Riding the tech tide – the future of advertising

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Some of Berlin’s iconic global advertising agencies share their thoughts on riding the tech tide; capitalising on a prospering industry and the growing omnipresence of ads. Madvertise, Sponsorpay and Trialpay share their vision of a world where ads are highly interactive, unobtrusive and less annoying. Sound too far-fetched? You may be surprised…

The rapid emergence of smartphone developments and online technological advances have lent to an explosion in new forms of advertising. From click-through video ads on social gaming sites to geo-location based marketing – the possibilities are constantly growing. Emerging trends in online advertising are progressing at a fast and steady rate as the rise questions the future of traditional formats.

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Surging forth with mobile

Imagine going on a walk through town as your mobile phone alerts you to the nearest sales, latest products and in-store discounts. Well, that’s the direction mobile advertising’s headed down, fast. Coined “geo-targeting”, big companies like McDonalds have recently taken the leap into this new sphere of mobile advertising in recent months. Essentially, mobile-users can receive ads when they’re physically within up to a 50 metre radius of the advertiser.

Geo-targeting is a key product for Madvertise – Europe’s mobile-audience targeting platform, which has just acquired Turkey’s leading mobile ad player Mobilike. And it means business. Berg Insight predicts a “major boom” in mobile advertising over the next five years and forecasts the industry’s worth at €6.1 billion in 2013. “There’s a very new opportunity to reach consumers with highly targeted advertising. They may not necessarily perceive it as advertising but rather they’re receiving content that’s more of value to them,” says Madvertise CEO and co-founder Carsten Frien.

The Berlin-born business was founded in 2008 and now has A-grade clients to its name such as; Mercedes, Becks, Audi and Volkswagen. It boasts access to global partners in over 50 countries, 1.6 billion page impressions and revenue that tripled last year with expectations of it tripling again by the end of this year. “We have a strong belief that mobile will be bigger than fixed-line internet. It’s a very realistic scenario,” exclaims Frien. “The old traditional method of shouting out your message to consumers and hoping they receive it is out – that’s the beauty of the mobile.”

Madvertise is capitalising on the explosive rise in mobile phones becoming a highly-personalised device which is kept switched-on and with you 24/7 “There’s this mobilisation of media consumption and the potential services it can provide. It’s natural to think about how to monetize this internet usage,” says Frien.

Cashing in on Facebook – Advertising within the social media landscape

Sponsporpay ad on Facebook

“There are more people playing games on Facebook than people watching some of the most popular shows on television. Up to 40% of users on Facebook play social games with more people playing Zynga’s Parkville than switching on “Two and Half Men” in the US,” says Jeff Sullivan, an adviser to Trialpay Europe. If Sullivan’s right, it means that up to 320 million people are actively playing Facebook games – per month, in comparison to the US’ Two and a Half Men audience of an average 28 million.

Trialpay, along with its competitor and partner company Sponsorpay, work by matching advertisers up with social game companies. They essentially provide the platform for big names like H&M, eBay and Skype (to name a few) – to advertise within Facebook games. These ads, known as “offers”, are presented as videos where users agree to watch it or sign-up for a subscription as a way to pay for virtual goods, or to progress to the next level or stage of a game.

“It’s an opt-in model. Users aren’t forced to view it or have it shoved down their throats. People have become ‘banner blind’ and find pop-ups really annoying – those invasive forms stir up a lot of negative feelings which is why our model’s more effective,” says Sponsorpay founder Janis Zech.

Challenges – more to come…

With a host of industry research backing the momentum of digital advertising, why are businesses on the whole – slow on the uptake? Going up against TV budgets is Sponsorpay and Trialpay’s almighty challenge. “Big companies are often trapped in the old realms of advertising thought. It’s like having an old professor – trained to think in one field of thought so it’d feel much more of a risk for them. It’s also a change within people working within the industry – and that takes time,” says Zech.

“Advertising trends are changing as people aren’t watching shows the traditional way. It’s not plan-able anymore. The advantage of mobile advertising is just that,” says Frien. “Mobile is the next challenge for everybody,” adds Sullivan, “companies will need to have a proper mobile version of their online shop – for example, to help mobile advertising see its full potential.”

Trialpay’s exploring the idea of muscularly melding the online and offline world; where users play games with the option of purchasing something at an advertiser’s offline store to then earn credits on your game. “That’s what we could see 10 years from now,“ says Sullivan, “or it could be with your mobile device to make you go back into the store within a certain time frame like two days where it’s more than just a coupon-based offer. And then, interactive TV would be the next thing after mobile.”