What’s ahead for Facebook advertising in 2014?

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For Facebook and its advertisers, 2014 could be a big year as more companies get on board or become more knowledgeable about what the site can deliver.

As Facebook toys with introducing more video into the mobile and desktop News Feeds, advertisers will look for ways to capitalize and capture users’ attention. But that’s not all that’s coming in 2014. We talked with James Borow, CEO of Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer SHIFT, to find out what will be the trends next year in Facebook advertising.

Inside Facebook: What do you see as the most exciting things coming up in Facebook advertising next year?

James Borow: What’s most exciting is two-fold: looking at it centered around cross-device targeting, as I think as all these dollars push to mobile, and the Facebook ID is effectively kind of cannibalizing the cookie, I think Facebook becomes just a really exciting place to play. I think that’s going to be the continuing trend for 2014, where Facebook will become the channel where you can reach anyone anywhere, regardless of device and add cross-device attribution into that.

IF: Do you see some brands already starting to do this (cross-device targeting) already?

JB: Absolutely. If you look at the shift to mobile alone, it’s the best indicator. All of these mobile dollars going through Facebook aren’t explicitly mobile. Advertisers are now saying, “I just want to find these people, wherever they are.” So that’s why the social dollar flows into mobile as aggressively as it has, and people are starting to become accustomed to the idea that regardless of what device I reach them on, I just want to reach them.

I think there’s a ton of really positive early indicators that the market is moving that way and I think it really enforces that Facebook is going to be in a remarkable position.

IF: People will check Facebook from their phone, their computer and their tablet, so there’s a variety of ways to reach people. Are advertisers getting smarter about mobile and smarter about going through tablets? Are you seeing more strategies aimed at reaching people through their tablet or through their mobile phone?

JB: I think this is for 2014, where the big opportunity is that advertisers are going to be thinking it’s all about the ability to reach who I want to reach. So if I want to reach them with an ad on their mobile phone, I want to make sure I understand that they converted, or if they convert on a tablet, or if they convert on their laptop. But it would really be looking at this holistically as just digital marketing. It’s not web marketing, it’s not social advertising, it’s just reaching the people I want to reach and then seeing if they have converted or do the thing I want them to do.

Facebook is in a very unique opportunity to do that because they can do cross-channel attribution and they know who the user is, instead of having to rely on a cookie. A cookie doesn’t work on a mobile phone. So if I show you an ad on Google’s ad network today, I don’t know if you may have converted on your phone later on. It’s difficult to do that because they rely so heavily on cookies.

Facebook is more, I can show you an ad for an iPhone app on your laptop, then I can see 15 days later, if you’ve installed it on your phone. That’s a really different way of approaching things. It also is the big trend for 2014, where Facebook is the way that you can reach whoever you want to reach and see what they actually do regardless of what device they’re doing it on.

IF: Do you feel that we might see more video ads in 2014?

JB: Yeah. Not only will there be cross-device targeting and cross-device attribution, but cross-channel, cross-media type (campaigns). It’s the idea that you can show a video anywhere now, and you can show a photo and text. You’ll see more video across these devices. In a way, it’ll start to feel like television. They’ll see the first commercial or the first video to someone on their phone, and then once you see they watched the first one, you’ll show them the second one on their tablet, and then a third one over on their laptop or maybe, Facebook talks about their offsite network, you’ll see it on a television.

I think you’ll see a lot more video, and a lot more video in more places.

IF: I know the big thing with video is auto-play video. Facebook has kept pushing back, pushing back, pushing back. It’s assumed that we’re going to see this at some point in 2014. What kind of effect do you think this will have both on the user experience and for advertisers?

JB: I don’t think it will be auto-play in the sense of being a bad experience. I think it’s going to be more like scrolling through Vine or Instagram. Your feed is going to become alive based on what you’ve interacted with. I think it’s going to be awesome, and it’s not going to be just for ads. Similar to Vine — as you scroll through, the News Feed will come alive. It’s like the newspaper in the Harry Potter movies.

I think from a user standpoint, it’s going to be great and then from an advertiser standpoint, it’s going to lead to incredible profit.

IF: What do you think that advertisers will be able to do through Instagram?

JB: I think it will be similar to the tests they’ve put out so far, but with smarter content. We’re going to see native advertising — that’s going to become the de facto for brand opportunities. If you want to do great branding, that’s going to be the place you do it, at Instagram, with beautiful imagery and videos that are going to be very well-targeted, leveraging both Facebook and Instagram data.

The exciting thing is, if you show someone an ad on Instagram, if it changes the behavior, can you see if it impact them on desktop down the road through Facebook. That’s the beauty of them all being owned by the same company. You can do cross-device targeting attribution.

Readers: What do you think 2014 will hold for Facebook?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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