In a speech at this year’s Cannes Lions advertising festival, he urged marketers to think carefully about how they will get involved with internet advertising, as its presence becomes more prominent on the PC, mobile and TV worlds.
“Marketers have thoughts about content constantly revolving round their heads, but now they have to think about how they accomplish [their marketing goals] in a new world. All content consumed will be digital – it may be in one, five or ten years time, but it will happen,” he says.
“There will be no newspapers, magazines or TV as we know it, or personal and social communication – everything will run through digital screens. They will be core – marketers must wake up to this.”
Ballmer believes that content and communications will instead become interactive and integrated, which will set advertisers new challenges online.
“Most people are reading content online and different sites deal with ads in different ways. Some are ad-funded, some don’t run any ads, and some use ad networks to deal with advertising for them. In this new world, advertisers will need to think more carefully about their ad creatives ensuring that they are relevant, pulling the interest they want and not pushing themselves on consumers,” he says.
Ballmer says that experts are currently working on making the internet suitable for the mobile and TV screen sizes in order to “make sure it looks good in all screens”. Work is also being done on its search engine Bing, currently released in beta mode, to ensure it offers the most relevant results.
“We don’t think search will be static. People look to these engines to get something done, and we will improve Bing to increase strong competition to the ad-funded search engine marketplace,” he concludes.