By Alex Salomon
As I started writing about the new age and evolution of advertising and delved into the realm of future automated engines that will harvest data in one’s personal online social network to create automated friend/network experience-based advertising (as well as user-definable filters to help narrow and match reviews), I realized I had failed to approach the reason for new advertising. I had covered the “what” – algorithms digging into one’s social network and matching experiences to online searches for products and services - but had failed to cover the “why” and the “how”.
So, assuming that “friends” may be recommending places or products in the near future, it’s important to try to better understand “why” this type of new generation, online marketing will redefine user experience, Cost Per Click (CPC) and monetization of the information used in this process:
In short, the new evolution of advertising is going to be up close, very personal and it’s going to be emotional.
The paradigm shift in using my friends, family, colleagues, and peers along with their pictures, videos, and reviews to help me choose a product focuses on usage of personal feedback to affect Dominant Buying Motives (DBMs). And this shift could supplant the use of random reviewers and/or expensive campaigns; think about how emotionally powerful and connected your experience would be if a loved one, a friend, or a mentor recommended a product, service, or place to visit.
Imagine the power of your brother or cousin recommending a trip, with their pictures attached to the ad. Imagine the connection when you look up a product and realize your sister bought it last year and hated it … or could not live without it.
This revolution, this connection, this emotional charge is at the core of the new millennial, socially-connected marketing. It will affect pride, profit, need, fear and love. It will personalize your connections to advertising in ways never done before — automatically searching your habits, your friends’ habits, your needs, their needs… and you will buy more efficiently and more decisively than ever before.
What, why… how?
This new kind of advertising has not yet started, so it is easy to make outlandish predictions!! But let’s continue the fun and break these out into two prospective categories:
1) On the shopper side, automated facial and visual recognition will dig in your network pictures and even videos and will submit these to match your searches. For instance, while looking for a new video game, I may stumble upon the video and find out that my best friend had tons of fun playing it. Or while looking for a honeymoon spot, your bride finds a video of her friends living the good life in the Virgin Islands. Just imagine the connections and the power of delivery. Would you identify more with a famous actress telling you about a random spot or a childhood friend sharing her joy during their vacation?
So, prepare yourself for the possibility of video pop-ups, peer reviews, and pictures across multiple sites.
IBM’s Watson can “read”, “digest” and “recognize” all the HD videos you ever posted in the blink of a thought! And this could replace older click ads!
2) On the advertiser side, the easy evolution is to monetize pictures. Maybe these will have to be bought from users? Maybe they will be free as part of optional user agreements to access the pictures. Either way, stocks of images will then be sold to advertisers. So the transaction could go from Google+ (GOOG) & Facebook (FB) to users (possibly a free opt-in policy) to advertisers (for a small fee).
Store fronts like Ebay (EBAY), Amazon (AMZN), Orbitz, Priceline (PCLN), etc. could then tailor their ads to you … or start charging a small fortune in “futuristic sales commissions” from their affiliates. Indeed, imagine a much greater pass-through and user success linked to emotional advertising… then imagine the % commission the store front or hosting company could charge the affiliate because sales are faster, more efficient, easier. It would almost be like using a virtual sales force — and it would fetch a new, higher, yet also more efficient, “CPC” model (Cost Per Click).
Rather than using random and sometimes just plain lucky CPC costs, advertisers could charge less for the emotional connection (the click) but charge more for an actual transaction fee based on success. In a way, the new world of emotional social-network advertising might see the birth of a “credit-card model” for ads, where the initial CPC is minimal and the charge is based on a % of success — because success will be surer, faster, and deeper.
Granted, this is all science-fiction… But emotionally-based advertising, monetized on success and not on clicks, could already be “in someone’s garage.”
Any opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views or opinions of his employer or any other person or entity.
No position in any of the securities mentioned at the time of publication.