Omnipresent and invisible
Prominent early adopters are only beginning to scratch the surface of the future of advertising. Google Search is a prime example of content merging with advertising. The top-five search results, where paid ads display, generate more than 50% of clicks.
Companies like Tesla Motors are capitalising on this new advertising reality. Its marketing plan lets its unique engineering — and Elon Musk, its celebrity CEO — do the talking, through YouTube videos, Reddit posts, TV news, even film cameos. Word of mouth does the rest. Its advertising budget? Zero.1 It’s market value? Nearly $60 billion.2
Brands like Red Bull are also devising strategies so creatively integrated across content and advertising that consumers are less aware they’re part of the marketing engine. With every extreme video that Red Bull produces — and its loyal followers eagerly share — the company reaps millions of impressions.
Ads are becoming ever more attuned to context. For example, you’re thinking about dinner, so you ask Alexa for fried chicken recipes; you’re offered one sponsored by a poultry company; you tell Alexa to have your local online grocer deliver three pounds of that company’s chicken that afternoon.
The great virtue of contextual knowledge at this level is that the target audience is much further down the marketing funnel than when viewing other kinds of ads, meaning they are ready and willing to buy.
The rules of consumer engagement in advertising are changing rapidly. New technologies are making ads both easier to consume and easier to respond to. How far advertisers take these new methods, and how consumers ultimately respond to them, remains to be seen.
One thing is certain, though: Advertising will become even more integrated into consumers’ daily lives.