Duncan McCall – The Future of Advertising 2020

Duncan McCall, CEO & Co-Founder, PlaceIQ

By the year 2020, we feel the industry will have gone through myriad changes, all leading toward a state of much greater sophistication in customer understanding, regulatory practices and general acceptance of mobile location services and data. The following represents the six main points PlaceIQ believes will drive the industry and product development over the next decade.

  1. Smartphones or some type of hand computer are ubiquitous and serve as the primary access point to the digital world. The actual technology has likely yet to be developed but will serve multiple functions, including check-in, location sharing, hyperlocal news/information and near limitless access to the internet and applications.
  2. Location will be everywhere and will increase the value of users/apps. It will be on all the time, unless otherwise specified through user control within the device. Given this fact, safety and regulation must and will inspire use, protection and ultimately acceptance.
  3. Advertising will go “native.” First, the banner ceases to exist as a main advertising inventory tool, as it is an inferior ad segment that does not inspire engagement. It will give way to a highly more intuitive ad segment allowing the user to feel as though the ad is relevant to content and location. Also necessary to this is the need for development processes to be simpler, which will be based on increased standardization and audience understanding. Publishers are going to be larger and more established with more predictive audiences in 2020 as well. Thus, the creative is more integrated, relevant and akin to established old media communication – in that it disrupts but ads value and feels more natural.
  4. Privacy will exist in a different environment as well as user management of location data will go to the consumer. Apps will allow control of who to share location with (which people, times of day, specific companies/industries and specific apps). Advertising technology companies and advertisers will also find government regulation of data sharing will drive engagement through consumer knowledge and control of data usage and sharing practices. Hence making regulation a positive for the industry, as it will level the playing field and limit the plethora of options for targeting fragmenting the industry today. Eventually privacy regulation and acceptance by the user will plateau as a line will be drawn by users, government, or advertisers by spurring a paradigm shift in legislation and perception on privacy issues.
  5. Data is eventually combined across big data entities, devices and users causing high levels of relevance in experience for the consumer. Therefore advertisers can create soft-sell relationships based on behavior, sentiment and prediction of past behaviors. However, certain industries will be regulated more heavily. Due to interoperability of data exposure leading to consumer predictability in sensitive or private industries like finance, healthcare, etc., usage of data in those industries will be restricted to protect consumer information under the auspices of limiting predatory practices.
  6. Brand dollars v Direct Response (DR) dollars comes to a head. Too much DR brings about a price war causing the total value of advertising to drop to an unsustainable level. Eventually, advertisers become wiser about value and decide to have a product war, which lends itself to value proposition selling and product differentiation advertising. Finally, the mobile audience is valued appropriately as performance measures give way to more nuanced brand and affinity measures.

Suffice it to say, the future is bright for location based advertising due to the growth of location-enabled devices, applications and user acceptance. By 2020, most users will have spent considerable time using and gaining a level of comfort with location data and the value it brings to their lives.