The SMX advanced conference in London brought some interesting concepts to the table when it comes to the future of advertising, none more so than the aptly named “Demystifying Online Attribution” that touched upon where the future lies in terms of physical media advertising such as billboards and magazine ads.
The trouble with physical advertising is that you don’t know exactly how many people are affected by the advertising they are exposed to and whether the advertising would have had many people considering the product that they are being exposed to.
It has long been suggested that the rule of three, that is consumers need to be hit with advertising three different times before they choose to buy, perhaps three different mediums or three different stages in the chain, has a profound effect on whether the consumer will purchase the product, but with more and more purchases shifting to the online space, it is hard to link up the different advertisements with the online space.
What has been suggested in the future of online marketing is a full integration between online and offline physical advertising, the main link for this is expected to be in the form of smarter smart phones, ones that are able to pick up what billboards you have driven past, what magazine advertisements you have been exposed to and even what television commercials you may have watched.
In the future, the smart phone will recognise what advertisements you have been exposed to, I would say that the iPhone is not too far from being able to recognise what billboard advertisements you have been exposed to as it can already track your movements so in theory can tell exactly what roads you have been past to see any billboards, or what buses you have waited for and the advertising you have been exposed to on the side of the public transport and at the bus stops themselves.
Traditional marketers are laughing
Internet marketers have been lucky in recent years by being able to track real time results from pay per click campaigns or banner ads on websites and introduction of Google analytics has made tracking the effectiveness of marketing campaigns extremely easy, whereas on the other hand traditional marketers were unable to track the effectiveness of a marketing campaign but now if the information of where and when the customer is exposed to some marketing is stored on the phone, and then, as contactless payment through a phone is starting to be introduced the marketers will be able to know the exact times they were exposed to the marketing and the lead time before they went and purchased the item.
We saw a similar step into a persons buying habits when Tesco launched their clubcard, seeing them gain so much information in so much detail they didn’t have a clue what to do with it. The information may end up being so exact that marketers may not know where to start in broadening it out.
From a business point of view it makes perfect sense in terms of ROI but from a personal standpoint I believe this could be a step too far and would encourage deeper forms of tracking that people are currently treating too much as a non important issue.