Three Words For 2013: Socially-Optimized Microcontent

Looking into the crystal ball is a practice best reserved for characters in fairy tales. Unless it’s your business to gaze ahead, which of course it is.


Deep Focus, for one, isn’t afraid to see things. Here’s some of what the Ian Schaefer-run agency sees happening in 2013:

  • Social platforms will become the primary digital reach mechanism for the savviest of brands
  • The era of the newsfeed will bring further creative innovation to branded content
  • Native advertising will soar as a percentage of digital ad spend while display will become completely commoditized & automated
  • Engagement will get its due as a critical marketing metric

For the complete list of projections from Deep Focus, see the full report.

For our purposes here, I’d like to linger a moment on this “era of the newsfeed” mentioned above. Here’s a passage from the report that describes the means to an unnamed end:

2012 saw a fast and furious adoption of a new kind of branded content—socially-optimized microcontent. Sitting somewhere in the overlap between product shots, print ads, memes and your sister’s wedding photos, this new form of creative trickled (and then flooded) into newsfeeds as brands posted them in hopes to compete with the highly visual personal content most people flock to social networks for. Pioneers like Oreo, Pepsi (a Deep Focus client) and Skittles found ways to integrate their brand messages into bite-sized chunks with hopes they could earn many more impressions than they buy.

So, socially-optimized microcontent it is. You only live once. #YOLO

Now, who will make it? How often? And what will it cost?

Earlier this week, we learned that Nike decided to bring its social media marketing in-house. I wonder if Nike’s social media team is adept at churning out spot-on socially optimized microcontent on a day-to-day basis. Or if Nike’s team sees social a bit differently. One thing is for sure, the need for quality content is more pressing than ever.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.