Three Signs Digital Marketing Is Facing A Social Tsunami

These days, the term "social network" almost feels campy. Consumers are using the social Web for everything from ordering pizza to deciding how to vote to finding a place to live. Pretty much every social activity that a human could want to engage in can now be done on a mobile device or through the browser.

According to the Pew Research Center, at least 70% of U.S. Facebook users visit the site daily, and 45% visit multiple times per day. Most of these Facebook users are actively engaging their friends on the site, not just watching and listening. A similar story of regular socialization is unfolding on Instagram. Also, the overlap among audiences who use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn is increasing across the board, meaning that, beyond the overt groundswell of consumers joining the social web, more social media users are becoming more social around the web.

Meanwhile, the novelty of social-for-business has grown up into pure business necessity. The revenue potential for marketers and advertisers adept at leveraging social is now clear (and clearly immense).

So here are three signs that getting good at social marketing and advertising will pay off in a much bigger way very soon.

1: The Facebook audience network is maturing. Winning ad formats from Facebook are now arriving across the world's mobile apps, thanks to a major update to the Facebook Audience Network (FAN), which lets app publishers serve Facebook ads natively. This means the arrival of auto-play video ads, carousel ads, and Dynamic Product Ads, which large ecommerce providers use to retarget at scale. FAN uses the same targeting sophistication that powers advertising on Facebook, so marketers adept at running campaigns on Facebook can take their skills off Facebook and into the world of mobile banner ads.  

2: The Twitter audience platform is maturing, too. Twitter is keeping up by empowering its own leap to app network advertising. Last week, the company announced the next evolution of the Twitter Publisher Network, rebranded the Twitter Audience Platform (TAP). Publishers in the TAP network can now run ads for tweet engagement and video views, in addition to those already available for app install and app re-engagement. New creative features for TAP were announced, too. Again, this means marketers and advertisers who’ve found success reaching audiences with Twitter ads can now take their insights to a broader audience of mobile app users using the same powerful targeting.  

3: ATLAS has changed the game of attribution. The cross-platform last-click attribution available from ATLAS, acquired by Facebook from Microsoft in February of 2013, is helping advertisers make sense of a more complex digital advertising world. This means accurately isolating the campaigns that ultimately drove conversions across browsers, devices and ad servers. Some are also beginning to see a much larger opportunity for Facebook with ATLAS in its arsenal. These pundits believe the future of Facebook could include global, cross-device display ad domination — and maybe even fierce competition for traditional demand-side platforms.   

The data is already telling the tale, too. Facebook already serves more digital display advertising than Google, and by 2017, Facebook and Twitter will own one third of the market for digital display advertising, according to predictions from eMarketer.

If the future of digital truly is mostly about social, then social poses more than an awesome opportunity for marketing and advertising professionals. It actually poses  an existential threat that reads: Learn to swim in the new sea of social, or prepare to be swept under by the oncoming tidal wave.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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