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Live from #SABEW11: How innovations in display content advertising help businesses

3 min read

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Within a few years, online display advertising will grow into a $200 billion industry, up from the $24 billion that it is now, said Neal Mohan, Google’s vice president of product management, at the 2011 Society of American Business Writers and Editors Conference in Dallas.

Some of this increase is due to a consumer demand for online content that has never been higher. The real driving force, however, is the emergence of new advertising and media consumption technologies. Mohan spoke about some ways that new technology is allowing businesses to pitch their products more efficiently and helping media distributors make more money from their advertising space.

Media distributors are wasting less advertising space. Not all Web sites are visited at the same frequency every day. A news event, for instance, can pique people’s interest in a topic and drive consumers toward certain sites. Traditionally, the problem has been that it is impossible for the site operators to factor in these readership spikes when they sell ads.

Google, however, has developed a stock exchange for advertising, where companies can bid on advertising space in real-time and have their ads instantly displayed after they win their bids. In fact, there are more transactions on the Google ad exchange than there are in all of the world’s stock exchanges combined, according to Mohan.

Data is being more efficiently leveraged. Using data, you can now easily target advertising campaigns to specific users based on that information. For example, if one of your site’s major advertisers is a car company, one way to make your advertising space more attractive to that company would be to create a section on your site containing car information. With newly emerging technology, however, you can also target car advertisements to users based on their interest in cars.

Businesses can also hire companies that create several permutations of the same advertisement, where factors such as weather, time of day and location will determine which permutation is displayed. If you are a café owner and you own an advertising space, you can use the technology to display an ad for an iced coffee on a hot afternoon or an ad for a hot latte on a cold, rainy night.

Mobile technology offers ways for consumers to interact with media. “Smartphone adoption is one of the paradigmatic shifts in digital media,” said Mohan. The number of smartphone users increased drastically in the past couple of years, creating an increasing number of people that are constantly plugged into digital media — and advertising. Companies should look for ways to connect with this new group of consumers.

Also, mobile technology creates innovative ways to get consumers to interact with advertisements. A Levi’s advertisement, for example, allowed people to shake their smartphones to make a figure dance on the screen. Research found that users interacted with this advertisement for an average of 42 seconds.

Are the changes in technology changing your online advertising strategy? What ways has your business adapted to the emerging technology?