We have established that the advertising industry has changed over the last 80 years since Stuart Hirst began, moving from the print advertising in the 20s, to the mass-marketing ‘assembly line’ madmen of the 50s to the digital era we live in today, the introduction of new media being the most significant factor for the change in advertising. But what does the future how for the advertising industry? How far can we go in terms of our innovativenes and creativity? The possibilities are endless…
Put simply, advertising will become more personal to each individual. Companies are able to gather large amounts of data about you, your shopping patterns, what you search for online, your interests, hobbies and even your exact location at a time. Using this data the aim is for companies to be able to specifically target advertisements based on your current personality, trends and needs. For example, if you are a regular coffee drinker (found through EPOS data on your credit card), and if you have GPS on your mobile phone (many modern phones do) then as you are walking past a Starbucks you may get sent a 50p off coupon for a coffee. If you are a keen football player (you often search for football equipment on Google or follow Rio Ferdinand on Twitter), then you could get sent a list of all stadiums or even amateur pitches near you and games coming up in the next few days.
This is every company’s dream and it is not as far away from happening as you might think. There is currently a company called Quivindi who installs camera systems in billboards. A computer then analyzes those that pass by it. It can guess gender to an 85% accuracy, and changes the advertising message according to the gender. There are plans to use the cameras to measure ages and family groups, however these are still in development.
Data is becoming increasingly more and more important to a company and advertisers. Look at how keen Google are to promote their new Google+, they saw how much data can be collected about an individual through social media sites such as Facebook and are eager to link this in with the data they already have about search patterns. You would be surprised at how much data Google collects from their search engine and how relevant it is to an organisation. A quick look at <a href =”http://www.google.com/insights/search/#” Google Insights </a> will give you a rough guide of the sort of information they collect.
For example anyone looking to start up a dentist business can see that searches for denists decline from September – December but then have a huge increase right after Christmas, you can also see the top places where people are searching for Dentistry. So you will know that the best time to advertise your dentist company is right after christmas, and the best place to be and advertise is in either Thames Ditton, London, Kensington or Brentford, as people around those areas must have terrible teeth! Google are currently offering this data for free, but think how much advertisers would be willing to pay for information like that or even more useful data.
Many experts predict that the future of advertising will be a much more integrated approach with the advertisements and content blurred into one. For example, banners on a website used to be effective, as they were very near to the content. However, consumers naturally became too aware of them and focussed simply on the content, ignoring the adverts. Advertisements need to more even closer to the content to get noticed. Rather than having adverts placed inbetween TV programmes, advertisers are now using product placement within the programmes as they realise that consumers are paying less and less attention to anything they consider to be an ‘advertisement’. Brands are also likely to use more subtle advertising techniques that are more interactive with their audiences, for example <a href = “http://singularityhub.com/2011/05/03/pepsis-new-social-vending-machine-lets-you-reach-out-and-refresh-someone-video/”> Pepsi’s social vending machine </a> where users can purchase a drink, not only for themselves, but send one via social networking to their friends, who can then go to the nearest social vending machine and receive a Pepsi drink.
These are just a few of the innovative examples that advertisers are having to come up with to stand out from the clutter in today’s hectic world, there are likely to be some amazing inventions coming soon with incredible ways for companies to reach their audience. However, companies are becoming more and more demanding with their advertising agencies and departments and many of them are struggling to come up with the creative and innovative ideas needed to reach the demanding, sophisticated and sceptical modern day consumers.
“There’s never been a better time to be in advertising, and there’s never been a worse time.” – Aaron Reitkopf, North American CEO of digital agency Profero.