Very soon, online advertising will shift tactics from passively jumping in front of your face on different sized displays to more engaged and aggressive interactions all over space. Ads will smell, pinch and sting. They will twist your arm and force you to pay or threat you to deal with consequences if you go for the competition.
Wearable technology and advances in technical interfaces, simulations and virtual reality may look cool to geeky consumers, but they are also perfect tools for marketing agencies waiting, patiently, to prey on those fully excited, technically addicted poor victims. Not only your smart mobile, wrist band or watch and your Google glasses, but your car, TV, refrigerator and any other appliance you may think of will be equally qualified to mount a ruthless marketing attack at your very weak defenses. Worse still, would be internal collaboration secured by earlier rounds of information gathering and psychological preparations.
Production technology and infrastructure for the new generation of advertising and marketing in general are almost ready, even outside research labs. There is probably still some juice left to squeeze out of traditional online marketing and advertising tools and channels. Despite their widely proven failure, they are used for lack of other creative ways as well as ignorance and widespread lies – politely referred to as statistics – about positive ROI from online ads.
After examining a year of Google AdSense performance, I can say with confidence that the organic click through rate (CTR) is between 4 and 5% which is close to the widely reported average. There is no way to find out how many of these are serious or did so on purpose and with full awareness (ads are usually concealed and placed to flow well with content). Ad networks, of course, charge for impressions as well, so if your ads are not clicked, you are charged for views (this applies to social media outlets as well). Add to this the ad fraud (bots generating hits and even submitting forms, competition burning your ads budget and ad clicking farms) and you can easily see how flawed the current online advertising scheme is.
Online advertising is also dumb. Why would you see a Facebook ad if you are already logged in? How many times you should see the same ad over a certain period of time? How can you predict what a user is up to and serve them relevant ads? Are ads relevant to current content (if served correctly) the right ones? What about ads based on demographics and how do you verify the data? How do you deal with ad blocking tools? Why would you pay for auto-reloads? Only a better thought out strategy and approach will solve this issue. For now, changes in tactics and channels are the only available options.
Large corporations have been eying future adverts and laying infrastructure and manufacturing devices to support their plans. From gizmos to smart devices and apps with massive collection of all kinds of data and remote control options (spelled features) like switching your cam or mic, the ground is now ready. Future ads may not even be channeled through your browser or your apps (those will collect data), but the operating system running your device may step in. Do not be surprised if the next Windows will be free as long as it runs Bing and serves ads – at least for the end user, not the typical company. What about Internet access? You guessed it! Basic services will run on ads infrastructure, the rest will be other features and it is just around the corner! Are you ready for the party? What will be your sacrifice?