Time, like most other things is relative, and with calendar year 2017 just over a month in progress it makes me think of growth and change with the passage of time. The fact that so much can change in such a relatively short amount of time will never cease to amaze me. While some might insist that because advertising has been around as long as civilization, and ad and PR trends probably won’t differ so much within short passages of time, with some light research I am able to share with readers some insight involving what I predict will be the top three technology trends for the advertising and public relations field for 2017.
1. Mobile Device Optimization
I know, this one might not come as that big of a surprise, but bear with me here. Ask anyone in America what they’d say is the quickest developing trend in technology in the last twenty years and I would bet you most of them would say the quick adoption and widespread use of the smartphone. I myself can say I’ve witnessed this takeoff first hand because I was there through the initial boom. Not more than six or seven years ago, very few people had a smartphone in their pocket, but over the next three years, what was once the minority quickly became the overwhelming majority. According to a reporting at thenextweb.com, in 2013, 53% of total time spent on a digital device was on a mobile platform, yet in 2016- just three short years- those same percentages grew and shrank to 65% and 35% respectively. All this being said, I think it would be a fool’s call to not claim that with the ever-increasing use of the smartphones, advertisers and PR professionals will continually and increasingly seek use to optimize their commercial intentions for the mobile web based world.
2. Focused and Personalized Video Content
In February of 2005, a new site called YouTube launched, opening a user-friendly platform for anyone with a camera and a computer to share their videos with the world. Just more than a decade later, we’ve seen the rise and rise (and rise) of the viral video, as well as the overall mega boom that has made YouTube the household name it is today. With something for everyone to watch, the mass appeal of the site makes it a favorite among web users of all generations. In the last few years, YouTube began supporting user created videos with ad content, usually a short 10-30 second ad that plays before a viewer’s selected video. Usually, we all reach for the “skip ad” button when it appears after the first five seconds, but… what if advertisers could find a way to make us resist clicking that skip button? True, the type of ads that play before a given YouTube viewer’s desired video are selected based on the types of video that the user has watched thus far, but what if advertisers could go even deeper? Creating content that is specific and aimed at resonating towards specific users and groups could maximize both exposure and potential for a consumer to buy into a product.
3. Augmented Reality Ad Campaigns
In a world with humans and digital technology so deeply intertwined, for many it’s hard to even be impressed anymore. First there was the radio, then the television, then the digital live streaming video. What could be the next big thing? Often times as new forms of digital technology become widely available, it may be a gamble for advertisers to decide what is a fad and what is worth venturing into. Of course, as new ways to consume media develop, the advertiser is constantly vigilant and looking for ways to make it viable to use as a medium.
That being said, I think AR, or Augmented Reality, is here to stay. If the first time you used your smartphone camera to view something in an AR field wasn’t enough to make you say “wow”, then let the proof be in the meteoric rise of the Pokémon Go smartphone game. With many companies already venturing into the blossoming technology that is AR -such as clothing brands allowing users to virtually “try on” an outfit before they buy it, or furniture companies letting consumers visualize a piece in their space as if it’s already there- the next step (which is probably being taken as you read this), is for advertisers and PR professionals to fully implement and utilize this technology to reach consumers.
In our ever-changing world, and subsequently ever-changing Ad and PR field, it’s hard to guess what the “next big thing” might be. For Ad and PR tech this year, these are my predictions, but I’d love to hear what you have to say as well, so feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you think!