Today, most advertising takes place on the internet because that’s where people spend their time. Direct mail isn’t dead, but it has taken a backseat to platforms like Facebook ads and Google Adwords. While Facebook’s ads are seen only on Facebook, Google’s ads can be seen on a good number of blogs.
However, online advertisements are delivered differently to mobile users. When using a browser, mobile users often see a mobile-specific version of a website that doesn’t display ads at all.
To bypass this, advertisers have been integrating static ads graphically into app interfaces, playing video ads at random intervals of time. Most mobile users find these ads annoying, so app makers have backed off a bit.
Amazon integrates ads into some of their mobile devices in the Kindle lineup, although users can still opt out of ads by buying an ad-free device. Consumers are more willing to accept ads on Kindle devices because they don’t use them as much as they use their smartphones.
The average smartphone user multi-tasks instead of staying glued to their screen. They’re driving, walking, running, or engaged in other activities. They use the hands-free feature and voice activation as often as possible. When they do look at their screen, they’re either posting on social media, flipping through a playlist, or texting a friend. When a video advertisement plays, they’re often just listening.
A new era of advertising is emerging
How do you advertise to a generation of multi-taskers who prefer hands-off, voice activation for everything? How do you capture the attention of people who only use mobile devices, barely skim articles, and only look at their screen to engage with friends?
The answer is through audio ads. Audio is an effective platform, and it’s been around for over 100 years.
This study performed by Nielsen found that using radio ads, advertisers “gained an average $6 return for every $1 spent.” Although retailers generated a significantly higher return than other types of businesses, everyone generated a positive return.
Media sources are always evolving, and unlike newspaper ads, radio ads are still a viable medium for advertisers. Rather than buying ad spots on local radio stations, advertisers are buying ad spots on streaming radio and various smartphone apps. It’s the same type of platform, just with a twist.
The result of the rapid evolution in media technology is that smartphones have become the new newspaper. People aren’t afraid to admit they don’t read the paper, either. “I don’t rely on [the newspaper] anymore for current local or worldly news,” says Heather Morrison of MediaTwo, “I use my smartphone.”
Perhaps that’s why millennials have a reputation for not reading the newspaper. It’s not that they don’t read the news – they just prefer their mobile device.
What does this mean for the future of advertising? When you consider the number of smart devices in homes across America and the potential for broadcasting ads, it seems ads will soon be seamlessly integrated into daily life in the home.
IoT devices have always had the potential to deliver ads
Every IoT device connected to the cloud has the potential to deliver ads to users. It works the same way adware works on a desktop or laptop computer. The only difference is, as consumers embrace voice-activated devices, advertisers are doing the same. Alexa, for instance, is about to become an advertiser’s best friend.
Amazon’s virtual assistant named Alexa is a computer program that lives inside the company’s Echo smart speaker as well as other Amazon devices. Alexa allows users to speak commands that control other smart devices, play music, and a few other things. Alexa isn’t in every home (yet) but has gained popularity in the last two years.
Amazon is already negotiating with companies like Clorox and Proctor & Gamble to promote their products on Echo devices in Alexa’s voice. Like every good advertising campaign, the products advertised will be based on the consumer’s shopping history.
According to CNBC in the article linked above, “Advertisers and brands are particularly focused on search placement on Alexa because shoppers are more likely to select a top result on a voice assistant than they are on the web, where it’s easy to scroll down or ignore written suggestions.”
Although Amazon isn’t ready to launch a paid search ad product for Alexa yet, it’s coming. The potential for revenue from paid search is too great to be cast aside.
The idea of having advertisements broadcast in the home sounds like something out of George Orwell’s, but get ready because it’s coming sooner than you think.