From Steel Carvings To Experiential Marketing: The Evolving World Of Advertising

Advertising has witnessed more change in the past 20 years than ever. The internet has not just changed how ads are seen, but also how consumers act toward them

The history of advertising is known to be traced back to ancient Egyptian steel carvings in 2000 BC. Fast forward to 1472, when the first print ad was published, and 1704, when the first newspaper ad was published. In 1835, the first U.S. billboards displayed circus posters. Then came the mid-19th Century, known to be the ‘Golden Age’, when advertising became a major force through newspapers, magazines, direct mail, radio, and television. The ads at this time had one purpose: to sell, with the product always the vanguard.

This, however, was only until online advertising emerged. Rather than selling, this evolution led to a focus on brand awareness, problem-solving, and community building. The product was now no longer at the forefront of the ad, the consumer was!

Advertising trends

Advertising has witnessed more change in the past 20 years than ever. The internet has not just changed how ads are seen, but also how consumers act toward them.

The focus has also shifted to more user-generated content, wherein consumers have become a part of the ad, rather than just passive onlookers. This marketing strategy essentially became popular with Facebook ads, when social media advertising began in 2008.

Notably, video advertising is still the top marketing medium today, considering 86 per cent of businesses leverage it as part of their strategy.

Personalised advertising is another growing trend, which involves the tracking of clicked links, customer behaviour, purchase history, survey responses, and more.

With Covid-19, the use of smartphones globally surged to 70 per cent. This led to mobile-first advertising, with brands focusing on keeping their services, sites, and advertisements mobile-ready.

Display advertising is also trending, with visual advertisements using ad banners that can be deployed on various channels such as blogs, video platforms, apps, social media, etc.

Social advertising is another – the use of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. One of the many benefits of paid social media advertisements is the sheer number of audiences they can reach.

Another trend seen is programmatic advertising, which uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to automatically buy ads that can target audiences more specifically. It is a combination of big data processing, technical skills, and automation.

Changing the landscape of digital marketing

The Covid-19 pandemic has driven the evolution of digital marketing, forcing several businesses to focus more on and invest more in digital visibility.

Covid times have been great in terms of changes in digital marketing strategies. These will certainly influence digital marketing trends in the coming years. Some of these trends include Metaverse, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and cookies.

Metaverse is an internet-based unified 3D virtual world that can be accessed by anyone who uses special metaverse gear. It is simply a virtual digital world, which can be accessed over the Internet. In times to come, the metaverse is expected to unlock limitless possibilities for its users.

To do so, the metaverse will consist of NFTs, which are blockchain-based digital assets. Every NFT consists of a smart contract that is used to secure a digital asset. This code-based contract is permanently published on a Blockchain.

Making it ‘personal’

The world is craving for ‘touch and feel’ or ‘meet and greet’ experiences, more so post the pandemic-led lockdowns. The advertising world is no different, giving a push to what is called experiential marketing – a strategy that engages people by using interactive methods and ensures an unforgettable experience.

The method involves experiences such as events, in-store activities, product showcases, pop-up stores, mobile events, parties, and samplings that help a brand interact with customers. Although these experiences are typically in person, they often have digital components, with the whole package designed to bring a brand to life in a meaningful way.

Essentially, there are four types of experiential marketing campaigns: guerrilla marketing, brand activation, event marketing, and retail installations.

Advertising has come a long way – evolving with the technology at hand.

It is important to integrate design, technology, marketing, and digital strategies to produce remarkable experiences and engagement for customers.


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