The Future Of Ad Targeting In An IoT World

Author

On Marketing, Contributor

November 27, 2015

This article is by Val Katayev, cofounder at MobileFuse.

Each day, we generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of data – so much that 90 percent of the world’s data has been created in the last two years. This is a staggering number, and when you consider the impact data has made on digital and mobile advertising, this essentially means we have had to rewrite the book in the last two years.

At this point, everything functions as a data point; whether it’s WiFi Barbie, Fitbit, Nest Cam, or the many other connected devices– they all offer valuable nuggets of information on consumers.

The influx of big data has boosted granular targeting capabilities, and with the rate at which data is being generated, a natural question that begs to be asked is, “what’s next?”

While it’s impossible to predict the future, one of the best ways to answer this question is by looking back at the past.  When looking at the major inflection points in the space over the last decade, we can start to pull out trends and think about what’s coming next.

Catalysts in Data and Targeting

As we analyze the targeting landscape, it’s impossible to understand the current state of targeting and where we’re headed without first acknowledging the impetuses that have propelled targeting forward.

Retargeting has become so commonplace that it’s hard to remember a time when it wasn’t part of the customer experience, but in many ways this was a turning a point in the history of digital advertising. When Netscape introduced cookies in 1995, it was one of the first “a-ha” moments when the power of digital became clear, and we gained the ability to look at lower funnel activity, including what consumers look at, click on or abandon in a shopping cart.

While this was great, one key missing piece was connecting the dots across multiple screens, and this was especially glaring as mobile took off. With the introduction of device IDs though, advertisers began to solve this puzzle, and find a direct way to anonymously tie an individual and their personal data to a device. This advancement in identification provided a clear link, especially for measuring lift and effectiveness of ads.

After connecting multiple digital screens, the next major advancement was connecting this to “real-world” behaviors, and we’re seeing this being tackled with beacons and wearables. By leveraging beacon data, advertisers can send ads, coupons and product information directly to consumers in store to encourage purchases and these devices provide data on how shoppers are actually moving through stores, informing shelf merchandising and management.

The Future

As we think about the data being generated today, and the opportunities that advertisers have to leverage this data, it’s starting to become clear that the Internet of Things will usher in the next wave of new targeting technology. As the number of internet-connected devices continues to expand, covering everything from our fridges to in-home sensors, the opportunities for targeting are endless. With the help of connected in-home devices, advertisers will soon be able to target through consumption habits and in-home behaviors.

And with the IoT revolution in full swing, we may finally be able to truly connect all the pieces and provide a nearly complete picture of consumers and the mindset they are in, at any given time. We can view online behavior and retarget, we can connect online and mobile activity, we can reach consumers in store, and we will now be able to look at behavior with “non-traditional” digital devices that will provide data that has never before been used to influence advertising strategy.

While the introduction of mobile ad blockers has restarted an industry wide conversation about what is “good advertising” and what isn’t, the industry is moving so quickly that any standards we create today may be obsolete in a year. If we’ve learned anything from the past, it’s that it’s not a matter of if there will be another key inflection point but when. The time period between each catalyst has grown shorter and shorter, so my money is on sooner, rather than later.

This article was written by On Marketing from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


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