There’s no question that technology will continue to shape the future of advertising. We’ve already seen dramatic shifts in form and factor, powered by technologies such as 3D, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and virtual reality. As the landscape continues to change, advertisers that don’t follow suit risk getting left behind.
For this installment of our CMO.com Wants To Know series, we reached out to industry experts to get a better picture of what advertising will look like in the next 10 years or so. Here’s what the experts foresee.
Josh Line, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Creative, Comedy Central:
There’s a lot of skepticism about the future of advertising, and so it’s daunting to make a prediction when things are changing so quickly. But I would argue advertising will be better and more valuable in the hearts and minds of consumers—and, as a result, more effective. The forces of digital disruption are empowering consumers to get what they want, when they want it. And increasingly that means that they don’t want to be interrupted by an ad that isn’t good or relevant. That pressure is a good thing because it forces us to do better.
As marketers, it’s easy to fool ourselves into thinking consumers want to hear what we have to say. We forget that we have to earn their time and attention. So we need to create advertising—content—that’s legitimately entertaining. And we need to make sure it reaches the right people in the right context. Those things seem basic, but they’ve become so much more complicated with the proliferation of platforms. No doubt we’ll have new tools and capabilities that make the processes of advertising easier or more automated 10 years from now, but I’m also hopeful that they will make advertising better for everyone.
Jennifer Breithaupt, Global Consumer CMO, Citi:
With the rapid growth in hyper-connected consumers, VR and AI are assuming an increasingly prominent role in marketing and advertising efforts as a means to provide more authentic and personalized engagement opportunities. I only see this growing in the coming years as the technology matures and is increasingly embraced by both brands and consumers.
In the past year alone, we’ve adopted VR for a number of immersive initiatives, including a series of live concerts giving fans extraordinary access to some of the world’s biggest artists, including The Chainsmokers, Imagine Dragons, and Slash. We are also increasingly incorporating AI into our advertising campaigns to customize content in a manner that’s aligned with consumer’s online behavior for richer, more meaningful interactions.
Technology is allowing us as marketers to push the boundaries in the brand/consumer relationship and, in the next few years, will transform the engagement model so that it’s much more curated and customized. It’s an incredibly exciting time in the industry, and we’re thrilled to be on the cusp of what’s next.
Adam Rockmore, CMO, Fandango:
In the future, advertising will be more targetable and much more measurable. You’ll be able to add first-party data and syndicated data to anything and everything. And because most of the advertising will be done digitally, there will be more self-selection, and more of it will be native. There will be more branded content, and people will choose what they want to watch and how they watch it. Advertising will need to be more entertaining and better baked into what people are doing at the moment.
Mark Read, Global CEO, Wunderman:
Whether we like it or not, the audience erosion on traditional media is accelerating and will accelerate faster as the likes of Netflix and Amazon invest even more in content and steal audiences from traditional channels. The problem for digital media is trust, transparency, and accountability for results. We need to build the first two and show clients that outside of search and retargeting, investing on digital media can build brands and, most importantly, drive sales.
Keith Eadie, VP, Adobe Advertising Cloud:
Ten years from now, the sheer volume of content and data will be overwhelming. Nearly everything will be connected; the internet of things will just be “things,” and the resulting vast troves of data will be the single most valuable asset marketers own. Savvy businesses will have plugged all of their marketing tools into the same data reservoir, creating a single source of truth that they use to deliver personalized advertising experiences.
Doug Ryan, President, DigitasLBi North America:
As long as we’re connecting to other people, the human element will never go away. But the drive for more real-time individualization means that the human element will be exercised more and more on the strategic level than the executional level. Advertising will be less about crafting the individual words and images, and more about crafting the systems and algorithms that create the words and images.
Mike Avon, Founder and CEO, ICX Media:
Advertiser brands are competing in a new, on-demand, video-dominant landscape. Apple, Facebook, and Disney plan to enter the video content space in a serious way in the next two years, each announcing major investments in streaming content and technology. Netflix and Amazon—not to mention networks like NBC and CBS, are already pumping billions into video content. Brands must ensure that they can get in front of consumers in engaging ways that appeal to audiences who already overlook TV spots and pre-roll video ads. As branded video content becomes more important to advertisers, they’ll need to employ audience data and analytics to develop targeted video content that attracts an increasingly fickle and demanding audience—in the same way as Netflix and Amazon have succeeded through the sophisticated use of data.
BONUS: Jill Standish, CMO, National Geographic, addressed the future of advertising at Adobe's Think Tank panel during Advertising Week in September:
Today, [advertisers] are focused a lot on the vanity metrics, like views, impressions, and clicks. But we need to figure out how far down the funnel these things are taking people. We feel like we are at a moment where we will see an ambition and a shift to emotional connection and the psychology of the consumer. That’s how brands will differentiate.