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Updated Apr 15, 2024

How Technology Is Changing Online Advertising

Advertisers must adapt to new technology or be ignored online.

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Stella Morrison, Senior Writer & Expert on Business Ownership
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Like most industries, the internet has drastically changed the advertising industry. That change shows no signs of slowing down as new technology and platforms are released. For example, advanced digital marketing technologies help reduce clutter and noise so your company can reach potential customers. Read on to learn more about some of the technologies changing how companies of all sizes reach, attract and capture new customers.

How technology impacts online advertising

Here are some digital tools and technologies to make your online advertising more effective.

Automation and programmatic advertising

Automation has found its place in nearly all facets of the internet, and advertising is no different. The internet provides an extensive data set on consumers, and there’s no way advertisers can manually browse through all that information to build profiles of their ideal customers. Algorithms are essential for analyzing that material and putting it to use.

Automated advertising platforms save time and money by freeing up advertising departments that must build and manage continual ad campaigns. You may see these referred to as programmatic advertising, which is the practice of delivering ads based on targeted audiences instead of distributing them in a wide and aimless fashion. 

FYIDid you know
Before implementing any new marketing technology or strategy, it's essential that you have a clear idea of who your target audience is. Check out our guide on how to identify your target audience.

The automated platforms use data to bid on ad space, detecting which ads perform better and then placing more bids for those that result in more conversions. Of course, you set a cap on how much the platform spends on ad space. These automated platforms can be set to run until they reach your desired return on investment (ROI) for your digital marketing campaign.

The other end of this process is also likely automated, with algorithm-based platforms like Google AdSense automatically selling ad space for websites. According to EMARKETER, programmatic advertising makes up over 90 percent of U.S. digital display advertising.

Sophisticated email marketing

Email is already a powerful and effective digital marketing tool, made even more impactful with sophisticated targeting. The best email marketing platforms have already introduced advanced tools that support hyper-specific pinpointing of customer segments that are more likely to buy certain products over others. Keep in mind that too much email can exhaust customers and that there are better ways to get your message to people, such as emerging technologies that help boost your email to the top of an inbox.

Here are some examples of these innovations:

  • BIMI: This authentication technology helps reduce brand spoofing and indicates to recipients that your email is legitimate.
  • AI: Artificial intelligence (AI) tools are making their way into email marketing through features like send-time optimization.
TipBottom line
With email marketing, you can sometimes have too much of a good thing. So, it is important not to overwhelm customers’ inboxes and to create appealing email campaigns that engage your customers rather than annoy them.

Social media and mobile

According to Statista, nearly 315 million people in the U.S. used at least one social media platform in 2023. This shows that selling ads on social media is a no-brainer. Fortunately, the major sites, such as Facebook and X, have robust advertising platforms. Furthermore, most users interact with social media on mobile devices, so companies need to optimize their advertising for that medium.

The highest-performing ads on social media take advantage of geolocation technology on mobile devices, allowing for hyperlocal ads to target users within a predetermined area.

Video is also a growing area for advertising that’s catching people’s attention. Video ads on social media get much more engagement than non-video ads. A popular type of video on social media doesn’t require sound and uses subtitles, allowing non-disruptive viewing in public.

It’s not just about advertising on the biggest social media platforms. Companies like Nanigans sell advertising space on various mobile apps and games, allowing advertisers to get in on the action if and when these fledgling apps go viral.

FYIDid you know
Social media platforms can be great for marketing when used the right way. However, they regularly make changes to how they work, so keep an eye out for any updates that may affect how you reach out to new audiences.

Native advertising

Native advertising is on the rise, with advertisements being integrated with popular content sites, bringing back the old line of “This program has been brought to you by ….” Traditional advertising, depending on your audience, is falling by the wayside, especially with the rise of ad-blocking software. Advertisers need new, creative ways to get their messages to viewers and actually get them to listen.

Many advertising networks now include native advertising packages, offering opportunities for sponsored articles that blend in with the rest of a platform’s content.

“Everything on the internet is branded, whether consumers realize it or not,” Halli Rainer, senior digital marketing manager at Primal Kitchen, told us. “It has been proven to be more effective than other forms on the internet. Advertisers are expected to provide content that is engaging and either entertaining or insightful.”

The goal of native advertising is to be nondisruptive to users, and companies like ADYOULIKE create ads that fit into a website’s or platform’s style and format.

Progressive web apps

Known as PWAs for short, progressive web apps deliver the capabilities of an app to the browser experience. Not only does this cement mobile’s place as the most popular way to access the web, but it ensures a smooth customer experience no matter how your customers choose to access your products and services.

PWAs are getting more attention for their prioritization of the user experience, which can tank with even one second of lag. Prioritizing speed, ease of use and clarity is much easier with PWAs.

Augmented reality

Augmented reality (AR) merges the real world and the digital world, bringing digital content to life in real-world surroundings. The mobile game “Pokemon GO” is an example of AR in action, in which the game’s characters are projected onto the player’s surroundings by simply pointing the device’s camera into an area.

“The big boom of augmented reality is happening, as phone manufacturers are already developing AR-capable devices, and that creates a large window of untapped potential for advertisers,” Rainer said.

Snapchat’s various filters for photos are a form of AR, and they are becoming more impressive and already being used by marketers who create branded versions for the platform. AR offers many marketing opportunities for businesses.

While mobile is currently the king of online engagement, wearable tech, like the Apple Watch, is gaining traction and likely already being examined by advertisers.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence – especially generative AI – has made major waves across the world in recent years. It is greatly impacting all areas of business, including marketing. AI systems allow marketers to test out campaigns before dipping into their advertising budgets. One example of an AI marketing assistant that can use predictive analysis about pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns is a program called Albert. 

Generative AI can also be used to create marketing campaigns and analyze your current marketing strategies for improvements.

>> Learn More: How AI Can Turbocharge Your Small Business Marketing

Voice search

Every year, advertisers utilize more and more tech advances. Marketers must stay on top of the latest tools of the trade to remain competitive and expand their reach.

The Search Engine Journal recommends that companies prepare their marketing campaigns to target those who rely on voice technology to conduct online searches. The use of virtual assistants is expected to increase, and marketers should adjust PPC campaigns to appear in searches that originate from voice assistants. Queries through voice technology are usually longer and have more keywords that can be built out.

Chatbots

Chatbots have gained popularity with customer service providers, but they can also be used by marketers. A chatbot automatically generates a conversation with a user in real time, with replies based on the target audience’s answers. For instance, businesses can use chatbots to distinguish a website visitor’s preferences on certain products, such as makeup or movies.

No matter how niche or fad-like, no trendy app, platform or device should be ignored for advertising potential. In a time when traditional advertising is being ignored by younger generations, advertisers need to evolve and adapt.

Looking to the future of digital advertising

According to Rainer, advertising on the internet has become a double-edged sword. 

“There are more platforms and places to advertise than ever before, but at the same time, consumers are being shown so much advertising throughout the day that it takes something special to grab their attention,” she said.

Advertisers need to keep looking forward as the internet changes and new technology develops, but at the heart of any campaign is still its creativity. Good, effective advertising will still drive the messaging home. Even the best technologies can’t ensure a campaign will be successful if the ads are not of quality.

“The internet has allowed good, creative advertising to be more effective, because it’s easier than ever to find and track the target audience for optimal effectiveness,” Rainer said. “However, if the advertising is bad, it won’t matter how well the audience has been targeted.”

Andreas Rivera contributed to this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

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Stella Morrison, Senior Writer & Expert on Business Ownership
Stella Morrison is a respected small business owner with a track record of award-winning success, having founded multiple ventures and earned honors for her work. She currently runs two companies, overseeing the staff, finances and a range of other responsibilities. Morrison's expertise spans everything from web development to brand management, making her a versatile leader in the business world. Beyond her own entrepreneurial pursuits, Morrison offers consultative services to companies on various business topics. In years prior, she worked in community affairs programming and trained young broadcast journalists in radio communication. She also reported for Greater Media Newspapers and wrote a column for the Chicago Tribune's TribLocal. Today, she often partners with the American Marketing Association, contributing to the industry's growth and development.
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