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The opinions of entrepreneurs' contributors are their own.
Technology is an engine of change that has slowly but surely changed the world down to the smallest facets of everyday life. It drives new needs, creates new patterns and replaces older standards with newer ones. And advertising is one of the most sensitive areas of the economy because of its constant endeavor to meet people's preferences and exceed their expectations. As user needs change and habits emerge, advertisers either have to keep up or suffer the losses.
Key strategies of the 21st century:
1. Use of voice commands
It's been 11 years since Apple introduced the Siri voice assistant and 10 years since the company incorporated it into the new iPhone 4S (are you feeling old?). What started out as a gimmick rather than a practical feature has grown into a trend that marketers cannot ignore. According to eMarketer, nearly half of all US Internet subscribers use voice assistants and voice search at least once a month.
These assistants are now widely used in smartphones, smart TVs, tablets, speakers, and other devices, and they attract consumers for their ease of use (voice search is much more convenient than typing for most). For many devices without dedicated keyboards and additional buttons (e.g. smart TVs), voice integration remains the only user-friendly tool to quickly execute system commands. For this reason, streaming devices such as AppleTV, Roku and Amazon's Fire TV Stick have proprietary built-in voice control functions with unique strengths and weaknesses (among other things, AppleTV can interact with other Apple devices, as can devices from Google and Amazon).
Ultimately, if something attracts users, it also attracts companies. In a 2019 survey conducted by Adobe, Adobe found that more than 90% of 400 decision-makers surveyed were investing in voice optimization, and 94% of them planned to spend more on it in the years to come. In addition to classic text search engine optimization (SEO), brands should also consider language engine optimization (VEO) techniques and modify their business cards with more search-friendly keywords. In addition, they can go the extra mile and explore the Amazon Skills and Google Actions functionality for smart speakers to extend their reach.
2. Binge-watching video content
When global lockdowns were introduced more than a year ago – with most indoor public spaces including cinemas and stadiums closing their doors – streaming services and other over the top (OTT) content (defined as other than cable, broadcast, and satellite television platforms) flourished. A report by the Leichtman Research Group showed that by mid-2020, approximately 80% of TV-equipped households in the United States had at least one networked television (CTV) device (compared to 50% in 2015). At the same time, the total screen time increased; In the UK, it has grown by a third compared to pre-pandemic times, according to the BBC.
These shifts in content consumption have shaped persistent habits like “Netflix with dinner” and “YouTube before bed”. Also, newer binge-watching patterns are accompanied by a desire to tighten the wallet, with more viewers opting for free ad-supported services, according to Nielsen. So for marketers, CTV is a new and energetic target. Industry analyst eMarketer predicts spending on CTV streaming advertising will grow 60% in just three years (from $ 8.88 billion in 2020 to more than $ 14 billion in 2023), which is fastest growing advertising medium.
See also: How Covid-19 increased viewers' appetite for OTT content
3. Interaction with ads
Ad fatigue is one of the top concerns facing modern digital advertisers. To creatively solve this problem, marketers have tried various approaches including games, quizzes, QR code integrations, augmented reality, ad carousels, and other interactive formats. These methods have borne fruit; Users have shown higher engagement with interactive ads compared to static or in-stream video variations. These interactive CTV (iCTV) ads increase video completion and engagement rates by a factor of ten compared to standard pre-roll video ads, according to Innovid. Not only is iCTV efficient in harnessing the industry's growing audience, it also helps build stronger connections between brands and consumers. For example, Netflix used iCTV shopping ad placements with QR codes that led to an advertising website to raise awareness of the 2018 interactive film Bandersnatch, part of the Black Mirror anthology series.
Other marketing channels such as social media platforms are not lagging behind. A Chinese live stream shopping e-commerce innovation from the mid-2010s has firmly established itself on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. It started when Chinese vlogging influencers started live-streaming shopping binges in chic boutiques in America and checking out the products they watched while they were traveling. Advertisers quickly saw an opportunity and encouraged social networks to add the “Shop Now” feature. According to Bloomberg, live stream shopping generated more than $ 60 billion in global revenue in 2019 (most of which came from Chinese shoppers).
Western companies profited vigorously from the innovation. Instagram released shopping functions for posts, stories and Instagram Live, while their colleagues on Facebook developed Facebook shops tools that are similar to those of the QVC home shopping channel. Another American tech giant, Amazon, launched Amazon Live, which allows brands to set up their own shopping programs.
And there are other creative ways to deal with consumer advertising fatigue. Gamification features like surveys on Facebook, augmented reality ads on Snapchat, and playable in-app ads on mobile games encourage users to engage more with brands and create unforgettable connections.
4. Trust in personalized suggestions
It's not always necessary to come up with ingenious messages and creative visuals to grab attention (although it doesn't hurt). Sometimes it takes technology for that. In the field of artificial intelligence, Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) and predictive recommendations are the first things to think about when it comes to personalized personalization.
The CTV / OTT video environment is very suitable for this. Netflix and other streaming services enable hyper-personalized content distribution based on a viewer's story and interests. An algorithm analyzes the choices, average viewing time and surfing behavior to deliver the most appropriate content to keep users happy. Another example would be ACR technology company Inscape, which applies the use of audio ACR to customize content language.
Similar to content personalization, there are tools for contextual ad serving. TheTake, for example, identifies buyable objects such as accessories or outfits in a video and then links them to actual online shop offers. These algorithms were used by WarnerMedia, A + E Networks, Crown Media Family Networks and NBCUniversal and are also included in LG Smart TVs. In the meantime, Roku's ACR helps place ads in front of people who haven't seen them to improve reach.
ACR and other AI-powered technologies are not only opening up new advertising channels for brands, they are also affecting shoppers' habits. The convenience of learning more about products and buying them with a single click is undoubtedly the future of online shopping.
5. Spend more time outdoors
Outdoor advertising will see a huge digital expansion once the quarantine restrictions are completely lifted. Traditional out-of-home displays that adorn bus stops, airports and other public spaces can now automatically detect the time of day, weather, temperature, geographic location and other conditions to deliver the fastest possible news. Based on programmatic technology, digital out-of-home advertising (DOOH) will soon permanently change the way people perceive outdoor advertising.
Similarly: COVID-19 is changing outdoor advertising
From the giant screens you see in Times Square to the tiny bus notice boards, most interactive displays can be connected to programmatic ad bidding and ad placement platforms for real-time digital delivery, where ad buyers set conditions under which to purchase Agree to placements.
But what does DOOH bring to consumers? If it is cold it can suggest where to buy gloves. When it's sunny, it might be the best place to get sunglasses, and during a lunch break, a screen could show the next bagel spot. In the summer of 2019, McDonald’s in Manchester, UK, launched a temperature-based campaign inviting citizens to try a cold strawberry lemonade or frappe when it was hot.
And there is room for DOOH innovations beyond screens. Take, for example, a giant QR code in the skies of Shanghai during a light show promoting the Bilibili video service, which went viral this spring. Such a transformation of outdoor advertising will have an enormous impact on purchasing behavior. It is very likely that users will get used to searching their surroundings for similar information instead of searching for the closest locations on Google Maps.
Related: The What, Why, And How Of Programmatic Advertising (And 5 Tips On Using It)
Put simply, being vigilant and savvy is paramount in keeping brands ahead of the times.