How the Internet of Things is already the future of advertising

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How brands can stay relevant by getting connected but avoid the bots

With the Internet of Things becoming an everyday reality, Andrew Buckman, MD, EMEA at OpenX argues that it is the future of advertising.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is progressing from a hi-tech dream to an everyday reality, fueled by wearable devices bringing interconnectivity into the lives and homes of consumers. The convenience of connected devices is driving a sharp increase in wearable technology, and YouGov predicts that consumer use will double over the course of 2015, heralding the dawn of a new world for advertisers.

Wearables provide advertisers with unprecedented access to consumers, their personal interests, and activities. This in turn will take advertising to a new level of tailoring and relevancy, and the future of advertising will see an explosion of new ad platforms geared to capitalise on the potential of the IoT.

So how can brands plan ad strategies that will resonate with consumers on a targeted level, while ensuring ads are viewed by the desired audience?

The shape of ad formats to come
With connections established between everything from wearables to cars, smart products have created an array of new channels and screens for advertisers. These smart devices provide granular data on consumer spending patterns, behavior and the most influential touchpoints, and this detailed insight enables marketers to tailor advertising to maximum effect, targeting receptive users at the right time to encourage conversions.

Even smart-drink bottles can offer marketers a window to analyze consumer behavior by enabling access to purchasing and consumption habits. For example, Diageo’s connected whisky bottle, when scanned by a smartphone, can conveniently serve the consumer promotional offers such as discount on a future purchase, provide suggested cocktail recipes, and supply exclusive content. Adverts can then be served to the consumer according to their needs and product usage, enabling highly targeted ads at a contextually relevant time.

But what of advertising across multiple, connected devices?

Get connected
For the commercialisation of the IoT to reach its potential, brands must be prepared to share consumer insights. Multinational brands, such as General Motors (GM), are already looking to standardise technology, and in a recent collaboration with telecoms supplier Qualcomm, GM installed a 4G communications platform into its vehicles, to use consumer data to improve new services.

For brands, agencies, publishers, and smart product manufacturers, staying relevant means forming strong partnerships within the ad tech space. Using a wider pool of knowledge, ads can be served with much greater efficiency across a multitude of connected products. By joining forces with well-established ad exchanges, advertisers will be able to share data and pinpoint crucial touchpoints — such as the optimal time of day to serve ads, and when or where ads are most likely to be met with a positive reception.

Maintaining quality
Ensuring that ads receive high-quality traffic is a key concern for brands. A report compiled by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and White Ops late last year predicted that fraudulent ad traffic would cost advertisers approximately $6.3 billion globally in 2015.

To protect their ads from bots, brands should work with ad tech providers that have stringent traffic quality systems in place. Only in a strictly controlled environment can advertisers be sure that human eyes are viewing their content. As more products become smart, and new ad formats come to fruition, staying one step ahead of fraudulent traffic will require vigilance and a careful selection of providers.

The IoT is transforming the advertising landscape, and smart technology is opening limitless possibilities for brands to reach consumers with highly targeted ads. As wearables, smart home kits, and connected products become mainstream, brands need to work with ad tech specialists to reach their audience across multiple devices. Brands that take care to plan careful strategies and protect against ad fraud are destined to succeed in the IoT boom.

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Andrew Buckman will present ‘The Internet of Things — the next wave of advertising’, in conjunction with Samsung, at this year’s Cannes Lions Innovation Festival. For more details, visit the Cannes Lions Innovation website. 

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