The Future of Digital Marketing

digital marketing

OpenGraph, Google’s +1, these are all hooks into deeper personalized understanding of your interaction with the web and all the data on it.

In April several big brands shared how they have split their marketing spend from traditional (Print, Broadcast and Radio) and Digital (online) .  The ranges are anywhere from 50% to 90% of that spend going to digital.  I don’t think that this is very surprising.  More people are spending time online, be it on a PC or mobile Device.  Interestingly TV declines as Internet increases and Mobile Reading Increases while print reading decreases.  Meaning the money is moving to where the eyeballs are going.

The question becomes how traditional media will move to digital formats.  Some of this we already see.  The Kindle and Tablet devices are giving us a glimpse of digital print, but how are radio, tv, billboards and all the other traditional mediums going to change?  What follows are some of my thoughts on both opportunity and where I think things will go:

Billboards

These will never go away.  There will always be billboards in some form or another, though the big change will be making them go digital, as well as enabling a beaconing technology to share more data.  It may be through Bluetooth technology, or through QR Codes, or most likely through billboard recognition software.  Simply take your cellphone snap a picture of the billboard and you will be redirected to a website with more information, much like SnapTell works today for DVD or CD covers. This isn’t revolutionary technology it is taking what we have today and applying it to opt-in marketing.

Opt-in marketing is what will make the next generation of digital advertising successful for gaining awareness with people who are higher in the purchase funnel, where they may not even be aware they are ready to buy something yet.  Typically this is called brand awareness.

Print

Everything will be on the Kindle or similar e-book reading device.  What amazes me is that publishers have not jumped onto the advertising band wagon allowing for digital ads to be displayed in line with their content on books that are sold.  By allowing for advertising to appear in books, you can offer them at a reduced rate, where a user must see one add every 5 or 10 pages, to subsidize the cost of the book.  Or pay a premium and get the advertising free version.

We are at a point where people have begun to understand the need for premium content, and decide if they want to pay that premium. The Apple App Store has shown us that this is true, as many apps come in both a free limited variant or ad supported variant and a premium ad free version.  The nice thing about the ad supported version of print means more affordable content, for more people.

TV

TV will become streaming media, what will be the big change will be the ability to tag videos much like facebook allows you to tag images today.  No longer needing to break up shows and movies with commercials, the entire production can be sponsored by hundreds of companies.  The videos would allow you to find out what type of shoes someone is wearing and where to buy them, or to buy the online now. You will be able to add items to a digital storage locker to look at later or compare to other similar products you saw on other shows.

The Next Two Steps

All of this comes back to one simple thing, findability.  Making data more accessible, more findable, and more shareable.  As we can pass information along digitally marketers will have to start thinking about being in the right place at the right time even more so.  Further when mobile devices allow for two way interactions in which they broadcast out messages you opt to broadcast you, can then let marketers know which messages you’d rather see.  Allow for discounted pricing to display when you are in need of a new set of shoes, or when you are looking for a specific limited edition video game.    The first step in digital marketing comes with user opt-in engagement this is the phase we’re just entering now, the second will be with broadcast needs.

Some may say this will never happen due to privacy issues, but when it’s a need, and controlled by the consumer the benefit will outweigh the fears I think.  We already see highly targeted marketing based on broadcast signals in the form of search. As things like the OpenGraph and +1 try and better gauge your likes, you will provide more broadcast signals in small doses based on your interactions with them, but over time these signals will become more frequent, and also be shaped by your friends and others with similar likes and behaviours.  Eventually the small broadcast signals will turn into more consistent likes, and thumbs up, and approvals to better tailor advertising and marketing towards you the end user.

The smart companies will be at the forefront of this with 100% of their ad spend in this arena already, focusing on search, and social marketing where advertising is relevant and wanted and opted into by people.

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