May 24, 2022
May 18, 2022

The Social Display Landscape in the U.K.

Phil Murrell

In 2018, when Spaceback pioneered the idea behind what has now become known as "Social Display", the premise was simple. Ad tech has come a long way in the past 20 years with the launch of RTB and programmatic, though banner creative has not.

People are spending a lot of time on social channels, and brands are investing a lot in social content and advertising. By taking the best parts of social and turning them into a display ad, this will resonate well with an audience who has become banner blind.

Moving forward to today, the idea still rings true and Social Display is one of the fastest-growing categories in ad tech. It's also the reason so many leading brands across a range of verticals from retail to charity, automotive to telco, and recruitment to finance are adopting the format in the UK.

Since Spaceback created Social Display, a number of ad tech companies have since offered a similar format, mainly as part of an ad network buy to capitalise on a media margin in additional to the creative.

Spaceback, who launched in the UK in 2020, is independent of media and offers a creative-only Social Display platform. This takes the social post from any main channel and, within a matter of minutes, turns it into a display tag.

Being built on Google campaign manager is a huge benefit as this can be activated anywhere, programmatically or directly - even on GDN. The unit also includes a real-time representation of the like and comment counts that update inline with the original post and is totally unique in the Social Display landscape.

Craig Mytton, head of Global Partnerships at Spaceback, adds, "Spaceback has focused on delivering an authentic social experience to the end user wherever they are. The result is the most advanced Social Display solution, not only in the U.K., but across the globe."

Speaking from a Spaceback UK perspective, in a short space of time, we can count a long list of agencies as clients, including from all six of the major holding companies, of which half are now trading partners.

It's no surprise Social Display is the way of the future. Agencies like VERB Brands are able to launch display creative the same day social media posts go live and are seeing a 165% increase in CTR.

In addition to the incremental performance that is proven across the funnel from brand to performance metrics, the quick uptake can also be attributed to the very low barrier to test. There are no platform fees, build fees, or minimums. Instead, there's just a flat ad serving CPM that is billed based on the advertiser's impression delivery. Importantly too, creative is resilient to the many market changes and regulation, including the demise of cookies.

We've seen social media has been outgrowing the walled gardens in many ways. One can find social influences in TV commercials, out-of-home advertisements, and even in digital-out-of-home. Social needs to play a larger role in the digital space even beyond the social networks. Although this is just one piece in an ongoing advertising creative revolution, we expect more to come in the future.

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Social Display
Industry Insights

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