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In Loving Memory of Advertising

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 for at least 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?

It won’t be a quick death 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.

The death of advertising

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; traditional advertising will be dead. Obsolete, defunct, extinct.

You may ask how? Why? I know I would. Its mainly to do 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. And in a few years time, coupled with a heavy dose of creativity, this technology will be flourishing.

Web 3.0

So what kind of technology are we talking about? Well, thanks to the growth of the internet and e-commerce, we now have a raft of ways to consume and pay for products, including:

  • Social buy buttons
  • Near-field communication devices
  • 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 viewers to buy in a separate medium, would be replaced with a system whereby the customer purchases directly at the time of viewing using a mobile device.

Such technology offers the additional function of acting as a sales channel, but with one major difference. The 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.

The challenge posed by shorter attention spans

Recent research has shown that human attention spans have never been shorter. As a result, businesses need to find new ways of promoting their products and services. Ways that will adapt to shorter, lazier attention spans.

An average person in the western world spends an estimated 8-12 hours on 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 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 from Zenith.

With such a small window of time available to get your products 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. Or, perhaps it makes people impatient having to navigate through the purchase process, from the product page through to shipping information, until eventually landing on the order confirmation page. 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 take a look at a few of the major tech giants, they have all made e-commerce announcements in recent months.

For example, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest have introduced Buy Buttons. Google already allows for purchases directly from search results. YouTube has Shoppable Ads. And finally, e-commerce 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.

These technologies 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 leave Pinterest to make the purchase 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?

Buy Buttons, everywhere!

This experience is not limited to social media and search engines. Because the Buy Button is embeddable; content, marketing and buying will become unified.

The major advantage of this is that the competition for getting attention within sales channels will decrease. When people can eventually buy directly from their trusted sources such as blogs, podcasts and news sources, the popularity of e-commerce will reach its peak. Boom.

Google ran tests with companies like Wayfair and Sephora, with both showing revenue increase per impression and a lift in ad recall.

The future is bright. The future is Smart TVs & Touchscreens

For now, the only available medium for shoppable ads is the internet, but just a simple integration with Google Checkout can make this commonplace on television.

Through television, product reviews, tutorials, unboxing videos and pre-roll ads would give consumers access to product pages directly.

Coupled with easily accessible same-day delivery options, buying something has never been easier. And it can be done from anywhere.

When we leave the house, we often see new technology around us such as interactive touch-screen kiosks. Showing us shopping mall promotions, movie trailers and advertisements for local businesses. If this platform develops further, incorporating Buy Buttons into their design, consumers could easily buy something while they’re doing another activity.

Say, for example, a customer orders plenty of stuff on the touchscreen. These orders would be sent to the retailers who will do the shipping. 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 those seen in taxis, at gas pumps and in aeroplanes, where it’s possible to purchase Broadway tickets, dinner reservations, refreshments 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 they are to use.

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.

The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change

Advertising has come a long way, 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