Welcome to the digital advertising apocalypse | Articles

This piece of writing offers advertisers a peek into the future of advertising. No need to say that future is data-driven, but the extent of that data-drivenness might be larger than people in the industry might expect. This article aims to address the part that is often forgotten, the creative part. But next to being a window into the future, this article also aims to be a call to action. A call to action to urge everyone in the industry to do better than we are doing today. The future of our brands depend on it.

Welcome to the advertising apocalypse

Before we start talking about what the future of advertising has in store for us, let’s look at the current state of our industry. And if we’re honest, it isn’t pretty. For the people in the industry, digital advertising has been some sort of a bad news show over the last years. To make sure you are aware of what we’re referring to, let’s sum things up real quick.

  1. The advertising blitz - Since the arrival of digital, the number of ads humans are being exposed to is rising exponentially. Depending on the research you look into it’s being said that we’re being exposed to somewhere in between 5.000 to 10.000 advertisement per day (digital & non-digital). The advertising blitz resulted in (digital) whitespace being an endangered species.
  2. Banner blindness, an evolutionary trait - While the advertising industry unleashed its advertising blitz, humans kept doing what they do best; evolve. The result of our latest evolutionary effort is something called banner blindness. As we’re being exposed to more and more information, that is often irrelevant, web users have become very good at blocking that information out by simply ignoring it. Advertisers keep paying to have their messages out there, but everyone is ignoring them.
  3. The surge of AdBlockers - For those humans roaming the web that aren’t satisfied with their banner blindness abilities, the AdBlocker provides the solution. Adoption of this piece of advertising killing technology has been skyrocketing.
  4. GDPR, the cherry on the advertising apocalypse cake - The 25th of May 2018 will be carved in the memories of all European professionals working in fields that even are remotely linked to data. In the context of marketing GDPR was essentially Europe’s way of saying “time to respect your users”.

So here we are, in the midst of the rubble caused by an advertising industry apocalypse. And we can only blame ourselves. Everything has evolved. From technology, platforms, formats to users. Everything but the way the advertising industry is producing & distributing advertising. We still carpet bomb thousands of users with the same creatives even though we skip through non-personalised messages ourselves on a daily basis. In the end, it is us who disappointed the internet user and called this upon ourselves.

Data, our saviour?

Is this the end of the digital advertising industry? What can we do in order to change our faith, future & destiny? What if we could apply something that’s being used in the realm of advertising & marketing on a daily basis and apply it on an element for which it is always forgotten? I’m talking about applying data into the creative. Why? Because data-driven creatives are the door to personalised & relevant marketing. It’s a means of creating something of value, so internet users will allow us back in their world. Today data is used on all aspects of a campaign. From planning to buying to optimising to segmenting & reporting. All aspects except for the creative as such. But does that make sense? Let’s look at the research:

  1. According to research up to 75% of the success or failure of a campaign is down to creative. That means there’s a lot of room for optimisation to be done.
  2. According to a BCG study data-driven approaches to creative deliver major improvements in both consumer engagement & campaign performance.
  3. Research by McKinsey confirms that consumers purchase more when marketers personalise the digital experience

Where do we go from here?

Looking at the elements stipulated above, the case for data-driven or even data-infused creatives is made. As such, we know what to do. In order to break through the ignorance of online users that we’ve created ourselves, we need to bring relevant and personalised experiences. We need to move beyond building mere ads, and move into building advertising experiences. Especially in the digital space.

publication author Glenn Venderlinden
Glenn Vanderlinden

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