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3Q’s 2018 Predictions: Paid Social

Published: December 13, 2017

Author: Molly Shotwell

As we head full-steam into 2018, our experts look ahead to the next 12 months and dish up some well-informed predictions on industry trends and shifts. We checked in with our social media gurus and asked them, “What 1-2 developments do you see as being the most pivotal in your field in the year to come?” Here’s what they had to say:

“1. Emerging platforms will take a bite out of Facebook and Instagram’s stronghold on Paid Social. While overall % of spend will still be highest on these platforms, others will start to take away market share.

2. Snapchat and Pinterest are going to become extremely viable performance ad solutions for B2C brands. The measurement, targeting, and ad types are getting better and better each day on these platforms.

3. Twitter will be acquired.

4. LinkedIn and Facebook will continue to build out their off-platform audience networks. Other social platforms may get in the game.

5. Video will become a much larger component of advertiser spend, and platforms will put more focus on rich video experiences to fuel the whole funnel.

6. Measurement and attribution will become more sophisticated, both on the brand side and platform side. Brands will have more insight into the true incrementality of these efforts.

7. Traditionally DR brands will place more emphasis on ‘performance branding’ – setting KPIs and measuring against upper- and mid-funnel goals.”

– Brad O’Brien, VP of Social


“I’m really interested to see how the events of the 2016 election, with Russia purchasing ads on the platform, will impact Facebook ads in 2018. We’ve already heard some announcements suggesting an increase in transparency is coming, and I suspect this will be a focus in 2018.

We’ve been fortunate enough at 3Q to be given access to the AMT (Advanced Measurement Tool) Beta on Facebook, but I expect this will be rolled out to everyone by mid-year 2018. Anyone who works in Social advertising knows that attribution and the effectiveness of Facebook ads is always a conversation we’re having with clients. This is Facebook’s attempt at answering that question, and I think it will be well received.

On the Instagram front, I expect a variety of new ad products to be rolled out throughout next year.”

– Mike Stetzer, Director of Social


“Over the past years, competition on Facebook has only been increasing, and there is no doubt this will continue into 2018. To combat the increase in CPCs, I see more advertisers testing out different platforms like Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Quora, which means marketers have to expand their scope and capabilities.”

– Becca Soderholm, Sr. Social Account Manager


“I’ve been doing a lot with LinkedIn, and I see some of the updates (lead gen ad units, carousel ads) take on significance. They are supposedly coming out with some new bidding methods in 2018 that I think may also change things. Their lookalike audiences have proven to be a great targeting feature as well, and I predict we’ll see more adoption.”

– Molly Parker, Social Account Manager

“Snapchat: While the platform itself (and its ads manager) are still growing, the way that Snapchat changed how people create and consume content on their phones (even in other apps like Facebook and Instagram) has shaken up the game. I see the social advertising space becoming even more visually focused that it already has been, particularly when it comes to moving images in creative ways to capture attention.

GPS-based targeting: I see more brick-and-mortar businesses using customers’ mobile GPS trackers (with permission, of course) to determine whether someone has visited a store in person recently, and customizing their marketing to that person accordingly.”

– Lindsey Doherty, Social Account Manager


“With more people using Messenger apps, Facebook will devote more resources into their Messenger ads product. The result will be streamlined features and easier implementation for brands. This will encourage advertisers to invest more of their marketing budget to this growing platform.”

– Clark Sioson, Social Account Manager


“Facebook is going to release some piece of hardware for the home or personal life. I’m guessing it’ll have a camera and voice capabilities to give Messenger and WhatsApp more exposure. It will also create a new placement for advertisers and change the game of advertising in the new AI-first world.”

– Vernon Johnson, Social Account Manager


“With the popularity of Instagram Stories continuing to rise since launch, advertisers will need to develop more vertical video, and specifically video tailored to the younger IG audience (possibly incorporating influencers, boomerang videos, Messenger to allow replies between the client and customer, etc.).”

– Dawn Butler, Social Account Manager


“First off, Messenger and auto bots are becoming a large discussion to further engage potential customers without having to put a ton of legwork in. It obviously includes a lot of dev work, but could help brand with some automation efforts.

Clients are also putting more emphasis in branding lately and less in DR initiatives. I am starting to see a shift where companies want to measure their brand recognition and make that a priority since the ad space is getting more and more competitive.”

– Ashley Burt, Social Account Manager

“I definitely think we’ll see the ability to track both view-through and click actions (conversions) in Facebook, using third-party attribution tools. I think most savvy clients know that they HAVE to advertise on Facebook, but they also have a level of skepticism in the amount of credit that Facebook gives to its campaigns. I think being able to use an advanced attribution tool like Convertro to track the performance of all audiences in Facebook will give clients confidence in their social campaigns (especially their colleagues in the C-suite), and will support additional investment into the channel.”

– Zenia Johnson, Social Account Manager


“1.Video/Canvas ads on Facebook will be increasingly important for advertisers to drive brand awareness and engagement, as users are digesting more video than ever.

2. I think AI and machine learning will continue to grow in the Facebook platform. Whether it’s for testing creative, audiences, budgeting purposes or optimization goals, I believe Facebook is going to continue to roll out products that utilize machine learning.”

– Jack DeGesero, Social Account Manager


“Targeting Gen Z is going to be huge. This is the first generation to fully grow up in our tech-revolving world. They’re tech savvy, and now that they’re between 18 – early 20s, they’re going to become a highly sought-after target.”

– Carolanne Hornung, Social Account Manager

“I think in 2018, we’re going to see a stronger presence in artificial intelligence or chat bots being used by eCommerce to enhance the customer experience. Millennials crave personalization and with chat bots or artificial intelligence, brands will be able to provide a more customized experience for the shopper with every click — ideally pushing them all the way through the customer journey.”

– Meredith Ausenbaugh, Social Account Coordinator


“I think that there are two very important developments in social for 2018. The first is the continued optimization of video ads, which have seen a huge spike in paid media. Second, I think (and hope!) there will be changes in marketing responsibility given the backlash against Facebook’s demographic/job targeting and Russian-bought ads. It’ll be very interesting to see how public demand can create corporate accountability and social responsibility, even if it comes at the cost of revenue.”

– Jenny Lee, Social Account Coordinator


“I assume Facebook will keep evolving the creative split-testing feature to help advertisers test creative more seamlessly and find quick learnings to improve their accounts.”

– Tyler Cotman, Social Account Coordinator

“I think the most pivotal development will continue to be the increasing amount of time spent on social media through a mobile device. We see this year of over year, but I believe in 2018 desktop use will be so limited, that platforms will fully embrace mobile-first technology like voice recognition and augmented reality. Being able to capitalize on these innovations, platforms best suited for mobile like Instagram and Snapchat will receive a much greater share of media spend.”

– Bryce Raz, Social Account Associate


“I think social ads with augmented reality will be an upcoming development in 2018. This will immerse the user in the ad and bring the ad to real life. I think this will come about due to 2017’s giant rise in mobile, video, and virtual reality.”

– Sonya Rosen, Social Account Associate


“One thing that I think will be pivotal in social, for social account managers specifically, will be the continued development and improvement of Ads managers and Power Editors outside of Facebook. If Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, and even Facebook for that matter can develop back-end managing platforms that are more intuitive, less buggy, and more streamlined, there will be an even greater return on the productiveness and effectiveness of paid social marketing.”

– Simon Mackowicki, Social Account Associate


We’ve asked digital marketing experts from across 3Q to share their predictions. To read more, click here!


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