2018 promises to be an exciting year for the development and use of cutting-edge marketing technologies, with artificial intelligence (AI) and native advertising adoption only set to rise as more businesses embrace digital experiences and recognise their value.
Dale Lovell, chief digital officer at AdYouLike and author of Native Advertising, says: “In an ad marketplace where context is increasingly the criteria for success, the more data – and learnings from that data garnered in real-time – the greater the performance will be.
“High-performing native advertising units combined with AI offer a deeper semantic understanding and granularity on campaigns. 2018 will see brands embrace this fully. In fact, by the end of the year, any platform or partner without an AI capability for ad targeting will start to look increasingly dated.”
In addition to AI, marketers are turning to dynamic creative optimisation (DCO) to transform their digital ad experiences: a display ad technology that creates personalised ads based on data gleaned at the moment of serving the ad. DCO makes it possible for brands to engage in one-to-one conversations with users where situational data, environmental factors, time of day, weather, live information and user data, can all be added to increase the campaign relevance and performance.
“We’ll see more and more marketers embrace this in 2018,” says Lovell. “Forget wider fads and spin – this is what now sits at the core of advertising innovation.”
Yet with technology’s incredible ability to immediately and efficiently meet our consumer needs, comes a huge demand for brands to deliver impeccable customer experience. “The internet of things (IoT) has created a rise of ‘invisible digital’, where technology is hidden in everyday objects and behavioural triggers generate data or output,” explains Shirra Smilansky, CEO of Electrify Worldwide Ltd and author of Experiential Marketing.
She adds: “2018 is the age of ultimate choice, where consumers expect authenticity from brands. They are no longer impressed by personalisation – they demand it.”
One thing that becomes increasingly clear, however, is that the world of digital marketing is noisy, with more channels, content and ads competing for people’s attention than ever before. That’s why Daniel Rowles, CEO of Target Internet Ltd and author of Digital Branding, recommends occasionally looking back in order to drive things forward.
“Transmedia storytelling goes back to the very beginning of marketing. In fact, it goes back to the very beginning of language and communication. If you are told a fact, it is likely that you will forget it fairly quickly. However, if you are told a story that communicates a fact, you’ll most likely remember it; it brings it to life, gives it context and makes it engaging.”
Transmedia storytelling ties each marketing channel and platform together using narrative. This leads to more memorable and engaging experiences. It also relies on excellent creative concepts and absolute attention to detail when understanding and managing the user journey.
For example, many effective transmedia campaigns use gamification to draw the audience into the narrative by rewarding the user in some way – thus encouraging behaviours. The key thing that makes this work is ensuring that the reward is valuable to the user.
Transmedia storytelling and gamification are nothing new: it’s just narrative and reward. However, marketers that choose to place transmedia storytelling within their live and interactive brand experiences – focusing on an authentic narrative – can win lasting attention and advocacy from their customers in 2018 and beyond.
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