Yasir Dhannoon – Where will the advertising industry be in the year 2020?

Yasir Dhannoon, Apprentice, WPP-Deliver

Will there still be advertising in 2020?

Of course! As the main purpose of advertising is to influence consumers, and encourage them to purchase, in other words, to direct income towards a brand, company, or service. Companies would still want to make money in 2020! And shoppers would still want to purchase.

The future is interactive, personalized and mobile:

All recent research and studies are showing that advertising future should be more engaging and personalized per each user and trends are shifting towards mobile. But let’s go back to the past and analyze the shopper’s experience and how it shifted:

The Past

Before the technology and social media revolution, interaction with brands through advertising was limited.  Consumers would mainly experience and interact with brands in stores, look around more and then make the purchase decision. Advertisers targeted consumers as a mass, and never personal.

The Present

The “Go to Action” feature that current technologies provide is considered a massive transformation in advertising experience. Allowing consumers to be influenced by an advertisement immediately, and make a purchase decision and action at the same moment, helped to increase sales for countless brands and by making advertisements personal by targeting each user depending on their browsing preferences is making this experience more profitable for brands.

The consumer experience is changing quickly.  Advertisers need to keep pace.

The Change

Influencing consumers, consumer behavior, and the shopping experience is changing rapidly.  As consumers shift from web to mobile, any user can buy their dream house through their mobile device in 5 clicks while having lunch in the park IF they see the right advertisement at the right time for the right user.  So the present is “Turmoil”.

Michio Kaku mentioned in his book “Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100” that: “Your mobile phone has more computing power than all of NASA in 1969”, This means the world is changing, quickly and rapidly. Advertisers need to change too, quickly but not rapidly so that they don’t go into “Turmoil”…

However, globally the majority of people don’t have smart phones yet.  Therefore a recent *Guardian article stated that: “Analysts predict that in two years, 90% of mobile users will have no choice but to own smart phones – even if all they want to do is call and text.”

The Future

A KPBC research study in 2011 determined that mobile advertising is showing growing pains, but huge promise in the future. While technology and platforms are changing quickly, advertising in the future should be more engaging, diverse and interactive for these consumers.

Despite rapid change and growth, digital platforms might eventually experience stability just like old platforms (Television, Newspapers and Radio).  Content is also developing, but the main purpose of advertising is still the same, to influence consumers to take action. Therefore, it will be a challenge for advertisers and companies to insert their messages in the new content and customize each message per each user (potential shopper) and user experience.  Once a new advertising methodology is created, it has the potential to be stable and focused and profitable.

The future of advertising can be seen as digital, interactive and engaging. Branded digital sponsorships and advertisements are more influential if they are interactive.

The future is more action, less talk, it’s Visual! 

In a recent article by Fast Company Dr. William J. Ward, Social Media professor at Syracuse University said: “Blogs were one of the earliest forms of social networking where people were writing 1,000 words, when we moved to status updates on Facebook, our posts became shorter. Then micro-blogs like Twitter came along and shortened our updates to 140 characters. Now we are even skipping words altogether and moving towards more visual communication with social-sharing sites like Pinterest”. That doesn’t mean that advertisements need to be only still pictures only.  Future advertisements need to be interactive visual tools that users can engage with and really experience.

This leads us to the next point to focus on, the Social Aspect.

Occupy Wall Street, The Arab Spring and (god knows what may come) are simple proofs of the development of a digital savvy civil society.  The average user/purchaser/consumer is developing, evolving and evolving very fast, becoming smarter.  Advertisers must consider this savvy user by rewarding them instead of only showing them products, by offering prizes to those who respond to a message (which is the case right now with some brands but not all). This will make the user/consumer appreciate the brand more, the more the prize value the more loyal the consumer will be to a brand in a pool of millions of brands on millions of websites that are visited daily.

The Future is Interactive users and platforms (Television, Online and Mobile).

As discussed previously, consumers are evolving, and traditional platforms are evolving too.  With new technologies emerging, the future Television watcher will have access to the internet through the content provider plus the hardware. The viewer (potential shopper) will be able to select commercials, and interact with the commercial by clicking or touching their TV screen to get more information about the product they are interested in, which in turn links them to an online shopping website or a mobile app and make the buying action immediately.

Television is Three Dimensional, and so is Advertising.

The 3D television technology is developing slowly, unlike the digital platforms. Consumers will have enough time to experience the difference, appreciate and interact with it. Therefore, advertisements need to be transformed to 3D too, and maybe more interactive rather than just passive. Maybe they can virtually touch the advertisement, rotating it and get a 360 degrees view of the product. Maybe try on that Macy’s dress on the screen while watching Star Trek in 3D!