the report.
The digital arena will represent the first stage of more brands adopting an omnichannel mindset, as social and mobile data sources are blended with offline brand experiences, Rob Valsler in the report.
"Customer data will be key to these efforts as big data moves from a passive pool of potential insights, into an active mechanism for deepening the meaning behind each individual interaction."
The key is not to bombard customers with marketing noise but to integrate previous interactions to ensure greater relevance when attention is being paid to the brand's message. 
Another way of looking at this, is guarding UX (user experience) with the brand. 
Social TV grows up
Rather than eroding TV viewing, social networks are fueling TV. Increasingly, the assumption that a laptop, and a tablet or mobile are the 'second' and 'third' screens will dissipate, said the report. Marketers however have to move beyond simply broadacsting a hashtag and flagging a few tweets on the television screen. "Telling stories through multiple screens (and elsewhere) will begin to supplant the notion of broadcasting something on the first screen, and people reacting and responding to it on disconnected supplementary screens," wrote Millward's Andrew Jerina in the report. 
Brands that fail to "join the dots" between screens will fail to capitalised on a more engaged audience and those that interrupt or disrupt the story by muscling in without subtlety will antagonise those they most want to impress.
Greater collaboration needed to make the most of real-time optimisation
In 2013, real-time planning and reallocation will go mainstream, moving from a 'nice to have' to an essential feature of digital campaign delivery and evaluation, said the report. 
To achieve success consistently, industry players will need to learn to collaborate and not just co-exist. "Research and media agencies will be required to work more closely than ever before, integrating behavioral and attitudinal data to deliver optimizations that maximize brand impact while also delivering cost efficient clicks," said Millward Brown's Guy Turton. "Creative agencies will be required to respond more quickly to these insights by reworking inefficient creative on the fly."
More meaningful mobile engagement via app and actions
Millward Brown's recent AdReaction study showed that smartphone and tablet users are looking for brands that engage rather than intrude via their mobile device, and offer something in exchange for their attention.
While some brands will reward via simple in-app discounts and coupons, branded content may offer even more brand building potential such as a beverage brand sponsoring bonus points when players achieve something in a popular mobile game. 
"Even more innovatively, brands will seek to design this engagement to communicate specific messages as we saw in Honda’s recent collaboration with Zynga’s Words With Friends where players were rewarded for using Honda-related words," said the research firm's Jenn Okula. "Such approaches should be able to increase brand awareness, favorability and perceptions, and are therefore likely to be adopted more widely."
Campaign Asia

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