Pew forecasts “substantial concerns about privacy and people’s abilities to control their own lives,” with profiling and targeting growing to a level where they’ll “amplify social, economic and political struggles.”
From an advertising perspective, people will become far more aware of the extent of tracking. The more they know, the more likely they’ll become wary about it. It goes without saying that the value of privacy is greatly increasing. Marketers must take care to watch changing norms and present messages in ways that do not violate consumer’s expectations of privacy.
Beyond advertising, the consolidated control of Internet services by a handful of monolithic organizations, and within organizations, makes potential data breaches far more harmful. For example, because all credit card transactions were electronically routed through a single point of failure, the recent Target credit card breach was not isolated. It affected every customer at every store.
Pew says the Internet of Things “will recast the relationships people have with each other and with groups of all kinds.”
One of those groups is advertisers, who are finding it harder and harder to attract consumer attention in an increasingly crowded marketplace. With ads needing to shout louder to get through, consumers – facing a cacophony of stimulation – find new ways to keep all the messaging at a distance. So the advertisers shout even louder, and consumers push even further back. And on and on…until the current system of interruption-based advertising reaches a plateau of noise where it becomes increasingly expensive to participate.
We predict that focus will shift from interruption-based advertising to an interactive, experiential model. This also offers advertisers an opportunity to drive a return to communal or social experiences as people become increasingly alienated by technology’s focus on solo experiences. Historically, technology has followed a trend towards atomic individualism. More recently, that’s meant cell phones and social networks, and now hyper-personal interactions with face-mounted screens. The new intimacy of interaction means that advertisers will need to create experiences that consumers will want to seek out – in the form of branded content, apps and platforms – because they provide real value to them.
I think we can agree that the future is tough to predict. How many of us in 2003 could have foretold today’s world of Facebook, iPhones and Netflix? Technology life cycles are shortening, and brands will need to stay increasingly agile in their evaluation and adoption of new trends. Our mission is to stay current and help our clients understand this complex and fragmented world.