The rise of ad blocking shows it’s time to reorient publishing and advertising around the needs of users rather than those of publishers and advertisers, writes RICHARD CLOGG, Senior Technology Consultant at Acceleration.
Since the rise of mass media, there has been an implicit contract between audiences, brands, and publishers. Publishers invest in producing content, to entertain and inform their readers or viewers, largely paid for by advertising from organisations that wish to influence the audience. That model has undermined by several waves of change since the birth of the web.
It all started when publishers introduced banner ads to monetise their web content, figuring that the digital world would work much the same way as print or broadcast. They soon found that advertisers weren’t willing to pay as much for digital placements as they were for print and broadcast. Brands, meanwhile, were often disappointed in the results they tracked from their digital campaigns.
And end-users, of course, grew to resent digital adverts as they became increasingly intrusive, thanks to roadblocks, pop-ups and pop-unders, self-playing videos, tagging, and other “innovations”. From the user’s point of view, ads slow down their page downloads, track their behaviour and stalk them across the web with unwanted offers for things they Googled earlier in the morning.
Little wonder that the ad-blocking feature in Apple‘s iOS 9 is causing such anguish for the advertising industry – it’s an enormous threat to their revenues in an overtraded market where margins are already thin. As Business Insider’s Paul Berry writes, ad-blocking isn’t just a software feature – it’s a cultural movement.
Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs says that the rise of the social media giants and the backlash against digital advertising will see the ad industry “fundamentally restructured” in the years to come. But given that no one seems particularly happy with the status quo – even the IAB admits the industry has “messed up” – that might not be a completely bad thing.
What might an advertising paradigm for the future look like? It would be focused on user experience first, rather than on automation, efficiencies and data gathering for agencies, brands, networks, and publishers. It would ensure faster loading of content. And rather than steamrolling users with invasive sounds and visuals, it would present them with targeted, interesting experiences that they welcome.
Publishers, brands, and the adtech companies are still shaping the future of advertising. However, the future might include an element of paid subscriptions for users who don’t want to see advertising at all, more use of native advertising as a way of offering experiences that feel natural within the publisher’s environment, and the use of the platforms that the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Apple News, and Medium offer for publishers.
We find it particularly interesting how these new platforms might enable more efficient targeting for advertisers and a better user experience. On the flipside, content producers risk being sidelined as distributors and aggregators such as Facebook, Apple News, Medium and Twitter control the audience and monetize their content.
We’ll also see some interesting innovations around mobile, for example, the advances offered by Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages project.
Advertising accounts for around 1.5% of the GDP in the United States – a number that has stayed constant even as spending has spread from print to broadcast and then to digital. This is a large industry everywhere in the world. We don’t see the advertising sector disappearing completely as a result of the ‘adblockalypse’, but it is going to change dramatically. There will be new paradigms in consuming and publishing content, possibly enabled by new tools and technologies.
Against this backdrop of change and transition, publishers and brands face the challenge of ensuring that they can target and engage the audience wherever it goes. To succeed, they will need to create digital frameworks that help them to accommodate a shift in how audiences move around and interact with content. An agile but robust architecture and streamlined business processes will help them navigate the changing the landscape.
CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!
Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER
From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.
Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:
LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home
LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine, debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules, a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation.
Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.
The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft
Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now:
- Hoppy American IPA
- Golden American Pale Ale
- Full-bodied English Stout
- Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
- Dry Czech Pilsner
The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.
“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”
Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.
CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary
At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.
Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.
Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.
“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”
Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops