Paid social predictions 2023
January 4, 2023

Paid social predictions 2023

2022 has been a real whirlwind for Social - Paid Media hasn’t escaped either, with the rise of TikTok ads, Twitter chaos under reign of Elon, consumer privacy concerns and the return of first party data.

Amongst all this chaos and in a volatile market, it seems difficult to predict the big platforms’ next moves. 

We’re here to save you the hard work of hunting through mountains of articles before the end of the year. Here are some practical and viable predictions, based on the changes and trends we’ve cultivated. These 5 key points will affect your campaigns next year:   

  1. The rise of automation in ads

Across Meta this year we’ve seen a number of changes, including limiting the amount of targeting options you have access to ad set level, which steers you towards a less hyper-targeting approach and pushing brands to broader targeting. Even at ad level, Meta introduced ‘Dynamic Creative Options” which makes it easier for you to find your winning ad combination of video, headlines, copy, call to actions and other ad components. We even have tools like ChatGPT that can generate copy.

This eliminates the need for manual ad buying methods as well (remember surfing and shotgun?) Platforms are giving you a ‘media buying by numbers’ approach to simplify the process. These algorithms are designed to find your audience for you and help you win bids, thus improving your ad performance.

If you’re a media buyer, what can you do to improve success in an automated world?

  • Follow the rules. Don’t try and hack your way into better ads. Follow the best practice guidelines like Meta’s ‘power 5’. You will be rewarded for following the platform’s guidance.
  • Simplify your campaign structure. Stop adding too many overlapping ad sets into your campaign for multiple audiences and try going broad! 
  • Creative is one thing you have control over, so make sure it’s correct! Make sure you have the right content for your ad - we will explain in more detail later.
  1. The rise of the vertical video  

TikTok has shifted from its viral dance video legacy as Musical.ly to become a media buyer’s dream. The platform introduced multiple ad formats, includes shopping and is the perfect place for authentic, native ads (with creators at their heart). These don’t need to be perfectly curated and polished ads. The platform is not just for Gen Z either. There is a huge opportunity to showcase your brand to broad audiences. TikTok has a very active older demographic, and it continues to grow dramatically. The potential to scale is huge. Finally, live eCommerce is coming. Bear in mind that the Chinese live-stream commerce sector brought in over $300 billion in 2021 so there is potential in live-stream selling/

It’s obvious that video content is going to dominate the ad space in the future, so there two key takeaway points:

  • Looking at budget splits, where is your budget allocated? Have you got enough focus on video-first platforms? Do you need to change the weighting to these channels? Do you need to test any new placements like Reels or Stories?
  • When focusing on your internal metrics, make sure you’re including metrics tailored to video, such as thumb stop ratio, view through rate and completion rate to assess the quality of your creative.
  1. Influencer and UGC is king and will continue to dominate 

For the majority of brands, whitelisting and creator ads are crucial to the success of their strategy. Over 90% of users have more trust in UGC than traditional ads, and 61% of consumers trust influencer recommendations. In 2023, continue to build long term partnerships with creators to authentically sell your products and services. UGC acts as social proof - showing content from real customers increases your credibility and brings your brand's promises into perspective. However, when it comes to creators, select talent carefully and ensure content includes a key Call to Action. Both Influencer Marketing and UGC have one thing in common - they require authenticity to shine through to work well.  

  1. The power of first party data in a cookieless world

Marketers are still mourning the delayed (yet inevitable) loss of cookies - set to be rolled out in 2024. We’ve already seen various rollouts, such as iOS 14.5 losing valuable data across Apple users, leading to gaps in the user journey that has ultimately cost more than $18bn in revenue lost this year between multiple social channels. 

Cookies are used to track website and app visitors on their journey and collect consumer data via ads. They have made audience targeting granular and efficient over the years. So what happens when we lose this data, and how can we target people moving forward?

We will be moving back to server side tracking, also a part of first party data tracking. This is when a brand collects data through one central data collection point, fired from your own web server and then transferred to a third party API or server. 

There are multiple benefits from first party tracking compared to third, including data control, stronger security, better website performance, better quality and more accurate data collection, and less data loss. This also makes data collection GDPR compliant. Make sure this is on the top of your to-do list in 2023 and start speaking to your platform contacts and web developers to get set up, as different channels have varied set up times. 

A side note to a post third-party data world: Be prepared to move into a more Marketing Efficiency Ratio and ROI focused world. Using a ROAS focused model, many channels are guilty of over-delivering on performance on their platform, inflating the amount of conversion that happened (looking at you, Meta), and the wrong platform will get the credit for the conversion because of the last click attribution model.

  1. The importance of Creative Strategists vs Media Buyers

As mentioned, gone are the days of manual hacking your ads to win the auction. If your creative is poor and bad fit for the platform, you will pay more, end up further down the feed and perform poorly. Remember, over 56% of ad auctions are won by your creative asset

Creative continues to be the deciding factor for ad success. This is why you should hire Creative Strategists on your team or agency, and not just media buyers. They should work together to develop the right idea for your advert and execute correctly. They should tailor creative to feel native to the ad format on each platform.

However, it’s important to flag that execution is important as it still requires manual input to create ads, along with lengthy, technical set-ups of your platforms - this is exactly why you still need your media buyers and their knowledge of ever-changing platforms.

We understand that it is hard to keep up with the constantly changing landscape of paid media. This is why we have a specialist paid team in house to support your next influencer marketing campaign. If you require support with strategy, campaign or even technical support, please reach out to us

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