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The four keys to future advertising success/PwC study/Matt Hobbs

19 Sep

The ‘device-agnostic’ consumer view opens the door for more interactive, personalised and measurable advertising

The new 'Playbook' tablet by Blackberry
Designing ads that enhance the consumer experience across devices is crucial to brands. Photograph: Manu Fernandez/APLast modified on Friday 4 September 201516.33 BST

We’re approaching an advertising tipping point in 2016. According to research we at PwC released in June, internet advertising revenue is projected to overtake broadcast TV advertising revenue. It’s a shift that represents more than strictly an increase in internet connections.

It’s the ability of brands to reach consumers throughout their day across multiple devices that will help drive global total internet advertising revenue from $135bn in 2014 to a predicted $240m in 2019 (compared with broadcast TV spending, which is forecast to rise to $192bn, up from $162bn in 2014.)

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Companies that precisely instrument, capture and analyse user interactions across multiple devices develop a more complete picture of how potential customers interact with their marketing messages. Analytical insights can also be used to more precisely target potential customers and provide brands and businesses with the confidence that their advertising channel mix is yielding the desired actions and returns. Measurement, however, is only part of the story.

Advertisers have seen significant changes in the ways they reach their target buyers. Consumers want flexibility, freedom and convenience in when, where and how they consume content. Advertisers are challenged to better understand when and where time is spent, and adjust where they direct their spending accordingly.

While broadcast TV ads historically were the advertising platform of choice for brands seeking to maximise their reach, internet advertising has already overtaken television advertising in key markets such as the UK (pre-2010), China (2011) and Australia (2014). That being said, television is not a channel to be ignored.

The impact of ads delivered through traditional channels, such as TV ads played during the Super Bowl (more than 110 million viewers in 2015), often are accelerated through complementary internet strategies to drive user engagement. Leading-edge advertisers are stitching together offline and online consumer experience while focusing on creating compelling, innovative and interactive internet experiences.

For brands and businesses, the “device-agnostic” consumer view enabled by the internet opens the door for more interactive, personalised and measurable advertising. .

Four keys to success

When navigating this evolving environment, advertisers should develop content that is relevant, engaging and takes into account the context in which the message will be consumed. Designing ads that enhance the consumer experience is crucial. Even the best advertising content will go nowhere if it doesn’t reach the right audience and target the message to the context and channel.

To meet these objectives, advertisers should look holistically across platforms and devices, keeping the following recommendations in mind:

  • Design advertising in a way that maximises the user experience and takes advantage of product and device innovation (such as location-tracking and support for enhanced measurement of user engagement with ads).
  • Develop an internet-first strategy optimised for mobile devices (screen size, network speed) and multiple formats.
  • Understand changing user behaviours and design a strategy that considers the context within which a user is engaged with content, services and advertisements. Consider both traditional and digital experiences when appropriate for the product or service being advertised.
  • Offer consumers value for sharing data to create the opportunity for better-targeted, more relevant advertisements. Use this data to track consumer relationships across distribution channels to measure the return on investment and impact of ad spend with confidence (including which ads customers saw, the method by which they were acquired and more).

Amid the opportunity, advertisers also need to address a number of media transparency headwinds, such as click fraud and bots, that contribute to a dilution of trust across the supply chain. Agencies, marketers and media outlets should work together to establish and deploy standards that can restore that trust.

With an effective strategy in place that accounts for consumer preferences as well as potential challenges, brands and businesses will be able to reach specific, targeted groups in a more meaningful way – enhancing user experience and creating sustainable business value.

All statistics come from PwC’s Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2015-2019

Matt Hobbs is a partner within PwC’s advisory practice and serves as the US internet advisory leader

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