The ‘internet of things’ (IoT) is one of the most promising and exciting new frontiers for marketers. Our idea of what constitutes a ‘connected device’ broadens by the day, and we’ll soon see a variety of new ways to gather data and to reach consumers. Here Rich Astley, Managing Director, UK, at Videology, takes a look at some of the implications for our industry.
As the volume and variety of connected devices grows exponentially, the opportunities are endless for brands to understand, engage and reach connected audiences. The Internet of Things, or ‘IoT’, may be one of the tech industry’s favourite buzzwords, but it’s also a very real phenomenon that could spawn a ‘new industrial revolution’.
But in a world in which we’ll see 30 billion connected devices by 2020 – each with unique IP addresses – how can brand advertisers drive impact, capitalising on programmatic allocation, big data, and channel neutrality to drive efficiency? And how can they connect the dots between segmentation, ad exposure and sales in a connected, multiscreen landscape?
The IoT in real terms
When it comes to measuring the impact of the Internet of Things, analyst figures speak volumes. According to the International Data Corporation, the installed base of the IoT will be approximately 212 billion ‘things’ globally by the end of 2020. Think beyond Google glasses and watches, to everything from car windshields, to refrigerators that order food when supplies are low. Investments in this space are a sign of what’s to come – think Google’s $3.2 billion acquisition of intelligent-home company, Nest Labs.
In simple terms, the Internet of Things is about connecting objects to the cloud in order to create greater value to the user and enhance their existing experiences. The bottom-line for brand advertisers: the IoT could change the definition of advertising and what we come to think of as ‘media’ by enabling entirely new opportunities for connecting with consumers and contributing in real ways to their daily experiences.
Expect to move from channel-based buying, TV, VOD, radio, cinema to audio visual buying. After all, does it matter whether an ad is served to a particular device – whether that’s a mobile, fridge, or Google Glass – if the user is engaged, if the environment is suitable, and if brands’ requirements are satisfied?
An advertising playground
We will see a concerted effort from the entire advertising ecosystem to collaborate and mine value from the sophisticated datasets enabled by an IoT environment. In a world where every surface is a screen, a tremendous amount of data will be available for analysing. Understanding what to do with it and extracting its value is going to be the real challenge.
With more data to hand for audience targeting, combined with the efficiencies of automatic, programmatic trading, advertisers will be able to make smarter decisions for the best possible campaign results. Programmatic will continue to play a pivotal role as the toolbox that actions the insight of data, on scale and efficiency you could never do manually. It will be fundamental to have a platform that can handle the data process but then allows the intelligent allocation of ad impressions according to a multitude of variables influenced by this influx of new data.
What’s more, cross-device unique IDs will pave the way for a new, sophisticated breed of cross-channel, sequential targeting that no longer depends on the cookie. The IoT will add to existing datasets to give a more complete consumer journey, and match ad exposure to sale. For example, a marketer could know, subject to privacy laws, when you are about to run out of milk, and serve you a proximity-based ad tailored to you on a number of different channels – whether outdoors, via a wearable gadget, or mobile.
This is the holy grail of audience understanding and engagement, allowing demonstrable ROI, demonstrable drive in footfall, and attributing the advertising we see to the actions we then take. The Internet of Things, then, in unlocking unprecedented data-driven insights, opens the door to better and more varied targeting and more accurate attribution modelling.
Coupled with the power of automated, programmatic trading, it will pave the way for greater insight, accessibility and volume of data that enables brand advertisers to reach the right audience with the right message at the right time – in ways never before possible.