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The advertising of the future will be fundamentally different

Colorful and flashing banners, intrusive pop-up windows, tracking programs and advertising clips on websites. This is what digital advertising looks like at the moment - and it annoys people! The video platform YouTube is currently making headlines with ads that cannot be “skipped”. If you look at the current development, this form of advertising will soon be a thing of the past. But it's not just about the next evolutionary stage in advertising. The digital future signals the end of advertising as we know it.

Advertising is changing

Advertising has gone through many changes over time: Digital innovations and new technologies have now become mainstream. The advertising industry has reached a turning point and accordingly advertising must evolve fundamentally in the next few years in order to continue to reach people. There are already various creative approaches to this.

The Japanese mobile operator NTT DoCoMo, for example, has developed a flying advertising drone. It is equipped with a network of LED lights and rotates in the air with changing displays. The advertising message can be viewed equally from all sides and should be in use in major Japanese cities as early as March 2019. Experts are of the opinion that these are not the decisive solutions for the digital future, but just electronic gadgets. Rather, the decisive factor will be: How can advertising be intelligently integrated into people's everyday lives and how is advertising geared towards their digital usage behavior?

The term ambient advertising is very central: advertising must be subtle, not disruptive. It must offer an advantage and not distract the user. For this reason, massive work must be done on the quality of the advertising in order to maximize the user experience. And from the point of view of advertisers, there is still a lot to be done in terms of transparency: namely, how advertising works and how it generates measurable added value for the company.

Increasing use of ad blocking tools

What used to be the "Please do not post advertising" stickers on mailboxes are now so-called network and ad blockers. Market researchers from Global WebIndex observe an increasing demand for ad blocking tools. Almost every fourth online user in the USA now uses ad blocking, and the situation is similar in Germany. Apple and Google build the practical applications directly into their browsers. Currently, the ad blocker rate for mobile users in Germany is still well below that on desktop devices, but there is already a change. Especially in China and India, where smartphones are often the only devices used by users, ad blockers are part of everyday life.

This is a symptom that the advertising industry has to take very seriously. Why are many Internet users so annoyed by advertising that they prefer to hide them entirely? Advertisers and publishers as well as the big platforms like Google and Facebook simply haven't done enough in the past few years to do better advertising. You have fallen in love with what is technically feasible - and paid too little attention to what is actually relevant for the user. That must end now.

What does advertising have to look like so that it is sustainable?

"The probability that a user clicks on an online banner is only marginally greater than the risk of being struck by lightning."

George Nimeh, founder and CEO of NIMEH & Partners, said this sentence in a TEDx talk. This is of course a provocative statement, but it points in the right direction: You have to get rid of the idea that advertising can only work through user interaction, for example through clicks. This is not what advertisers can expect from people in a world in which we will soon be able to cope with a large part of our everyday lives with the help of Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant. On the one hand, advertising is becoming more subtle, on the other, it is being integrated more closely into people's immediate surroundings - and the term advertising may sooner or later disappear entirely. It has to be visible to everyone again without disturbing. In the future, you will almost always be found outside your own four walls, i.e. on the bus, on the street, in the gym or at events. Since it fits thematically to your location, it is perceived as less annoying than conventional advertising. Due to the thematic proximity to the current activity, the willingness to get involved in ambient marketing is higher.

Advertising will become more detached from the display and will take place through other channels. Central to this are voice control systems such as Siri and Alexa, which are becoming more and more popular. These functions will probably also have other objects and devices in the future. It is particularly likely in the automotive industry: cars already know how full the tank is and, thanks to internal navigation systems, know where the nearest gas station is. For example, prices can be compared straight away and an individually tailored range of suitable products can be recommended to the user. This is a future we are already in.

Companies have to keep up with change

These changes not only pose major challenges for the advertising industry. Companies also have to adapt to change and break new ground. Especially those who are known to be more offline than digital can face problems that need to be solved.
One example of such a company is Austrian Post. The brand traditionally stands for logistics services, which is to a large extent an offline business. But the online business is also constantly being expanded. Austrian Post has also been very successful online for many years, helping its business customers to reach their end customers with hybrid advertising solutions that intelligently combine offline and online. Here the group works closely with adverserve as experts in order to further develop these new digital formats in the advertising industry in a future-oriented manner.

The digital future ensures that not only the forms of advertising change, but an entire industry. In order for it to be able to reach people in a number of years and to be future-proof, it must be better integrated into everyday life. Advertising must offer added value and must not be too intrusive. Ambient advertising is essential, regardless of the channel, so that users, advertisers and companies can benefit from it.