What will internet advertising look like in a year? What about five years from now? One thing that is clear is that online advertising today certainly looks nothing like online advertising from a few years back. Today, brands are engaging in storytelling, for example, to reach audiences in new ways.
So, how will technology and human behavior change internet ads in the future? Here are a few possible predictions.
Imagine walking through your local grocery store. You’ve got your smartphone in hand with the store’s custom app up and running. You enter the aisle where the dried pasta and spaghetti sauce resides. You grab your favorite brand of each. Then, an in-app ad pops up. Were you aware that freshly grated parmesan cheese is on sale this week? So is dried basil and sliced mozzarella. Why not grab a salad from the deli while you are at it? Better yet, here are a few pasta recipes, and short video cooking demo.
What’s going on? The same augmented reality technology that lets you walk around your neighborhood collecting Pokemon can also be used by apps to determine which aisles you are perusing. They can even be used to determine what you’ve picked up and put into your cart. As a result, advertising based on what you’ve picked or where you are in the store is an absolute possibility. Your selections in the store can even be used to personalize the content that you are offered as well.
Then there’s virtual reality. As this technology becomes more common and accessible, it is a sure bet that advertisers will make their presence known on virtual reality apps. Some brands are already testing the waters when it comes to VR and VR like content. For example, BMW has already released a 360-degree video. Then there is Cadillac which has already begun setting up virtual reality dealerships. Surely, it won’t be long before advertisers are showing up in VR apps as well. VR product placement might even become an advertising option.
One challenge faced by VR content creators is that virtual reality hasn’t quite gained the traction people had hoped it would. This might not be a deal breaker for advertisers. Brands who target dyed in the wool technophiles or who target audiences with money to spend on luxury items can use virtual reality to reach these consumers with information on their premium products and services.
In the future, native advertising will continue to dominate. In fact, this phenomenon doesn’t just exist online. Even print advertisers are working hard to create very organic ads that mesh very well with the content surrounding them. If you’ve ever spent a few minutes on a website reading an interesting story, only to realize it’s an ad, you have experienced native advertising. If you’ve shared a sponsored post because you found the content interesting, or you’ve retweeted a sponsored Tweet, native advertising has worked on you.
The same thing goes with Google search engine results pages. The first few links that appear on the first page are actually there because companies have paid for that position. Now, Google doesn’t obscure this fact completely. In fact, they do indicate that the link is an ad. However, it is subtle enough that plenty of people do click those links instead of the organic search results.
In the future, it will be even more important for advertisements to resemble organic content. The reason for this is simple. People hate online ads. They find them annoying. If they can use ad blockers to avoid seeing them altogether, they will use them. Those ads that play before YouTube videos? Most people can not click the ‘Skip Ad’ button fast enough. This means that unless an advertisement gives advice, shares a story, engages, or simply appears to resemble the content surrounding it, most people are simply going to click away.
Yes, it is a drum beat that everyone is probably tired of hearing. Focus on mobile. Mobile comes first. Be responsive or get out of the way for brands who are. Well, the reality is that you should file this advice with your mom’s nagging you to eat more vegetables and get enough sleep.
Your mom is right. So are the folks who recommend that internet advertisers focus their efforts on mobile users. In the past few years, desktop advertising revenue has been stagnant. Mobile advertising revenue, on the other hand, has been truly lucrative. The result is that advertisers will likely heed both the advice about the mobile audience and the suggestion to be responsive. As a result, mobile ads in the very near future will strongly focus on the mobile audience. One potential consequence of this is that websites that are not mobile-friendly may see their advertising revenues drop, as online based advertisers opt to spend their money where their audiences are.
This also means that mobile apps will become the primary target for internet advertisers. The result will be an increase in the number of in-app advertisements, the use of product placement in ads, and the production of ads that are designed specifically for the mobile user.
An instant app is an app that is run solely on the internet. This means that users don’t have to give up valuable mobile storage space or take the time to download an app. Instead, they access the app via a URL. This can benefit internet advertisers in many ways.
First of all, while it may seem to be beneficial to a company to have a consumer to download their app, there is a downside to it. If a particular app isn’t one that would naturally be used every day, there is danger that the app might be relegated to the app graveyard. The app graveyard is the place where apps are downloaded to a smartphone or desktop unit once, but then quickly become irrelevant and forgotten about. There is every chance in the world that you have apps installed or that came preloaded on your device that you no longer use. The reason for this is simple. If an app is not continually relevant, or if it takes up too much space, it will be deleted or ignored. can use instant apps, on the other hand, to stay relevant to what users need right now.
There is no wonder that internet advertisers might steer clear of this. We asked Matei Gavril of PRMediaOnline, what he thought. “When people download standard apps, they often do it begrudgingly. They download the app just so they can complete a single task, or gain a one-time benefit. Instant apps just might be the answer to this problem. They provide an organic means for brands to reach users without being as intrusive as regular apps.”
Harvesting pearls from oysters. If you have yet to run into a live streaming video of a person opening up oysters and harvesting pearls on your Facebook feed, you probably will soon. This latest trend has solopreneurs throwing live streaming oyster opening parties attended by customers who have paid to have a pearl harvested from an oyster for them and curious onlookers. The host then opens each oyster live and then displays the newly harvested pearl for the audience. As the party continues, each pearl is measured and valued as the host interacts with customers in real time.
Pearl parties are just the beginning. The potential for direct sales solopreneurs to use live streaming video to reach new customers in nearly limitless. By making live streaming available to the public, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms have essentially given small business owners a platform for hosting live infomercials. One logical question is whether or not this will impact advertising revenues.
Of course, another sure thing is the fact that larger brands are certainly not going to leave this opportunity ignored. They too will find ways to leverage live streaming video as an advertising video. The only thing that remains uncertain is whether or not their use of live streaming will also impact their use of paid internet advertising.
Then there is the final question. Will platforms such as Twitter or Facebook opt to make live streaming a paid feature, or will they find some other way to monetize this offering?
People may resent him for turning Facebook into an advertising platform, but the truth is Mark Zuckerberg has created an advertising revenue generating powerhouse. In fact, in less than one year, Facebook advertising earnings increased by nearly 60 percent. It may seem as if Google is seriously lagging with only an 18 percent increase, it still outpaces all of the other advertising platforms combined.
Speaking of Facebook. Advertisers who backed away from the platform believing that they had a better chance of engaging millennials elsewhere, will likely begin returning to Facebook. As it turns out, the rumors of a mass exodus of millennials from Facebook really didn’t happen. In the future, brands who want to reach millennials will probably want to take a cross-platform approach to online marketing.
In the future, it will take some serious technical innovation or a serious overhaul of the current online, advertising, pricing model to enable another player to truly take on these too juggernauts. That is not impossible, but it is certainly a tall order. It will be interesting to see if another social media platform is able to step up and begin to dominate even a little bit. At this point, the only player that seems positioned to do so is possibly Instagram.
Even more, than print ads and television, it is clear that the internet is now the premier medium through which advertising dollars are going to be spent. However, the way in which these messages are delivered will continually change. The predictions above, are just a small example of that.