We are edging ever closer to a seamless existence, where technology, lifestyle and advertising are becoming one. Consumers don't want to be shouted at by billboards and irritating toilet ads.
Four key variables stand out when looking at online advertising:
More people are spending more time online. In order to build brands, you need to have presence in areas where your potential consumers are engaging. It has been proven across media that frequency is key to brand recall.
As online usage in South Africa increases, brand managers need to look to online as a brand-building platform. With most advertisers being directed towards search-based text ads for online advertising, it is wise to note that multiple research papers have shown that display advertising and especially rich media display advertising have a marked increase in conversions in search ad campaigns.
In the digital world we choose our level of engagement. The 'Net has become a necessity to all who have access to it, primarily because of its incredible efficiency in terms of connecting Internet users to the information that they seek with great ease.
When browsing the 'Net, users come across information that is of specific interest to them and, when interacting with this content, are pleasantly surprised to find advertising relevant to their current state of mind.
This is echoed by smart advertisers looking to engage with customers in channels that match their brands, which has been proven by the high clickthrough rates achieved by motoring clients in motoring channels or film distributors who place their ads in entertainment or celebrity gossips environments.
Online advertising and especially rich media advertising allow brands to go as far as interacting with a user in real time within the ad unit via either a Twitter stream, real-time chat or connection to a custom advertiser content.
This advanced level of interactive advertising affords the advertiser the choice of how much information they wish to garner and what to do with this information. The depth of engagement is in the users' control, allowing them to do everything from previewing a gallery, analysing the specs of a car or making a live enquiry to the local dealer - all from within an advert appearing alongside related content online.
The last, and possibility the most important component, is purchase. In the online space, you should have a seamless connection between the advertising message and the ability to make a purchase. This speaks to immediacy, where users are now able to activate a purchase online, book holidays and airline tickets, buy groceries - the list is endless and is rapidly growing as people become more familiar with the ecommerce environment.
In this time-starved life we lead, we need advertising that enhances our lives, saves us time and engages with us in a meaningful manner - online advertising is able to do this better than any other media type and it is only getting started...