For generations, we have been bombarded with adverts from brands through various channels, including Newspapers, Magazines, TV, Radio, and more recently the Internet. Mobile technologies have turned marketing techniques on their head, replacing push techniques with pull marketing strategies, allowing customers to decide when and where to consume ad content.
Though traditional channels of advertising are still holding their ground, technology has transformed the way we interact with our ads and gather information.
Let's take a look into some innovative technologies being used in the ad industry, along with game-changer technologies that may arrive in the near future…
Barcodes are a tried-and-tested inventory management tool, allowing retailers to store, identify and retrieve information regarding products, with widespread usage in inventory control, invoicing and billing applications.
This simple technology is also being used in advertising, to create and distribute product information like features, prices, offers and availability of stock to consumers. Scanning the barcode on your mobile will take you to the website or activate your mobile app, to give you the relevant information.
Barcode technology has made ads miles more intelligent. Not only can you download offers such as discount coupons from the website or mobile app, you can also place the order and pay for it through your mobile application... smart ads indeed!
Quick Response (QR) Codes are similar to barcodes, except they have encrypted information within the square block. We need to scan the QR code with our mobile device to unlock access to the information it stores. This feature has been used in smart ads to store and distribute content to consumers.
Customers are further encouraged to consume ad content by being rewarded with gifts, coupons and offers in real time. Many consumer-facing brands will adopt such advertising to encourage impulse buys, especially for low ticket purchases that don’t require much time to make a decision, like snacks.
Near Field Communication (NFC) technology is used in proximity marketing. By placing an NFC tag in posters, billboards and other physical display systems, adverts enable customers to connect with the website and explore the products and services they are interested in.
Furthermore, businesses can use NFC technology to serve personalised ad content, based on the customer's previous purchase behaviour; new products can be suggested based on their social media interactions.
Assume you are chatting with your friend on social media about the latest trends in fashion and wondering what will feature in summer or winter collections. This social interaction will trigger brands to design personalised ad content and offers for you. So when you’re in a shopping centre, for example, they can draw you in with these suggestions using iBeacon technology.
The future of smart ads
In the very near future, the ad industry is going to take a new leap in the area of on-demand advertising, creating better customer experiences with AR & VR, CUI, and voice assistants.
Though it is too early to predict the impact of these technologies on future ads, there are huge possibilities for making our ads more interactive and engaging, potentially leading to purchases in real time.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality allows the advertiser to engage consumers by empowering them to customise their product offering. It allows customers to change the layout of furniture in an apartment, change the colour of a car, or add accessories onto a high ticket purchase, before making a decision.
Aurasma is an augmented reality app that allows advertisers to create live experiences of their ads. When consumers point their mobile devices at the images in ads, they present live information and visual content that provides a whole new experience of the product.
Leading brands like Disney, Argos, Budweiser and Best Western are creating interactive experiences for their customers through Aurasma. For example Best Western allows you to take a selfie with their virtual brand ambassador.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual reality technology provides immersive experiences to customers, in the form of on-demand ads. A housing developer, for example, can use virtual reality to give prospective buyers a walkthrough of their apartment way before its construction, to decide whether it suits their taste and requirements.
Similarly, a tourism business can showcase their exotic destinations through VR, allowing the customer to better interact and engage with the places they are planning to visit. Finally, one can test drive a new car model even before it arrives in the showrooms.
There are several ways for brands to present these ads. The obvious choice is to show them between VR Content, such as games, to create exclusive experiences for the user. However, as VR gear becomes more widespread, the usage of these ads will be less restricted.
A busy executive, for example, might come across an ad in between meetings; simply by pointing his mobile on the ad, he can enter a whole new world of product experiences with his VR gear and the software provided by the advertiser. This technology has made advertisements non-intrusive, on demand and location independent.
CUI and voice assistants
With all the above technologies and tools in place, CUI and voice assistants can create game-changing experiences in the field of advertising, as we look forward to the beginning of the ultimate brand experience.
CUI technology is allowing our devices and software to become more interactive, personalised and engaging, enabling brands to be more proactive with their advertising. CUIs offer an immersive experience; it listens to your conversation, audio or direct instruction through voice assistants, to serve you with information about products and services.
Dual Screen Experience
Technological advancements have led to sophisticated sensors enabling dual screen ads. Durex has created the world's first dual screen experience, with its TV commercial and mobile app. When you point your smartphone to the ad playing on TV or monitor, the mobile app gets activated and exclusive content will be delivered on your mobile. This leads to a more personalised experience with AR and VR. One can go further with the integration of touch sensitivity and AI, leading to real or almost-real experiences.
The advertising landscape has been transforming at a rapid pace, moving away from static content served on rigid mediums, to more dynamic, interactive and immersive mediums with the advent of AR, VR and their hybrid cousin MR (Mixed Reality). Coupled with CUI, sensors and AI, our ads truly are becoming smarter, giving consumers the best possible experiences whilst encouraging impulse purchases.