Callcredit Blog

The end of the beginning?

Digital Services

January 2013 saw a number of interesting developments which signal, as PWC put it back in June 2012, ‘the end of the beginning’.

Facebook announced their full year 2012 results; Ad revenue is up by over 40% year on year and a big jump in the number of mobile active users was reported.  We also saw the launch of Facebook’s new Graph Search Beta – the third and arguably most commercial pillar alongside News Feed and Timeline.  From a commercial point of view, we’re likely to see more searches within Facebook focused on purchase intent, according to Latitude’s Duncan Fisher.  There’s more in the pipeline maybe including the ‘Info D’ initiative which is reported to be looking at further ways of distributing information to the entire internet.

All may not be rosy however for the world’s first billion user network.   Facebook has still got a long way to catch up with Google who still enjoy the lion’s share of digital ad spend and growth is going to be getting more challenging in 2013.   One source has reported a decline in active Facebook usage in the UK, especially in the 25-34 age group.



Google+ has moved up to second place in social networks.   Google display advertising will continue to gain market share for the moment but how long can this last?  Maybe Google+ will deliver the next stage of incremental ad growth for this $50 billion corporation.

In addition to new smartphone and tablet ranges on the horizon, Microsoft has reimagined Office, integrating individual products more closely.

And speaking of mobile, Foursquare has launched its advertiser app, making it easier for merchants to run promotions – but businesses will need to claim their venues first!  This is another milestone in the commercialisation of this privately owned location based social network.

The battleground this year will be for smartphone and tablet advertising.  Business models will evolve to deliver more advertising more efficiently through more channels.  There will be more focus on using more individual level data (rather than just aggregated averages) to drive digital activity.

These companies are reshaping and retooling for life in the ‘new normal’.  The beginning of commercialisation and natural convergence of digital, mobile and social into mainstream marketing tools and techniques is well underway.  The boundaries between what is digital marketing and social marketing will continue to blur as commercial forces move into a higher position.   Even Forrester have called for the prefix on ‘Digital marketing’ to be dropped so it’s just marketing.  “Let’s get the marketing budget out of channel silos and into cross-platform teams focused on customer segments.”   Here here.

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