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The 3 trends disrupting digital advertising

AOL’s ad chief on the shape of the future

There is a lot of debate regarding “what’s next” in digital advertising. But when we look back at 2014 a year from now, I believe these three disruptions will have played a role in the ongoing transformation of digital advertising. 

Digital gets closer to its full potential through automation: It wasn’t that long ago that one either went to a travel agent or even to an airline counter to book a flight. Today, we take for granted that we can book travel online in the same way that we can buy and sell stock.  Similarly to the way that trading is automated on the Nasdaq or the NYSE, buying and selling ads in “programmatic” (or automated) fashion will finally become a defacto, standard process. 

digital disruption

Through algorithms, the analysis of Big Data and machine-learning, programmatic ads are effortlessly matched with the right content and audience.  Publishers will be able to offer their most valuable (premium) inventory to a much larger set of advertisers and command higher prices. And the agency people who were spending their time executing these manual processes can be re-directed toward the creation of more impactful and engaging advertising experiences.

Immersive advertising takes hold: Advertising with sight, sound and motion will become much more experience-based and interactive, and commerce will take hold. We’ll also see device- and format-agnostic campaigns that drive products off the shelves for marketers. Consumers will take actions like sharing, commenting, posting, pinning and even buying within an ad versus just consuming the information.

In fact, if done right, marketers have the opportunity to transform their branding into “services” that consumers want to use. Nike fitness apps are great example of this.  As long as there is a true value exchange, consumers will engage like never before with brands.

Marketers tune in to increasingly “in-house” mobile behavior: For the past few years, there has been a lot of buzz regarding the promise of “location-based advertising.” Yet, it turns out that we spend the vast majority of our time on mobile devices while at home.

According to research from AOL Networks and the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied science, 75 percent of all mobile ad impressions were viewed within the home. Moreover, of the 25 percent viewed while on-the-go, less than 3 percent contained the longitude and latitude information necessary to detect the consumers’ location. 

That said, there’s no denying that mobile devices will someday (perhaps soon) replace the desktop as the dominant medium on which we view content. However, when attempting to engage consumers on mobile, marketers will be more likely to run campaigns geared towards reaching us while we’re on the couch vs. in our cars, on a train or walking down a street.