Robin Hassan on what’s hot and not for 2014

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Robin Hassan, SVP of digital strategy at MediaCom Canada, has had a big year, making the move to the GroupM agency in June following four years at Starcom MediaVest Group, where she was VP, media director and COE lead for social and mobile.

MiC‘s sister publication, strategy, recently asked industry insiders to weigh in on some hot or not trends for the year to come, so in that spirit, here are some picks from Hassan – the things she sees continuing to heat up in the coming months and the trend she thinks will be entering a cooling pattern.

What’s hot:

Conversation marketing: The advent of social media created the platform for brands and people who love (or troll) them to engage in a public environment. Today, this has evolved to truly transparent/engaging conversations for brands that are willing to engage fully – from friendly competitive banter (JC Penny and Kmart) to all-out conquesting (T-Mobile versus AT&T) with both other brands and consumers. From a media planning and activation perspective, there is a unique opportunity to leverage these insights to create and curate the most impactful content and social media marketing solutions on an evergreen basis.

multi-device campaigns: It has been well documented that dual (sometimes triple!) device usage while watching TV is increasingly common. While TV watchers might be engaged in a show, their second device is rarely related to their show experience. More often, they are on social networks (Facebook, Twitter or YouTube). Seeing the success of Twitter’s TV Amplify program and soon to follow TV and conversation targeting ad products (the latter two are not yet in Canada), a key area will be defining how best to leverage to enhance the traditional TV experience.

‘Bricks & mobile’ experiences: As smartphone penetration and time spent continues to grow in Canada, personalized and hyper-targeted mobile experiences are increasingly critical. For example, reminding a shopper to add a brand to their consideration set while they are actually in the retail setting is a very real media opportunity. The trick will be ensuring brands have a quality mobile experience to deliver on consumer expectations.

One interesting example launched recently in San Francisco by eBay brings traditionally digital experiences into a bricks and mortar space, where transactions are completed via mobile. Even here in Canada, there has been a surge in pop-up store concepts, with a Shop.ca holiday store and Popify Holiday Pop-up event with Shopify as examples. From a media perspective, leveraging digital OOH and mobile solutions to create amazing consumer experiences that can then be amplified through social media will be exciting.

What’s not:

App overload: Don’t get me wrong, mobile apps can be extremely powerful for brands that build them for their top 5 to 10% of loyal fans. However, they are not a sustainable media solution as continued usage after the first 30 days of a download are abysmal. Building strong mobile experiences that deliver on consumer expectations are critical. In the same vein, social apps that don’t work in mobile environments are a waste considering over 50% of social audiences are on a mobile device!

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