3/8/2015 - 12:00 am

Technology and Advertising: Hand in Hand

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Today, people are no longer spending much time watching television, they are no longer listening to radio, and they are no longer surfing the web only from their PC at home. The easily influenced audience has morphed into self-directed consumers who are able to control the conversation with advertisers and choose which ads are more appealing to them.

Technology, especially in the advertising industry, has created new marketing techniques. Mobile and social media platforms, specifically, are far more effective for advertisers than any other resource. Advertisers are able to utilize the web and to market to consumers in the format that makes it easier and more efficient for them. They use “Cookies” that allow several brands to focus on particular users, in the right place, at the right time.

What are “Cookies”?

Every time someone visits a webpage and clicks on banners or any other interactive button, small text files (ID tags) are stored on the computer’s browser directory or in program data subfolders. Those files are called Cookies, and they keep track of all movements within the site, remembering registration login, theme selections, preferences and any other functions such as email addresses.

The files Cookies collect are usually very small, and they can’t be used to reveal the identity or any personal identifying information. However, today’s technology allows marketers, by using sophisticated methods, to use the information that Cookies collect more aggressively, in a way that can make a profile of the consumer’s surfing habits and predict his or her interests. Because of Cookies, advertisers can now collect relevant information and direct advertisements to consumers who are more likely to be interested in them. They can even adjust and personalize their ads according to different locations.

Google, the American multinational corporation that specializes in Internet-related services and products, has gone even further. Gmail, the advertising-supported email service provided by Google, monitors everyone's email content within this service. By using key words in the email content, Google is able to promote products that may be related.

AdBlock Plus

Technology helps advertisers to track consumers’ behavior but also gives those consumers the option of rejecting advertising with the browser extension called AdBlock Plus (ABP). ABP is available for all personal computers. Its purpose is to remove all intrusive advertisements from the browsing experience such as website ads, YouTube video ads, Facebook ads, advertising pop-up windows etc. ABP applies filter rules to hide specific elements or block URLs according to a filter list.

ABP became popular so quickly that it started to seem like a threat to the advertising industry. French and German publishers filed a lawsuit against the Eyeo GmbH firm, the creator of ABP, on the grounds that it represented a major economic threat to their business. It is true that advertisers lose profits every time someone downloads this extension, but the legal action missed a critical point. By downloading the plugin ABP on a massive scale, users actually voted against the growing invasiveness of digital advertising. The lawsuit was dropped, the problem remained, and advertisers had to turn to technology once more for a solution. 

Hyper-local mobile advertising 

One of the most important changes in advertising in recent years has been the prevalence of mobile phone as compared to traditional PC users. Since mobile monitors are significantly smaller than personal computers, ads were scaled down to fit. However that was not the only change. Today's advanced mobile advertising incorporates hyper-localized methods to target consumers.

When consumers use a mobile application on their mobile phone, the app most of the time asks for “permission to access their location”. Consumers have to accept if they wish to use certain apps, and for others they won’t be able to access all the data the app has to offer if they refuse. When the consumer accepts, the app automatically knows the consumer’s GPS coordinates at all times. Right or wrong, it is very possible that these coordinates will be sold to the advertising network. Major apps like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and many other apps regarding games, dating, e-shops, gastronomy etc. ask for or require this permission.

In the future, hyper-local advertising will be very popular, the number of mobile phones will only increase, and many more wearable devices will be introduced (Apple Watch etc.). The advertising industry will no longer target an entire audience, but will focus in every individual’s needs instead. It will give them what they want and when they want it. How the audience will react is a question…


20 Fascinating Facts From the Evolution of Advertising, by Shannon Johnson, content strategist at HubSpot

1. Advertising existed as far back as 3000 BC!

2. Sixty-three percent of consumers need to hear company claims 3-5 times before they actually believe them.

3. You’re more likely to survive a plane crash than click a banner ad.

4. The first newspaper ad was in 1650, to offer a reward for 12 stolen horses.

5. The first professional advertising agency was launched in 1841, in Philly.

6. Advertising first became an academic discipline in 1900, at Northwestern.

7. Unilever & JWT first partnered in 1902, creating the longest relationship in advertising history.

8. A baby formula brand was the first to sponsor a blimp (in 1902).

9. The first ad agency to launch a product was JWT on behalf of P&G, in 1911, for a new product called Crisco.

10. The first radio ad spot was offered in 1922: $100 for ten minutes!

11. In 1929, Lucky Strike spent $12.3M on ads, the most in history to that point to promote just one product.

12. The first TV ad was for Bulova Clocks & reached 4000 TVs.

13. In 1946, the U.S. had 12 TV stations. By 2011 there were 1,700.

14. Caller ID has been around to spot telemarketers since 1981.

15. In 1993, the entire internet had 5 million users -- or 0.45% of Facebook’s current user base.

16. The first email spam was sent by the Canter & Siegel law firm in 1994.

17. In 1998, the average consumer saw 3,000 marketing messages per day.

18. In 2009, the FTC instituted a series of regulations banning untruthful customer testimonials.

19. In 2011, there were over 1 trillion pages online. That’s 417 pages for every 1 person!

20. Google's Eric Schmidt cites that “Every 2 days, we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003.”

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