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In Loving Memory of Advertising

Advertising has been around since the dawn of time. Well, maybe not exactly. But it’s safe to say that it’s been around at least for as long as people have been selling products. There’s a problem though. Who would have thought that the death of advertising is already looming ahead? It won’t be a quick one though. It will be a rather extended, somewhat gory ordeal.
Still, some may advocate for a metamorphosis, an evolution of sorts rather than a strict death per se. Whether it shall ultimately be akin to a rebirth or a true and undeniable death, the fact of the matter remains that in about 10 years give or take; advertising will be dead-obsolete, defunct, extinct.

You may ask how? Why? I know I would. It has to do mainly with one thing. The medium is the message as Naomi Klein has been saying for quite some time. The technology that constitutes the main root cause of advertising’s death already exists today. A few years more, coupled with a heavy dose of creativity, and these technologies will surely flourish further. So what kind of technologies are these? Some of them include social buy buttons, near field communications, web and mobile buy buttons, Apple Pay or what is known as mobile wallets, smart TVs and touchscreens. Touchscreens…everywhere… When these technologies are combined, the ‘advertisement’ we’re all familiar with – a prompt that would encourage its viewers to buy in a separate medium would be essentially replaced with a system where the customers purchase directly. Such technology offers the additional function of a sales channel and what will happen is that customers will never experience ‘the funnel’ itself. Less friction sounds lovely.

In the long run, the method of advertising that we’re all familiar with will certainly lose traction if it doesn’t cease to exist altogether. Recent research has shown that human attention spans have never been shorter.
As a result, people are more likely to research and discover new ways that would adapt to shorter, lazier even, attention spans.
An average person in the western world would spend an estimated 8-12 hours to daily media consumption. ZenithOptimedia reported that there is an increase of 105% in the amount of time we spend on the internet. While this may sound amazing it creates an inefficiency. The ubiquity of information is one of the highest contributing factors to shorter attention spans. Alongside such developments, a rise in shopping cart abandonment was reported by Baymard Institute in the same period as the above data by Zenith.
With such a short chance to really get noticed, it’s a given that too much clicking is getting overwhelming for consumers and brands alike. It might just be that people do not like to research alternatives much. Or, perhaps it makes people impatient to have to go through the process of clicking through the product page until eventually landing on the shipping information. How many clicks would that be in total? I won’t even count.
So what’s the next big thing in advertising?
Basically, the line between sales channels and marketing will disappear. Consumers will no longer need to pause or stop whatever it is they’re doing just so they can make a mere purchase. It will be a more convenient, seamless experience. To some it may seem like an impossible feat, but if we examine major tech giants in recent months, they have made announcements on a form of ecommerce. For example, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest have Buy Buttons. Google already allows purchases. YouTube has Shoppable Ads. Finally, Ecommerce is accessible via Apple TV.
So when you’re surfing through the net and scrolling through Facebook, as soon as you see a book you like, you can easily purchase it and then -just as easily- go back to your scrolling.
It will also eradicate the challenge of looking for the best gift for your loved ones. If they have a Pinterest account, you can just access their “Wish list”, “Favorites”, or “Things I Want” boards. You don’t need to get out of Pinterest because you can just buy it through the website. You can even simply look for the product through Google and when the search comes out, you can just buy it directly. Pretty awesome, right?
What’s more, this experience for buyers is not limited to social media and search engines. Because of the buy button that’s embeddable; content, marketing and buying will be a unified ordeal.
The major advantage of this is that the competition for getting attention in channels will decrease. Ecommerce has been steadily growing strong and has maybe reached double digits in recent years. When people can eventually buy directly from their trusted sources such as blogs, podcasts and news sources, the popularity of ecommerce will reach its peak. Boom.

Google ran tests with companies like Wayfair and Sephora, and both had positive results in terms of the revenue increase per impression and the lift in consideration and lift in ad recall.
For now, the only available medium for shoppable ads is the internet, but just a simple integration with Google Checkout can make this commonplace in television. Through this advertising, including product reviews, tutorials, unboxing videos and pre-roll ads would give consumers access to the product pages. Coupled with the easily accessible same-day shopping options, buying something has never been easier. And it can be done from anywhere. From the comfort of our homes to a snowboarding ride.

When we do get out of our house, we can see technology such as interactive touch-screen kiosks. These show the directory, display mall promotions, play movie trailers, advertise local businesses and even have games for kids. If this platform develops and the ads incorporate Buy Buttons in their design, consumers could easily buy something while they’re doing another activity at the same time. Say for example, a customer orders plenty of stuff on the touchscreen. These orders would be sent to the retailers who will do the shopping. On the other hand, the customer will have ample time to do other activities. The customer will just pick up the orders in an express lane or have them delivered to the house or the office.
It doesn’t stop there because this technology can be adapted to fit smaller screens such as in taxis, in gas pumps and in airplanes where it’s possible to purchase Broadway tickets, dinner reservations, refreshments, maintenance items, or even clothes. These locations will make the customers susceptible to different advertisement schemes that may entice them into buying, especially with how quick and easy these are. These small moments wherein an ad has the undivided attention of a potential customer is crucial in order to make a sale in the world of low attention spans.

People have come a long way in advertising, and the future is still uncertain as to the new methods and techniques that will be used in the field. Advertising, as we know it, may have its final breath in the not so distant future but it will be replaced with a kind of advertising that is dynamic and attention-gripping, a medium which is impossible to look away from. The exact effect of this is still unknown, but the unknown has always been both attractive and scary. Perhaps it’s what makes it all the more exciting for everyone. The best is yet to come but for the time being we can sit back and enjoy the countless benefits of organic growth, honest social media, amazing content and quality retargeting.

Featured image sourced from flickr