ImageAs we enter 2014, advertising is shifting in many ways. One thing that is not changing, however, is ads themselves. Consumers are exposed to hundreds of ads per day across several touch points. Unfortunately, the majority of those ads are still of no interest to the consumer. This will be the year marketers learn how to truly activate the data they didn’t know what to do with in 2013. Consumer behavior data, coupled with location data will provide actionable information so marketers connect with customers thanks to real time insights never before utilized. 

While 2013 was all about harnessing data – in 2014, advertisers will learn how to activate their data and make it actionable and personal. Look for two major trends in 2014 that will: a) help marketers reach who they want, when they need and on the touch point that will deliver the best results; and b) give total control to the brand in every stage of an advertising campaign. The shifts in the use of data as well as planning and buying mechanisms will alter the overall advertising process in favor of the brand and the consumer.

Marketers Will Glean Information From…Well, Everything

The ‘Internet of Things’, once just an interesting academic idea about interconnected gadgets, widgets and appliances, is arriving sooner than most people think. Whether its wearable technology like a fitness band that tracks quantified self data, a refrigerator that can make grocery lists or in-car navigation systems with roadway sensors, there’s a limitless range of technologies under the Internet of Things umbrella that are offering brand advertisers access to richer consumer data and new channels that can be used to power future campaigns. 

The benefits the ‘Internet of Things’ offers to advertising are two-fold. Advertisers will be able to deliver more personalized ads to consumers actively in the market and looking for a specific product or service. These new technologies will give marketers a better understanding of the characteristics that make an individual valuable to them, in real time.

On the flip side, consumers will also benefit from the relevancy in advertising the Internet of Things delivers. For example, a consumer will receive an ad for running shoes, as they are running on a treadmill, or an advertisement for light bulbs will appear on a home automation device after a light bulb burns out. Consumers will continue to see ads, however the ads they see will be personalized to them and delivered in the right moments, eliminating ad waste and cutting out pointless noise.

Delivering to a Customer Anywhere

Opportunities for new data will keep rolling in for marketers this new-year. Mobile ad campaigns will start to leverage comprehensive analytics to hyper-target existing customers in real-time and identify avenues to connect marketers with their next customers on their most trusted device.

In 2014, brands will utilize location-based data harnessed from consumers checking into their favorite retail store or restaurant and social logins on mobile devices. Location data allows marketers to take personalization to a brand new level. Alongside data already gained from a consumer’s online behavior, brands can send targeted ads as a consumer gets closer in proximity to the physical store they have already expressed interest in. More and more consumers are turning to mobile devices as their primary screen, creating that much more data marketers can use.

The data harnessed from the innovative technologies that make up the ‘Internet of Things,’ and the new capabilities to locate a customer and deliver content depending on their proximity will prove invaluable to marketers in the years to come. However, with all these additional avenues coming online, the complexity of ad buying can seem muddled if marketers are not using the ideal tools.

Platforms Thrive. Networks Die.

As marketers continue to expand their digital footprint in 2014, they will seek more cost-effective media buying solutions that offer them the transparency, control, performance and insights they have been looking for in the past. Generic ad networks will become a thing of the past, especially as consumers continue to turn their attention to mobile screens. More touch points means more time spent game planning to reach the user across their multiple screens. Ad buying platforms will rise to the forefront as a crucial solution removing the complexity of media buying.

Social networks and companies with proprietary data will lead the charge toward platforms, as they give brands a bigger voice in targeting the right people thus meeting their objectives. Facebook recently overhauled their ad-buying platform to simplify the process and allow brand marketers to have more control over their campaigns. Unlike networks, platforms are designed to put the power back in the hands of brands and eliminate arbitrage and heavy fee loads associated with the agency model.

Consumers are allowing their devices, appliances, homes and vehicles to monitor their personal environments – opening up a goldmine of data and insight into a consumer’s behaviors. Marketers are also tapping into once unused data to locate customers in real time to understand even more about their behaviors. To stay ahead of the curve, marketers will need to take advantage of ad buying platforms to better control their campaigns and cut out unnecessary spend associated with networks.

Despite many consumers’ wishes, advertisements are not going away. Developing content that actually resonates with individuals may change their tune. Advertising in a smarter, more personal way will change the game for brand marketers.