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Give Consumers The Ads They Want

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As advertising and ad measurement become more sophisticated, two things are certain: New technologies and channels are bombarding consumers with messaging, and consumers have become frustrated with advertising that they find irrelevant, disruptive and annoying.

The environment of increasing media channels (in-store smell is my new favorite), ad blockers, banner blindness, shorter attention spans and general mistrust of advertisers is tough for brands trying to get their messages to the right people. Tuning out the noise has become instinctual — even my two-year-old son has learned to “Skip Ad” in YouTube to get to his Daniel Tiger video faster. It doesn’t take a futurist to realize that we have to improve the way we advertise to consumers if our industry hopes to survive.

Fortunately, today’s technology, research and insights can help us understand consumers’ motivations and purchase behavior better than ever before and enable advertisers to give consumers what they really want: not less advertising, but better advertising. By leveraging the power of data, marketers have the power to create advertising experiences that are actually enjoyable for consumers, guiding them along their journeys to purchase.

When we put the consumer first — meaning we reach them at the right moment, with the right message and with a relevant product or service — they welcome the assistance of advertisers. That’s why I’m confident that in the future — consumer permission will be at the center of all effective advertising. Our audiences will recognize the value they can get out of advertising that is actually useful for them, so they will tell us what they’re interested in, how they want to be targeted and on what channels they’re best reached.

For example, Pinterest, an IRI partner, is already creating an environment where users ask to be advertised to. Promoted Pins show up in relevant searches and look just like regular Pins, except that advertisers pay to have them seen by more people. They don’t interrupt or distract Pinners but instead are summoned by the user looking to discover something new. Users don’t even consider Promoted Pins to be advertisements because they help users find the ideas and solutions they came to Pinterest for in the first place.

In a more direct way, voice-activated technology is another channel where consumer-first advertising is bound to take hold. Alexa will wait until you ask how to get a coffee stain out of your favorite white shirt before responding with instructions, along with a recommendation for the best stain removal product on the market. Then she’ll offer to have it delivered within a few hours. That kind of advertising puts the right product in front of the right individual at the time the consumer requested and enables immediate action to be taken.

Once we have data to support it broadly, augmented reality (AR) presents a similar advertising opportunity for savvy brands that believe in putting consumers’ needs at the forefront of their advertising strategies. One day soon, when that same consumer with a stained white shirt points their phone to the stain removal product in their laundry room, they could watch videos showing how to use the product for best results as well as adjacent products that might help. That advertising experience presents a useful, relevant and timely recommendation to a consumer actively searching for information.

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As advertising and ad measurement become more sophisticated, two things are certain: New technologies and channels are bombarding consumers with messaging, and consumers have become frustrated with advertising that they find irrelevant, disruptive and annoying.

The environment of increasing media channels (in-store smell is my new favorite), ad blockers, banner blindness, shorter attention spans and general mistrust of advertisers is tough for brands trying to get their messages to the right people. Tuning out the noise has become instinctual — even my two-year-old son has learned to “Skip Ad” in YouTube to get to his Daniel Tiger video faster. It doesn’t take a futurist to realize that we have to improve the way we advertise to consumers if our industry hopes to survive.

Fortunately, today’s technology, research and insights can help us understand consumers’ motivations and purchase behavior better than ever before and enable advertisers to give consumers what they really want: not less advertising, but better advertising. By leveraging the power of data, marketers have the power to create advertising experiences that are actually enjoyable for consumers, guiding them along their journeys to purchase.

When we put the consumer first — meaning we reach them at the right moment, with the right message and with a relevant product or service — they welcome the assistance of advertisers. That’s why I’m confident that in the future — consumer permission will be at the center of all effective advertising. Our audiences will recognize the value they can get out of advertising that is actually useful for them, so they will tell us what they’re interested in, how they want to be targeted and on what channels they’re best reached.

For example, Pinterest, an IRI partner, is already creating an environment where users ask to be advertised to. Promoted Pins show up in relevant searches and look just like regular Pins, except that advertisers pay to have them seen by more people. They don’t interrupt or distract Pinners but instead are summoned by the user looking to discover something new. Users don’t even consider Promoted Pins to be advertisements because they help users find the ideas and solutions they came to Pinterest for in the first place.

In a more direct way, voice-activated technology is another channel where consumer-first advertising is bound to take hold. Alexa will wait until you ask how to get a coffee stain out of your favorite white shirt before responding with instructions, along with a recommendation for the best stain removal product on the market. Then she’ll offer to have it delivered within a few hours. That kind of advertising puts the right product in front of the right individual at the time the consumer requested and enables immediate action to be taken.

Once we have data to support it broadly, augmented reality (AR) presents a similar advertising opportunity for savvy brands that believe in putting consumers’ needs at the forefront of their advertising strategies. One day soon, when that same consumer with a stained white shirt points their phone to the stain removal product in their laundry room, they could watch videos showing how to use the product for best results as well as adjacent products that might help. That advertising experience presents a useful, relevant and timely recommendation to a consumer actively searching for information.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


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