The year that was: 5 advertising trends from 2013

No more Mad Men. Advertising is heading online faster than ever, as the digital landscape becomes easier terrain for targeting consumers. Flickr/Orobi

The advertising industry appears to be locked into the perpetual cycle of continuous change, fuelled by the combination of the rapid and ongoing evolution of new and disruptive technologies and the increasing intensity of competition over the advertising dollar.

In this look back across the year, Rob Livingstone writes on five emerging trends that have begun or taken off in the last twelve months.


1. More data, more precision

Technologies such as website and predictive analytics supported by big data are facilitating ever increasing precision on how, where and when the advertising messages can be delivered to individuals.

This, combined with the fact that we are all adopting new and emerging technologies at an accelerating pace, is constantly creating new opportunities for advertisers to insert themselves into every aspect of our online lives.

And the speed with which our every move can now be tracked in real-time, wherever and whenever we interact with any technology, presents real opportunities for real-time, targeted marketing.

2. Online advertising doubles

PricewaterhouseCoopers recently released the Australian Online Advertising Expenditure Report for the quarter ending September 2013.

Quarterly online advertising expenditure exceeded $1 billion for the first time, up 25% compared to the same quarter in 2012. Of note was video display advertising accounting for 14.6% of total general display advertising. This was double the expenditure in the same quarter in 2012.

In the US market, research firm BIA/Kelsey is predicting that advertising expenditure through social media will reach $11 billion in 2017, up from $4.7 billion in 2012. This all adds up to big dollars globally and is likely to get bigger still. Big dollars means big business, and with that comes influence.

3. More pressure on social media

With the public listing of social media providers like Twitter, the pressure is on newly listed social media firms to generate a real, rather than speculative financial return. This will only add to demands to exploit and monetise every possible niche in the market.

The internet used to be “free”. What started out as a free lunch is rapidly turning out to be banquet of opportunity for online advertisers and service providers keen to maximise every niche of this online space.

Given that the ownership rights over user created content on most social media sites is not always clear, the potential to monetise the user created content on social media sites is not to be ignored.

The volume and variety of the information generated by users on social media sites presents an interesting opportunity for marketers to utilise predictive analytics to further refine their ability to generate individualised, targeted advertising based on this user created social media content.

4. Near field communications

No longer a flight of fancy or anachronistic hobby project, near field communication is helping advertisers to connect with their target markets. This often takes the form of a poster or billboard on which readable near field communication tags have been placed.

These tags contain information like the web address of the advertiser or information relating to a sales promotion, and is read by a smartphone held briefly near the “tap point” on the poster.

When coupled with targeted mobile advertising, near field communication is a simple yet powerful opportunity for advertisers to engage users with targeted content and add value to the interaction, long after the initial tap.

5. The end of conventional advertising?

The primary advantage of online advertising is that its effectiveness can be measured with great precision and speed.

Possibly for the first time, advertisers are able to make decisions based on facts, in real-time, rather than opinions or statistical probabilities derived after the fact.

That’s worth gold in the right hands.

Those predicting the end of the conventional advertising model may not have long to wait to see how the traditional advertising industries survive the Darwinian forces of evolution fuelled by a rapidly changing technology landscape.