Advertising has always been about connecting with consumers on their terms. And, by now, it’s entirely clear those terms and conditions are changing at an unparalleled rate. Emerging technology is introducing entirely new ways to reach people, as well as entirely new ways to act and interact with them.
From voice to extended reality, the Internet of Things (IoT) to image recognition, an entirely different world is taking shape.
“We have more connected devices on the planet than we have people. Mobile devices and new and emerging forms of interaction … are forcing advertisers to completely rethink the way they approach audiences,” said Sarah Mannone, executive vice president of Trekk.com, a full-service technology creative agency. “Now more than ever, it’s critical to deliver an offer that makes sense based on where they are at and what they are doing.”
To be sure, converting advertising concepts into dollars is becoming an incredibly difficult task. Not only is there a need to understand the features available with new digital technologies—and increasingly, how they intersect and interact with one another—it’s also critical to create value that extends beyond how a person thinks or responds to a brand.
“You want to assert yourself into their consciousness in the least obtrusive and most advantageous way possible,” Mannone told CMO by Adobe. “You can’t know what’s going on in a very specific instance, but you can achieve fairly good contextual understanding.”
Sorting through emerging tech can be a big job. Devices and systems are evolving and new combinations of technologies are emerging. A starting point for navigating all of this is to move beyond the basic understanding of what various technologies can do and what they represent, and think of them in a broader strategic context—essentially a value chain, said Raffaella Camera, innovation and marketing strategy lead for Accenture’s Extended Reality Practice.
“Most organizations have to go through some type of digital transformation to use these technologies effectively within advertising and other areas,” she told CMO by Adobe.
Organizations can run into roadblocks if they try to use the same techniques that work on the web and in traditional environments, Trekk.com’s Mannone said. For instance, an ad and coupon delivered to an in-car infotainment and payment system—as a person is driving past a restaurant at dinner time—is far different than randomly serving up an ad on a web browser.
“The IoT creates a much larger and more diverse surface for advertising. You must understand behavior, including the way people move, how they use devices and channels, and what excites them, before you can create compelling ads that work,” she told CMO by Adobe.
Keith Eadie, vice president of Adobe Advertising Cloud, cited two primary factors driving changes in how technology impacts advertising.
“The first is the actual advertising technology itself that allows marketers to better evaluate and capitalize on opportunities across a wide array of channels and screens,” he explained. “The second is the technology that connects advertising with the rest of a company’s systems and teams.”
In order to effectively deliver the right experience, both of these evolving technologies are essential.
“You need a platform that can keep up with the rapidly changing advertising landscape across new channels and formats, but you also need to ensure that those efforts are working in concert with how the rest of your company is producing creative assets, segmenting audiences, and analyzing data based on a common source of truth,” Eadie told CMO by Adobe.
Several key technologies are at the center of this new frontier of advertising. Artificial intelligence—which should be baked into a modern adtech solution—is a game-changer for advertisers today, helping scale ad planning, performance, and personalized creative. AI also helps advertisers better forecast, create, and deliver high-performing connected experiences.
“We found that the world of high-speed online auctions operates quickly and changes dramatically throughout the day, at a pace much quicker than people operate,” said Alexander Perec, senior product manager at Adobe. “If you can handle changes intelligently through a machine, you can react quickly to changes in the marketplace, where someone pulling a daily report couldn’t do the same.”
In fact, research shows that 89% of marketers saw higher conversions using algorithms for tested ad packages compared to manual optimizations. And, according to Econsultancy, 46% of advertisers say AI will help them become more effective.