Staggering data in a recently issued Jack Myers Media Economic Data Report projects a systematic shift towards digital advertising across 19 industries by 2020, with double-digit increases for all but two sectors. It's been almost 25 years since the dawn of the internet, yet some of us aren't completely surprised by the late timing of this shift. Why? Because for better or worse, we're living with a legacy of a digital revolution that has been more evolution than revolution, especially when it comes to successful advertising.
The journey began years ago, when companies tried to dictate behavior through websites and pop-up ads before consumers even had a full understanding of what a website was. Hours, weeks, months, and years, turned into decades spent describing how online would consume traditional advertising, and most forms of commerce. Since then, if there's anything we've all seen - it's that you can't make something viral, you can't create a phenomenon, and you cant steer user behavior. Instead, it's what we actually do as consumers and the behavioral trends that emerge (some times quickly but mostly gradually over time) that are the only 'true north' to market, brand and product success.
So, too, for digital advertising.
In past posts, I've mentioned the role of creative destruction, brand evolution, 'shiny thing' media coverage, and the common denominator across them all in determining where this all leads - it's YOU.
The ability to let consumer behavior guide advertisers in their mission to use the internet's power to connect with us more meaningfully applies to our desktop, laptop, phone, tablet and (we will see very soon, especially) our TV experience. Digital technologies will finally crack the code on successful advertising when there is a natural and meaningful ad experience that's one with the way we actually weave the use of these devices into our lives.
Good news! This latest "expected" shift to digital advertising actually coincides with some basic changes in consumers' digital behavior... now, it gets good.
There's a revolution underway in television that will ultimately sweep across digital media, and is being decided by the consumers more and more each day. The companies that are already invested in understanding the effect of these gradual but dramatic and permanent changes are now in the 'pole' position to help redefine the medium, and with it I believe, the success of digital advertising, overall.
According to a recent Nielsen study, an average of 41 apps are loaded on the everyday smartphone -- consumer acceptance of the price point and viability of the single use app are an established fact. Look at the implications of this trend across other mobile devices that feature apps, combine it with the growing pace in adoption of TVs connected to the internet ("connected TVs"), and you can begin to spot the future.
The idea of an always-on connected device is no longer limited to a phone/iPod or tablet , now the connected/smart TV makes three, and what a powerful trio it turns out to be! Connected interactivity is not coming - its here. Digital devices - big and small - are the medium of choice, the internet is the method to receive and interact, and apps are our way of curating our own content, anything and everything, on our terms.
As it stands, there are over 25 million households that already own a smart television, and 64% are actively connected to the internet. By 2015 (according to a recent study by Parks Associates) that number is expected to grow to 90 million. The fact that app use is both a widely accepted consumer behavior for accessing content or software through a single-use device, and a standard feature of smart TV's, will make the adoption and penetration of Smart TVs that much faster. Light-years faster than the creative destruction the internet forced with music and publishing turning digital.
Knowledge is power and guides the design of interactive advertising app experiences without letting us forget it's still advertising -- for a television, only now powered with the interactivity of the web. HTML 5 is the most prevalent language for app designers - when written in this computer language, it means you can access your favorite app from any web-enabled device you own... it's the first real shot in the bow that's made a dent in terms of creative destruction across those devices.
There's little doubt that the companies (brands, products, agencies, cable, satellite and telecom providers, TV manufacturers, networks et al) who meet this natural next frontier of television viewing will be the ones that win. For a look at some examples, visit our website, most of today's leaders have their logos on the client page.
Guess what - the genie is out of the bottle - connected/smart TV ushers in with it the path to true convergence (remember that term?) - the best qualities of your TV experience powered by the best that the internet provides - instantaneous, interactive video entertainment (and here's the best part) on YOUR terms.