Catch the Wave, the Third Wave of Digital Advertising

Surfer riding wave

Digital advertising has a stain on it, left by the second wave of advertising. Behavioral tracking and the illicit supercookie have tainted what should be a more popular way of reaching consumers.

In his article, The 3rd Wave for the Ad Industry, J. Brooke Aker describes the first two waves as:

  1. The Internet media explosion of connectivity and multiple devices
  2. Technology that makes advertising efficient but leaves the user as an afterthought

Today, online advertising is the second largest advertising medium (TV is the largest), but it has a huge problem:

  • 36 percent of consumers use software or other means to avoid ads
  • 63 percent ignore Internet ads all together. (Source)

Chart showing ads people ignore

These are interactive ads. You’d think people would want to interact and enjoy them more. So what is the display advertising industry doing wrong? They’re not putting the consumer first. And that’s what the third wave is all about.

As Google puts it: “In a world in which ads are becoming optional for users, the key to our industry’s success in the future will be delivering ads that people love, remember and share.”

How do we do this?

Welcome to the third wave. Riding the crest of this wave is semantic advertising. (See In Online Advertising, Placement is All Semantics—or Should Be)

Semantic advertising employs cookie-less targeting, which is much more user friendly, to find the right place to put your display ad.

Semantic analysis works by uncovering reader emotions, behaviors, motivations and intentions and then matching ads to content with similar emotional appeal.

Sounds like semantic targeting could take a long time, right? Wrong.

Mr. Aker says semantic analysis and targeting like this can take place in less than 1 millisecond per URL. Less than 1 millisecond!

For brands, this means more thoughtful ad publishing entailing less risk and more relevance. For consumers, this means less annoyance in their Internet browsing experience and greater relevance. Note, the key word here is relevance. And relevance brings results.

Google predicts that in the next five years impression rates will go down by 25 percent, but that’s okay because more important numbers will go up.

  • Brands will see overall engagement rates for display ads increase by 50 percent.
  • Consumers will have a direct say in 25 percent of the ads they see.

Having that direct say may mean that fewer people will be blocking ads because of that control. Relevance equals respect. Consumers respect brands that respect them and put consumers wishes first.

How you engage with consumers through display advertising is your choice. Are you going to surf the semantic advertising wave? Or are you going to get left behind waving at your competitors and your customers as they sail away happily together?


About the Author

Ryan Gerardi
Creative, resourceful, and resilient B2B sales and marketing technologist who works with people and businesses on a variety of levels to help elevate their game, their brand, and their businesses.