The Future of Online Advertising

Posted on 24. May, 2007 in Online Advertising

I’m often asked this question:  Where is online advertising headed?   To answer this question, you must first contemplate what the web itself will be like in the near future.
 Here is my prediction…
o    Within the next 10 years, traditional search as we know it will die.  You won’t go to Google or Yahoo and do a search to find that article you are looking for or that restaurant you want to try.  It will all be about referrals.  Everything will be socially influenced.  Everything will be rated, tagged, and reviewed.  All of your purchase decisions, travel destinations, and even things you do for fun will be influenced by ‘your’ personal network.   Your circle of business and personal contacts.  The sites that you visit regularly will become very niche specific, more local, centralized and personalized to exactly your taste.   Personalized homepages will become the norm, but not necessarily browser based, mainly desktop and wireless device based.  You won’t always boot up your computer and open a browser window anymore.  Most things you use will be integrated into your PC already in the form of tools and widgets, the content instantly updated and information always on.   Everything will be a mash-up of multiple tools, applications will be open source and/or completely customizable to your personal specifications.  Almost everyone will have a ‘My Face’, 2nd life or virtual identity, even if you don’t want one, one might be created for you.

o    So how will online advertisers get to users if they are no longer using search engines or even web browsers?    Here are a few suggestions:
§  Branded Customizable Widgets.   If users are circumventing your website via RSS feeds and desktop widgets you’re going to have to own the tools.
§  Social Influencer Advertising.  Yes, in the very near future, I see everyday people with sponsorships.   Forget Tiger Woods and Sidney Crosby indorsing AMEX, it will be people like Mike Arrington, Tia Tequila & Amber MacArthur getting endorsement contracts to use and promote products.  Forget regular rock stars, these people are internet rock stars.
§  Second Company.   Virtual worlds will be overrun with real life products, promotions and advertising of all sorts.  If your company doesn’t have a presence in a virtual world environment, it will be as if you don’t exist in the real world.
§  Branded Customizable Widgets.   If users are circumventing your website via RSS feeds and desktop widgets you’re going to have to own the tools.
§  Blog Advertising.  This will become more important as readers slowly trend towards reading more niche focused sites geared specifically to their interests and local.
§  Smart mobs.  When you have a group of random people who are mass buying individual products to get group discounts won’t be able to be marketed to in the traditional sense.  You might want to give away a sample product to the mob boss or perhaps even sponsor them?
Want to meet up and discuss this further?  I’ll be at the Future of Online Advertising conference June 7-8.  (Note* This post was not a paid placement or endorsed by FOOA, but in the future it may very well be… ~ Advertise Space