Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ad Tech in the Year 2015. You Know You Want To Know!

Integration is a word similar to convergence.  On a continuum scale moving from left to right, integration would be to the left of convergence. The reason I mention this is because everything in mobile tech is integrating or converging. Two prime examples are when I wrote about the virtual convergence of the Mobile Operating System experience across multiple mobiles devices and the physical convergence of your smartphone and tablet, although the latter is still some time away.

So what exactly am I foreseeing to integrate today? It's the integration of advertising technology into your mobile experience across all screen sizes. Let me start by providing a 'cocktail napkin' overview of the ad tech industry. Firstly we have the Display Banner Ads that you see on websites and apps. Secondly, the Search Ads, dominated by Google, are the ones you see on search results pages of Google, Yahoo! and Bing.

Example of Search Ad: I searched for 'toyota' and I was also served an ad for VW.

Lastly, Native Ads have gained momentum ever since Facebook rolled out their 'sponsored stories' ad offering in early 2012. Twitter has subsequently followed with their native offering in the form of 'promoted tweets' and Pinterest, one of the fastest growing social media sites, is expected to rely on a native offering centered around  its treasure trove of grid-like pinned images. All three ad types rely on user-information tracking cookies to customize the served ad to the viewer.  For example if a user searches for a pair of jeans, she might see ads from Gap or Levis or any other jeans retailer. I've detailed the behind-the-scene workings of the ad tech industry here.

Now that we are up to speed with the different ad types, lets begin with the proposed integration of advertising technology in to the mobile experience. Imagine yourself watching your favorite streaming TV show on your smart TV. At this point it doesn't really matter which OS is powering the smart TV, but lets just say you have Google TV installed. Your Google TV login credentials will be the same as the one on your Android phone. Thus, Google will be able to track your activity across all devices while you use them simultaneously.  Imagine Google being able to track the fact that you are looking up a pair of jeans on your tablet you saw the character wearing on the show you are watching at that moment. Thereafter Google can show you ads about Jeans because its algorithms figured out you are interested in purchasing a pair of jeans you saw on a TV show. Imagine an 'Inbox' of ads on your Android account that you can access from your all your devices. These ads won't be half as intrusive as the regular ads you see because Google will serve you highly customized ads for products you are interested in purchasing. The ad inbox can also help you with price comparisons or deals for the product you've been waiting to buy. Imagine the ad inbox displayed in a grid fashion with images of the product; a layout like that of Pinterest. 

Pinterest Layout for 'Jeans'
The engagement level on Pinterest proves that its layout of crisp clear and beautiful pictures has helped the site to become the fastest growing to have reached 10 million user. 

Source: BizRate Insights via

Source: BizRate Insights via

You control what you want to see in your ad inbox. Think of a slider button that you can move towards 'more customized ads' or 'more generalized ads.''  Yeah you can tell I like sliding scales. An ad inbox deeply integrated with your Android-Google account that displays customized, aesthetically appealing ads with price information in a simple yet elegant design. You definitely don't want the ads to be intrusive, so the ads won't show up on your TV while you watch your streaming shows.  However, you can hit the pause button and the TV screen switches to an interactive ad billboard, featuring the ads from your ad inbox in a pinterest-like layout. Not just on your TV screen, but the ad inbox can be displayed on your smartphone home screen in the form of a auto-scrolling Widget.  In addition to the Widget or the smart TV 'billboard' concept, you could simply open the ad inbox app and view the super-targeted ads. Ad inbox getting too cluttered for your taste?  No problem, delete the ones you don't want or slice-n-dice the ads based on product category, price, retailer, etc.  Make your final purchase based on your perfect balance of product quality and price.  Once you make the purchase, the inbox will be smart enough to auto-delete the ads for that particular product...of course only until the algorithms track that you've searched for that product again in the future. Advertisers can promote their ads by bidding higher on the ad tech marketplace.  The ecosystem will allow 3rd party players from within the ad tech industry to plug in and access device activities which allow 3rd party apps to show super-targeted ads within their apps to users.  All this in real-time. Any other logical integrations in to this concept?  I almost forgot Digital Wallet.  Google Glass integration?  Let's not get carried away for now. 

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