With the passing of 2012, many marketers and advertisers are trying to figure out their
approach to advertising for the new year. The problem is, there are plenty of approaches to consider. Marketing has changed dramatically over the past five years. The introduction and prevalence of social media, the development of mobile smart phones and other mobile browsing devices, the increased significance of certain powerful search engines, and the newly assigned power that consumers are wielding across the web makes for several interesting new marketing approaches to advertising for businesses and brands.
It may be helpful, however, to consider some of the most stellar advertising trends of 2012. These new advertising trends were created to respond to new consumer behavior and online activity. Incorporating consumer behavior into the ways in which your market to consumers is the key to a successful advertising campaign. Businesses that cannot move away from traditional advertising methods such as television commercials, newspaper and magazine advertisements, and the long irrelevant and ineffective interstate billboard will have trouble reaching their target audience in the next several years. It’s important to play to the trends and activities of the modern consumer.
Another great thing about these new advertising trends of 2012 is that they are cost-effective and actually pretty simple. Because so much advertising is being done online through search engine marketing and social media marketing, the cost for a successful advertising campaign has plummeted. Of course, the lower costs are balanced by the increased difficulty of successfully reaching consumers. Because consumers are so inundated with advertisements wherever they look, the effectiveness of each individual business ad is diminished. Todd Wasserman at Mashable.com evaluates his picks for the top five advertising trends of 2012, and businesses will notice that none of these trends have anything to do with newspapers, television, radio, or billboards. The mobile and internet marketing industries have exploded, and Wasserman pays tribute to those trends through his selections.
Here is a list of five incredible advertising trends that popped up or evolved in 2012. Businesses that tap into these trends and capitalize on the simplicity and effectiveness of these advertising strategies will likely be well-placed to score big with consumers in the coming years.
Native Advertising Tries to Make Advertising Invisible
Native advertising was one of the biggest ad trends of 2012. This trend saw businesses striving to make ads almost indistinguishable from regular content posted to social media networks. Promoted tweets, Top 10 lists, and Facebook status updates that read like user content but functioned as ads became incredibly popular. Consumers want to read content that is helpful, entertaining, and engaging. They don’t want to feel like they are being sold to on all fronts. Disguising advertisements in native content is a great ad strategy.
Action-Based Advertising Relies on Customer Activity
Another popular advertising trend for 2012 was the action-based advertising trend that became popular through social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. This trend was developed and created to respond to a consumer resistance to click on ads and follow advertisements to outside websites. Consumers started to feel like paid advertisements were a waste of time. Because anyone could pay to have their advertisements pop up to the side of a Facebook news feed, the likelihood of these ads being clicked on by consumers started to wane.
Action-based advertising, however, encourages consumers to take action because their friends and acquaintances have already taken action with regard to a brand. For example, if one of your Facebook friends likes a business page, such as the page of a popular retail store, you may see an advertisement pop up on your News Feed that tells you about this interaction and encourages you to follow an advertisement link. Because you, as a consumer, know that a friend has visited that page and interacted with the content on that page, you may be more likely to follow the link. Businesses that use this method for advertising are almost ten times more likely to see their advertisements accomplish something than those that simply pay for ads to appear on a website sidebar.
Niche Marketing Changes the Advertising Game
Niche marketing and niche advertising took the driver’s seat for 2012. Businesses began to realize that trying to appeal to a huge percentage of consumers in one fell swoop was no longer working. This problem started with the inundation of consumers with advertisements of all types. As consumers became more accustomed to seeing advertisements on social media sites, blogs, and search engine results pages, they developed an insensitivity to these advertisements. Click-through rates for PPC ads started dropping because consumers stopped believing that these generic ads were relevant to their needs and wants.
The answer to this trend was the subdivision of a business’s target audience. For example, instead of trying to target all of the female consumers in a market with one huge advertising campaign, businesses started creating ad campaigns that were specific to working mothers, single women, young women, women in college, women interested in sports, or women interested in fashion. By subdividing the female consumer population, one of the largest population groups on the market, into smaller niches, the effectiveness of an ad campaign was dramatically increased. When consumers feel that an ad is specifically targeting their personal opinions, wants, desires, or needs, they find it very difficult to resist clicking on the advertisement in question.
Mobile Marketing Takes Advantage of Connectivity
Of course, advertising trends of 2012 cannot be thoroughly discussed without mentioning the explosion seen in the mobile marketing world. The difference in the number of consumers with smart phones and mobile browsing devices in 2012 as compared to 2011 is staggering. A huge percentage of consumers are now browsing the internet, not from a personal or work computer, but from a small device that fits comfortably in a purse or pocket. Mobile marketing strategy is therefore crucial moving forward.
Because mobile devices are smaller, however, the screen size on which customers are viewing ad campaigns and marketing strategies is much smaller, too. This smaller screen size changes the way businesses must create and use advertisements. Big banner ads at the top of a website are not effective any longer, because those banner ads are often removed by a mobile device or quickly scrolled through by the consumer browsing the website. Instead, businesses must incorporate their advertisements into the content of a webpage.
Constant Contact Advertising and Time-Sensitive Promotions
Also, businesses can capitalize on the mobile browsing trend by staying in constant contact with consumers and prospective customers. No matter where a consumer is at any given time, businesses are able to send them updates about special products and services and encourage consumers to interact with a brand while on-the-go. This is incredibly beneficial, because businesses and brands can send out time-sensitive information to their customers and fully expect that this information will be received almost immediately by consumers.
2012 was a huge year for the advertising and marketing world. Social media networks continued to explode in popularity, customers were using their specific physical location to interact with nearby brands, banner advertisements and generic advertisements started to lose their effectiveness, and the steady increase in mobile browsing devices made marketing and advertising much simpler for businesses. If 2013 resembles the previous year even slightly, businesses can expect new, dramatic advertising trends to continue. Tapping into some of the biggest and most successful advertising trends of 2012, however, is a great way for businesses to start the new year off on the right foot.