For decades, advertising was almost an entirely interruptive, outbound process. Companies placed promotional messages on billboards that consumers encountered while driving. Products were advertised in commercials that interrupted television programming. People flipped through pages of ads while they were trying to read a magazine. With the rise of the internet and society’s growing on-demand media preference, the advertising landscape has shifted dramatically.
Today, technology allows companies to advertise in smarter and more precise ways than ever before. This results in the slow death of traditional advertising and the rise of a new kind of marketing that is data-driven and consumer-focused.
The Death of Advertising as We Know It
The death of advertising began with the boom of the internet in the 1990s. Once consumers had access to technology that allowed them to consume the content they wanted when they wanted it, they began to see the traditional interruptive form of marketing as just that – an interruption. New technology has increased consumer disdain for ads that are not relevant to them. The decline of advertising happened because of one simple fact: with traditional ads, a company communicates to a consumer, and the consumer cannot interact back.
The numbers show that the death of traditional advertising is real. In 2016, television advertising spend was at an all-time low of $17.8 billion, down from $19.1 billion in 2013–2014. A survey of CMOs also showed that in the recent past, digital marketing budgets have increased by 13.2%, while traditional offline advertising budgets have dropped by 3.2%.
The Rise of the Digital Advertising Era
More than 87% of Americans use the internet, and as of 2016, more than 78% of the US population had a social media page.
In 2016, digital advertising spend far surpassed that for TV and companies are beginning to place a real focus on social channels for advertising. Digital advertising allows businesses to not only reach customers where they are spending time but also to communicate using relevant messages. Also, the tremendous amount of data available to digital advertisers means they can better measure and attribute campaign results. This was something most traditional media advertisers struggled with in the past.
The main players in the new digital advertising revolution are Artificial Intelligence and Automation. Both play important roles in creating a highly personalised advertising experience for consumers.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
While it sounds like something from science fiction movies, AI is real. AI in advertising allows a massive amount of consumer behaviour data to be collected, analysed and used to optimise existing and future campaigns. A component of AI is machine learning: where computers learn from the data they collect to make their algorithms smarter over time.
With AI, advertisers can create campaigns that are highly relevant to their desired audiences. Furthermore, AI-powered predictive analysis features allow advertisers to make smarter creative choices, ensuring optimal performance of their campaigns.
In the past, marketing teams had to create advertisements, monitor and tweak them to get better results. Today, marketing automation technology can do all of that work without the interference of a human. Marketing automation software often incorporates AI to make sure ads are relevant. It can also do things like send marketing emails, keep records of leads, make social media posts and more.
With digital advertising’s demand for high creative volume and refresh rate, automating the entire campaign process saves advertisers time and money. Performance and ROI also improve.
Surviving the Apocalypse
Digital marketers, while being highly in demand these days, are still a rare breed. The skill sets required are vastly different from marketers of yesteryears.
Adaptability is one of the most important survival skills for marketers today, with the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing. Putting the effort to keep yourself updated with the latest trends and developments will prove useful in the long run.
Nonetheless, thanks to AI and Automation, a large part of the work can be taken off the hands of advertisers. Also, thanks to technology, advertisers now have more control than ever before over their campaigns’ performance.