What’s Tech Got To Do With It?

Native advertising is moving beyond paid advertising that mimics the look, feels and function of the content and the platform to complement your experience, in an effort to increase content consumption

Have you ever wondered how the ads you watch have chosen you? Why do you keep coming back to your favorite streaming app, e-commerce site or video sharing platform? Is it out of choice or have you been guided down a path that leads to your favorite content?

If you are a fashion aficionado you might have seen Balenciaga’s full collection launch as a video game in early December on Twitter. We saw a well-known burger brand launch a gamified campaign that reached the famous adblocker generation. Epic Games launched a three-week interactive concert with leading artists and plan to make virtual concerts and a tour stop on the island part of the band's brand. 

Closer to home in India, we all watched live sports events, especially the IPL that was supported by gaming, e-commerce integrations to engage with die-hard cricket fans. Recently a leading food delivery app introduced a new way for Netflix to get our attention without making us feel guilty, you can watch what's coming up on Netflix as a video while you watch a small bike bring your food closer to you all in the same window.  With all of us held captive by the pandemic, audio apps got a new lease on life and saw us discovering new podcasts, sponsored by brands - both consumer & enterprise and we listened to more music in 2020 than we ever have.  

If you were not as obsessed with decoding ad placements like I am, these ads might not even be noticed, as you went on with your day. Stop for a moment and think about how and why an ad was placed before you. Why you? Why that brand? Why that platform? Why that content?

Welcome to a new world of native advertising, tech stacks and experiential marketing on overdrive! 

Native advertising is moving beyond paid advertising that mimics the look, feels and function of the content and the platform to complement your experience, in an effort to increase content consumption. While this is still entrenched in the basics of brand engagement, today, we live in a world where all the bits and bytes of data become the pillars of audience intelligence and addressable advertising. The result of this is a complex network of ad tech, automation and artificial intelligence that makes the ease of appealing to you a marketer’s dream, designed to bring to you information about brands; both new and well-loved. 

Here’s some context to how digital dollars are spent, with technology being a driving force.

There was a time when brand advertising was relegated to the CPM only game. Where volumes were needed to make a difference to the brand, innovation was largely relegated to contextual placements and a customer’s experience was not central to this game. 

With new ways of understanding audiences through technology and platforms being able to innovate faster, well spent ad dollars to approach your consumer at the right time with the right content, instead of a mere volume game, becomes far more rewarding to both advertisers and consumers. Like the stock exchange, there are myriad tech interventions that serve an ad in less than 200 milliseconds, to a targeted audience.

This begs the question of how scalable creating hooks within virtual concerts, games and content is, and how demand will be generated and serviced. Programmatic advertising is a way of selling and you can make it as scalable as your technology stack to support it, in that direct deals can also be programmatic and programmatic deals can also be direct. 

At Voiro, one of our favorite product interview questions is to break down the Netflix homepage with certain constructs. How would you build the page, if you were the product manager? How would you dice data such as viewer history, viewing time of day, need for editorial control, driving organic discovery, cross-category discovery and so on? Content platforms have this information first hand and similar fundamentals come into play with advertising, so what is the best way to design, analyze and make inferences from your customer data?

Creativity and great content have always existed. We have favorite brands right from our childhood days. We remember their campaigns, endorsers and of course the jingles! But then again everyone didn’t like the same things and this is the point of contextual advertising.

Enter Audience Intelligence, the bedrock of recommendation engines, design grids, and the silent navigator of all your information. This is your guide through the incredible amount of choices we make every day and the content creators and distributors who serve this content to us - whether as our favorite shows or our favorite ads! That’s the power of content, technology and advertising in a consumer’s life. And why a well-known ad tech company just raised ~$ 100 million in a target topping IPO recently, validating the rise of ad tech, automation and advertising as models that will continue to be the beating heart of the industry.

That’s what tech’s got to do with it, to tweak a line from one of my favorite singers - Tina Turner, (a memorable brand, in her own right) who remixed a track from 1984 in 2020 and is still breaking records.

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