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How technology is changing online advertising

Advertisers need to adapt to new technology or they risk being ignored online. Automation, social media and augmented reality are tools that advertisers should explore.

The internet has drastically changed the advertising industry, and it continues to change as new technology and platforms are released.

“Advertising on the internet has become a double-edged sword: There are more platforms and places to advertise than ever before, but at the same time, consumers are being shown so much advertising throughout the day that it takes something special to grab their attention,” said Halli Bruton, content and social media account executive with Burdette Ketchum.


Automation has found its place in nearly all facets of the internet, and advertising is no different. The internet is a large net of data and information on consumers, and there’s no way advertisers can browse all that data to build profiles of their ideal customers. Algorithms are essential for analyzing that info and putting it to use. Automated advertising platforms save time and money by freeing up advertisement departments that need to build and manage countless ad campaigns.

The automated platforms use data to bid on ad space, detecting which ads are doing better and putting in more bids for the ones that result in more conversions. Of course, you set a cap on how much the platform spends on ad space. These automated platforms can be set to run until they reach a certain ROI.

The other end of this process is also likely automated, with algorithm-based platforms like Google AdSense automatically selling ad space for websites. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), about 20 percent of digital advertising business is done by one machine interacting with another, and that number is rapidly growing.

Social media and mobile

As of 2017, 69 percent of U.S. adults use at least one social media platform, according to the Pew Research Center. It’s a no-brainer to sell ads on social media. Fortunately, the major sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, have robust advertising platforms. Furthermore, a staggering 80 percent of users interact with social media on mobile devices, according to WordStream, which calls for optimized advertising for the medium.

The highest-performing ads on social media are ones that take advantage of geolocation technology on mobile devices, allowing for hyperlocal ads to target users within a predetermined area.

Video is also a growing medium for advertising that’s catching people’s attention. According to a Kissmetrics blog post, video on social media gets much more engagement than non-video ads. On YouTube, viewers are 1.4 times more likely to watch and share ads on mobile. A popular type on social media is video that doesn’t require sound and uses subtitles, allowing for non-disruptive viewing in public.

It’s not just about advertising on the biggest social media platforms. Companies like Nanigans sell advertising space on various mobile apps and games, allowing advertisers to get in on the action if these fledgling apps have the potential to go viral.

Native advertising

Native advertising is on the rise, with advertisements being integrated into popular content sites, bringing back the old line of “this program was brought to you by …” Traditional advertising, depending on your audience, is falling by the wayside, especially with the rise of adblocking software. Advertisers need new, creative ways to get their messages to viewers and actually get them to listen.

Many advertising networks now include native advertising packages, offering opportunities for sponsored articles that blend in with the rest of a platform’s content.

“Everything on the internet is branded, whether consumers realize it or not. It has been proven to be more effective than other forms on the internet,” Bruton said. “Advertisers are expected to provide content that is engaging and either entertaining or insightful.”

The goal of native advertising is to be nondisruptive to users, and companies like AdYouLike create ads that fit into a website or platform’s style and format.

Getting creative with new tech

“The internet has allowed good, creative advertising to be more effective, because it’s easier than ever to find and track the target audience for optimal effectiveness,” Bruton said. “However, if the advertising is bad, it won’t matter how well the audience has been targeted.”

Advertisers need to keep looking forward as the internet changes and new technology develops. It will take creativity from advertisers to monetize new platforms.

“The big boom of augmented reality is happening, as phone manufacturers are already developing AR-capable devices, and that creates a large window of untapped potential for advertisers,” Bruton said.

Snapchat’s various filters for photos are a form of AR, and they are becoming more impressive and already being used by marketers.

While mobile is currently king of online engagement, wearable tech, like the Apple Watch, is gaining traction and likely is already being examined by advertisers.

No matter how niche or fad-like, no trendy app, platform or device should be ignored for advertising potential. In a time when traditional advertising is continually being ignored by the changing demographics, advertisers need to change and adapt.

by Andreas Rivera