15 min read time


Welcome to the future

With super computers in our pockets, new screen sizes and an explosion in technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality and holograms, mobile’s creative possibilities are richer than ever. By Jamie Hall

Almost half the world’s population has a smartphone and Facebook alone has more than a billion daily mobile active users.

Yet ads can be annoying, particularly on mobile. Fortunately, the industry is waking up to this harsh reality, albeit slowly. YouTube, for instance, has said it will pull its 30-second non-skippable ad format and, back in April, Procter & Gamble’s chief brand officer Marc Pritchard urged those in the business of advertising to make better content, declaring that P&G will be “focusing on fewer and better ideas.”

The fact is, while technology can change lives for the better, allowing us to interact in ways which seemed beyond the realms of possibility, the consumer is getting harder to impress.

And so, with ad blocking on the rise, and concerns around viewability and other challenges only increasing, it’s clear that marketers need to be more creative in how they reach consumers.

New platforms and technologies have the potential to drastically alter our lives but the ideal scenario for marketers remains the same: precise audience targeting and better media buying decisions. We can’t shy away from this challenge of building the future of advertising and, to this end, we must remember that technologies need to improve the consumer experience and not just make our lives as marketers easier or more convenient.

Brands need to offer both fun interactivity and practical application – i.e. entertainment and utility. What’s more, they will be expected to display their own unique identities across all platforms and interfaces to engage consumers in the way they want to be engaged, always recognising and rewarding customer loyalty.

It’s data that will enable this seemingly impossible feat. Today’s consumers are entrenched in their digital devices, yet the sheer amount of messages bombarding us each day makes it more difficult than ever to stand out. Advertising as we knew it in the 20th century is dead.

Life will be more automated. Customer service operatives will be personalised holograms. Public transport will be driverless. We’ll see bots doing our online shopping and consumers taking increasing control. Content and advertising will be indistinguishable, while ads will be filmed with 360-degree cameras and consumers will step into new, virtual worlds.

Screens will display images based on the information on your mobile – not just your gender and age, but your location, your purchase history, the brands you like and your friends.

Consumers are spending more time on digital media than ever before, and brands are merely playing catch up. Mobile will become the top destination for digital ad spending. Artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality will all help propel further digital ad growth. Advertisers will need to leverage geo-location data, if they aren’t already, looking back and looking ahead at all times to predict future opportunities, bridging the on and the offline worlds.

As such, brands must now shift to an inbound marketing strategy, providing value to their audience and applying creative intelligence: the marriage of creativity and technology. A slicker, more personalised future awaits us all.

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