I need to tell you something: my Spidey-sense is tingling.
I have a feeling that we are about to have another big shift in advertising. There are rumblings that seem to suggest that the big boys of the technology/media world are going to make a major push. Our future hasn’t simply flowed out in front of us for several years. It comes in bursts and fits among long periods of calm. The financial downturn and the overall lack of enthusiasm for consumer marketing was one of those periods of calm, and it’s just about over.
There’s a lot happening, and it’s all part of the same underlying trend. I think there’s one root cause that’s driving the supply side (publishers), the demand side (brands), and the underlying infrastructure (the tech companies), and that is, bluntly, the need for speed.
Collapsing Time to Nothing
In media, we have gone from the "CBS Evening News" to "The Situation Room." We have gone from browsing the Web to always on. We have gone from personal websites to blogs to Twitter feeds. We have gone from documentaries to live feeds. We live in a world where we want what’s happening to be piped into our lives now, and there seems to be no limit to the number of windows we can have open or devices we can interact with. We are on a human-media quest for real time, and it’s time advertising joins in.
The term real time has been applied to a few different corners of technology, and has been adopted from computer science. The technical definition of real-time computing is, well, totally beyond my comprehension. You’re welcome to try to sort it out here. But, in practice, real time has come to mean that time gaps between an event occurring, our ability to see or know about that event, and the feedback that comes from our reaction to that event, have been eliminated. That is, something happens and we know about it as though we were there, regardless of where we are.
In advertising, we are beginning to not only understand this need for speed, but also have the tools to take advantage of the opportunity. This means that advertisers (and publishers and technology providers) can continue to push forward with innovations, but toward a particular direction of making advertising not only more responsive, but also integrated with consumer’s lives.
Here are ways that this is happening:
All of this is accelerating our work and making us into better, more nimble advertisers, who are not just interested in crafting the perfect message, but being the perfect brand.
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Gary Stein is SVP, strategy and planning in iCrossing's San Francisco office. He has been working in marketing for more than a decade. Gary lives in San Francisco with his family. Follow him on Twitter: @garyst3in. The opinions expressed in Gary's columns are his alone.