July 26, 2014

Performance Marketing in 2013: Media Channels and Vertical Markets

Peter Klein, MediaWhizBy Peter Klein, senior vice president of media services at MediaWhiz

In my last column, I offered my 2013 predictions for companies in the performance marketing industry and potential new regulations. This column addresses predictions for performance marketing media channels in the new year, as well as how certain vertical markets will fare.

Media Channels
Given all the opportunities and challenges, it will be critical for the performance marketing community to help educate and drive media-channel-specific results for clients.

Perhaps the easiest growth prediction is that mobile marketing will become a much larger piece of the advertising market. eMarketer forecasts 138 million mobile phone users in the United States in 2013, or 43 percent of the total U.S. population. That number will increase by 20 million users per year through 2016, reaching almost 200 million Americans (74 percent of the U.S. population). It will be critical for advertisers to optimize websites and lead-generation forms for mobile devices.

Agencies will continue to focus on branding and awareness for their clients in the digital space. This will mean the farming out of more performance marketing budgets to trusted networks.

Click-to-call services will grow significantly in 2013. Short forms for lead generation are a necessity, but having a one-click experience to take the lead in real time over the phone will be that much more important in a world of instant gratification.

Social media advertising will shift away from giants like Facebook and go to more targeted sites, such as LinkedIn, that provide a unique onsite users experience. Facebook advertising has become too expensive and restrictive. It doesn’t generate significant sales. Users are often offsite using ancillary services like Instagram to post to Facebook, further eroding its advertising value to brands.

On the search front, Google will continue a crackdown on SEM and SEO. This will provide its own network of advertisers, sites and marketers a competitive advantage over its dominant media channel.  Similar to Facebook, this will somewhat stunt Google’s astronomical growth unless it continues to acquire other media channels, such as its 2010 acquisition of Invite Media.

Email has always been one of the best-quality digital media sources. This channel will continue to get tougher in 2013 unless more content and engagement is achieved, similar to what is transpiring with Google.

Finally, display advertising will grow with the rise of RTB technology amongst the DSPs. Display campaigns will be more direct response- and engagement-focused. Expect an increasing number of drop-down lead-gen forms and social media components placed within the banner.

Vertical Markets
Business is growing in almost every vertical in the performance marketing industry. One vertical that I think is poised to grow the most in 2013 is subprime finance, driven, in part, by the continued effects of the Great Recession.

Subprime finance, including cash advance and prepaid debit cards, will continue to grow and bring more celebrity sponsorships given the lucrative opportunities.

Coupons and deals will re-emerge, with growth coming come from major CPG brands on specific products or bricks-and-mortar merchants, instead of the offers from unprofitable daily deal companies.

Home services with “green” elements to them will grow, such as solar energy equipment for heating and cooling.

Finally, the education vertical will continue to prosper despite more “education-only” focused companies that will go out of business for lack of diversification and increased competition. The not-for-profit schools vertical will get more involved. Schools in that sector will realize they can obtain students much more easily with their long standing, easily recognized brands.

What are your predictions for performance marketing in 2013? Share them in the comments section.


Peter Klein is senior vice president of media services at MediaWhiz, an integrated digital media agency.

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