6 Emerging Ad Formats On Social, Screens And Wearables

May 1, 2014 Jonathan Paul

Thanks to our ever evolving “digitalness” there are a number of new digital ad platforms that have emerged, becoming available to advertisers. By now we’ve all heard a lot about things like in-stream and iterative digital video ads, native advertising (currently having its heyday) and the like, but the rabbit hole is poised to go oh so much deeper and, in some cases, get much weirder.

There are other, stranger formats yet to emerge, some you might not have even seen or heard of yet. Think of this as a quick, preemptive site-seeing tour down the digital rabbit hole. With Fuse Marketing Group’s VP/Creative Director Patrick Weir and Endloop’s CEO Kerry Morrison as your tour guides, here now, for your consideration, are five digital ad formats that are patiently laying in wait for their time in the sun.

shazam cma

Multi-Screen Connected Advertising

These days media consumption is often multiscreen. Certainly, advertisers have been playing off of the notion of the second screen. People like to be watching TV while simultaneously surfing on their tablet, PC or smartphone.

“One of the most fascinating second screen experiments occurring right now is with the app Shazam,” says Morrison. “Normally known for music discovery, the Shazam app now has the ability to ‘listen’ to TV commercials and link the user directly to deeper information or to a purchase page.”

That said, consumers are moving past the second screen and into the realm of  the third and the fourth. What’s becoming incumbent on advertisers is creating a seamless experience across them all and as time goes by you can bet your bottom dollar it’ll happen with increasing adeptness. As Weir says: “These days, it’s a lot more than just making sure that your website is responsive.”

Micro-Ads on Micro-Format Video

Innovation starts at the drawing board. #animation #loop #magic #2013 http://t.co/bzNMFdVJ

— General Electric (@generalelectric) January 25, 2013

Micro-video networks are growing. Vine, for example, sprouted back in 2013 and has since grown like a weed, experiencing growth of over 400% in the last year alone. Be assured that brands have and will start to embrace the format and find their place therein.

“Micro-ads are currently shared four times more than standard video,” says Weir. “Ads on this format will have to be simple yet creative enough to draw in this evolved and picky consumer. This won’t be a fit every brand but a great one for ones that do.”

“The times of interruptive advertising are gone; consumers have all the control and brands need to respect that.”

Wearable Tech/Ads

Wearable tech is quickly becoming du jour. Think Google Glass, bluetooth rings and the like. Weir says they were all the rage at SXSW this year. So, it’s only a matter of time until brands find ways to interact with this burgeoning digital fashion trend to turn people into walking self-serve billboards.

“As these products start to become more and more part of everyday life, brands are going to look to find ways to interact,” says Weir. “ Ads will find their way onto your watch or projected on the inside of your motorcycle visor (yes it is happening). We aren’t there quite yet but, when we are, the audience doesn’t get much more captive.”

Real Time Data-Driven Out-Of-Home (OOH)

Have you ever, on a hot and sunny day, encountered a billboard that knows you need a beer, much to your amused bewilderment? How about a TSA that knows what kind of car you drive? It’s not magic, no, it’s digital tech, heat sensors and a bluetooth keychain respectively, to be precise. Enjoy the shock and awe you feel now because that sort of stuff’s going to get a lot more prevalent.

“Stores are already tracking consumers using their cell signals to see how they shop,” says Weir. “Look to a future of real-time OOH. Consumers who look to have a richer experience will also allow access to their portable data (i.e. smartphone) for a more connected experience.”

Contextual Offers


Conceptual design of the Bluetooth-enabled Mobile Innovation Store at Dx3,

In a similar fashion to real-time data-driven OOH, companies are increasingly using technology, particularly smartphone data, to push offers directly to people on their mobile devices based on their proximity to things, as well as to profile their behaviour to tailor in-store experiences and particular offers.

It’s taking brands much further away from the “spray and pray” methodology and towards hyper-targeted, Minority Report-like brand experiences that are based on understanding who and where consumers are, and what they might need.

“Apple’s iBeacon Technology, small, fairly cheap Bluetooth low energy devices that understand proximity, can be used alongside an application to provide information and offers about products as consumers are visiting stores,” says Morrison. “Think walking up to a shelf of sweaters and being informed that today only there is a 20% discount specifically for you, the shopper. The usage of technology like Bluetooth low energy makes offers based on proximity to products not only possible…but reasonably cost effective.”

“Grocery stores, especially, are focusing less on the traditional ad, or the age old standard coupon and instead focusing on using deep customer profiles to understand purchasing history and product loyalty,” he adds. “They do it to ensure customers are receiving offers for products as they are required, or as businesses are hoping are required.”

The Continued Depth and Evolution of Social Advertising

There’s been a well-documented power shift between brands and consumers. It’s the latter that wields all the control. The growth of our digital culture — particularly its social aspects — has led to an age of consumer empowerment. For brands the secret to success has to do, in a big way, with being able to leverage consumers’ social activity, doing so in a way that provides value, augments and encourages the social behaviour in which they’re already engaging. That said, expect social advertising to become even more sophisticated because we’ve, to this point, only really seen the tip of the iceberg.

We’re to keep you and those you love #lintfree. @Raptors pic.twitter.com/5X4KprzVnv

— Bounce (@BounceFresh) April 30, 2014

“The times of interruptive advertising are gone; consumers have all the control and brands need to respect that,” says Weir. “We have all heard that Facebook’s organic reach is shrinking. The only two things that are going to help get you past the big blue gates and through to your Facebook brand advocates are money and GREAT CONTENT. If you give them something to share with their friends that makes them look witty or cool they don’t mind taking your brand along for the ride, but it is definitely content first, brand second.”

“The concept of real time listening and response across at least the major social networks — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram — is something no big business can ignore,” adds Morrison. “We quite literally have consumers telling us what they want and we’re seeing corporations that believe more and more that they can’t afford to miss the opportunity to respond with an offer.”

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