Technology is always evolving, and marketers must evolve with it in order to ensure brand success. While there are many factors that affect marketers on a day-to-day basis such as social media, budgeting and reaching audiences on an emotional level, here are six of the top technologies are impacting marketing the most.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
“Okay, Google.” Gartner analysts predict that by 2020, 30 percent of web browsing sessions will be conducted without a screen. With the rise of voice-activated technology like Google Home and Amazon Echo, consumers will not be limited to traditional screen-based browsing, Gartner predicts, especially since web browsing will be extended to other areas of daily activities such as driving and exercising.
Artificial intelligence (AI) means more than another way to shop—it can help marketers make smart decisions. A May study conducted by the National Business Research Institute for Narrative Science found that 38 percent of US business executives considered this type of data crunching and predictive activity to be the most important solution provided by AI.
Similarly, research by The Economist Intelligence Unit last April found that 37 percent of global marketing executives believe big data and AI were among the technologies they expected to have the biggest impact on marketing companies by 2020. According to a survey of 150 senior executives by Weber Shandwick across five markets, 68 percent said their brand is currently selling, using or planning for business in the AI era. When gauging which types of marketing will greatly affect their world, 55 percent named AI over social media.
By 2020, over a billion people worldwide will regularly access AR and VR content, according to predictions by research firm, IDC. In an attempt to reach this growing demographic, IDC predicts that 30 percent of consumer-facing companies in the Forbes Global 2000 will experiment with AR and VR as part of their marketing efforts in 2017. A large of part of this adoption will be via digital assistants (Amazon Echo and Google Home) with over 110 million consumer devices with embedded intelligent assistants installed in US households by 2019.
“Okay, Google . . . show me what such-n-such couch looks like in my living room,” may not be that far off. In fact, Gartner believes that by 2020, 100 million consumers will shop in augmented reality.
DeLoitte published a survey in August that found 88 percent of mid-market companies (firms with annual revenue of between $100 million and $1 billion) were using some form of virtual or augmented reality as part of their business, such as tourism or health care. Citi predicts hardware sales, specifically of headsets, will be the primary driver of the industry’s growth and the VR and AR market will be worth $692 billion by 2025, rising to more than a trillion by the following decade.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The IoT market is expected to grow to $151 billion by 2020, according to market researcher Research and Markets. That includes infrastructure, software, processors, sensors and other tech. The market is growing in part due to advances in technology, but also increasing areas of global internet accessibility. Gartner analysts predict IoT will save consumers and businesses $1 trillion a year in maintenance, services and consumables.
Of four emerging technologies—AR/VR, AI, Conversational and IoT, 79 percent of marketers deem IoT very or somewhat important, compared to 72 percent of agency executives. The survey, conducted online by Advertiser Perceptions Inc. in October with ad executives, found that 74 percent of respondents felt IoT was at least somewhat important, while 24 percent said it was very important. Only 6 percent said it was not important.
Programmatic Ad Purchasing
In 2016, US advertisers spent $6.18 billion for digital video ads purchased programmatically, up from three billion in 2015, according to an eMarketer report. That figure accounts for 60 percent of all digital video ad spending, compared to 39 percent last year. The research provider predicts that by 2018, programmatic digital video advertising will reach $10.65 billion, or 74 percent of total video ad expenditures, not including video advertising on social platforms.
Programmatic ad spending is growing in popularity and Zenith predicts that the method will grow 31 percent this year. “Programmatic buying of digital media has become the norm in major markets, and is aggressively following this path in smaller markets,” said Benoit Cacheux, global head of digital and innovation at Zenith.
While ad blocking is on the rise, a study by AudienceProject found that while 26 percent of respondents in the UK and 23 percent in the US used an ad blocker on their desktops, only two percent in both countries use ad blocking tools on their smart phones. Among the ad blockers in UK, 34 percent say that their attitude toward ads would be affected in a positive way if the ads displayed relevant messages, with 44 percent feeling the same way in the US.
According to Juniper, ad blocking will continue to rise in popularity among consumers, resulting in a loss in revenue by 70.2 percent in the next few years. “Adoption (of ad blockers) is being driven by consumer concerns over mobile data usage and privacy,” noted Sam Barker, author of the research report. “They are also incentivized to adopt the technology in order to reduce page load times.”
The most important strategy is to be authentic and to understand the connected customer journey across all touch points. A new study by the Chief Marketing Officer Council reveals this to be one of the biggest challenges for marketers in 2017.
“Savvy CMOs don’t see digital as a destination for transformation but instead see the digital experience as a constantly moving evolution for both engagements and operations,” noted Liz Miller, senior vice president of marketing for the CMO Council. “The year ahead will represent a real turning point in the customer experience as marketers plan to turn their sights toward connecting, streamlining and measuring the entire journey.”