What Agencies Say Won’t Happen in 2013

Instead of asking industry leaders for their industry predictions for 2013, we asked them what we should expect not to see in the next 12 months even if these things get lots of attention. The bottom line: Don’t bet against TV, and check your enthusiasm for native advertising and the dawn of the mobile era.

James Kiernan, svp and managing director, Zenith Media
Marketers will not be walking away from TV as it continues to deliver scale and drive our clients’ business. They will, however, continue to apply a fluid approach to video across all screens inclusive of TV, video and mobile video. Marketers will come to the realization that the concept of “native” is not new and that brands have been aligning with content dating back to when P&G invented the soap opera. It is a big buzzword, but it’s helped to get brands to recognize the need to develop custom, real-time content that fully capitalizes on a variety of unique environments and across multiple platforms. Native should not be about deceiving the consumer but rather delivering content and experiences which provide value in the form of information, utility or entertainment that is consistent with the brand’s equity. They will take advantage of new technologies that enable them to be more nimble as it relates to creating and curating content in real time. If the term “native” gets brands’ attention and opens up the conversation, then I’m on board.

Darren Herman, chief digital media officer, The Media Kitchen
I do not believe that we’ll see considerable dollars in “native advertising” even though it’s all the rage today. I say this because it generally does not scale, and that’s the beauty of native advertising in that it’s platform specific and generally at least a bit custom. What I specifically like here, however, is that publishers recognize that units and programs fit into the user experience of their publishing platforms perform much better than commoditized standard ad units, and the agency world will start adopting tools and frameworks to measure the performance of these campaigns. It’s important to note that agencies have been buying site-direct programs for almost two decades, so technically “native advertising” isn’t really anything new. Also, I do not believe that Facebook will ultimately find its dominant advertising strategy in 2013. The reason for this is, I believe, the headwinds in government will not allow it to fully embrace its targeting platform to the extent it could. I believe that the government and privacy advocacy groups will be Facebook’s worst enemy and Google will draft behind all of this.

Andrew Bailey, chairman, Proximity North America
There’s a lot of chatter about mobile, and every year for 10 years has been the year of mobile, but you can’t argue with the breakneck speed of consumer penetration. That is happening, and there’s no doubt mobile will play an increasingly important role, but what not to expect is a huge influx of advertising dollars into the channel because the real estate is just not there. We as an industry simply haven’t figured it out yet, and as much as we’ll continue to see tremendous consumer traction, I think we won’t see the dollars there next year. It’s almost as if the industry has been caught off guard by mobile.

David Berkowitz, vp, emerging media, 360i
Storytelling will stop being used as a way to cover for ideas with no substance: Storytelling was one of the big buzzwords of 2012. Agency folks love it, as what could make us feel more creative than telling stories? But we can’t forget that we have jobs to do. One of those jobs is to tell the stories the brands already created and make those stories relevant for new consumers. Another is to achieve clients’ mutually agreed-upon objectives, and a story is only great if it makes progress toward those objectives. We will keep telling stories, as great stories spread, but we can’t get so gaga over storytelling that we forget about the work we need to do each day.

John Noe, CEO, Rokkan
I think we’ll see brands start to consolidate their mobile properties. I think brands supporting multiple apps are already starting to consolidate apps into a fewer set, if not just a single app. And with mobile sites becoming more robust and capable, the need for separate native download apps will really need a stronger business case. But another trend I see starting to fade is longer=form UGC submissions. Brands used to launch massive contests and programs getting people to submit their stories, ideas and creations, with hefty prizes on offer. But with platforms like Kickstarter, The Slate and others, I think people who are really trying to get their ideas exposed are gravitating toward these larger platforms with audiences and business models already built in. That isn’t to say that UGC for brands will die off, but I think their purpose will be shorter, simpler and less incentive based, on platforms like Instagram and Twitter. And with the growth of online video viewing, I think the trend for brands will be toward storytelling and branded content.

Aaron Shapiro, CEO, Huge
People will not line up out the door to get their hands on the iPad4 or iPhone6. Instead, the new products will be met with a collective yawn. I love Apple products as much as the next person, but at some point, people will wake up and realize that the annual upgrade is just that — an upgrade — with each upgrade cycle adding less and less incremental value to the user. The same goes with Apple’s competitors. Smartphones and tablets are fast becoming a commoditized utility, good for several years of use, just like a laptop — and not something the digerati buy each year. Say goodbye to the mobile-gadget hype.