The Evolution of Advertising

I’ll admit it– I love marketing and advertising.

What do I love about it? Anyone can sell, but the pros know that there’s an art and a science to it, a deadly combo that in no time can get people to throw money at something they didn’t even know they wanted (maybe needed?). It’s a series of mind games– a strategized plan of attack– that will persuade you to do something without you ever knowing that you’re being swayed. It’s simply brilliant, and its brilliance is in its simplicity.

It’s all about understanding human nature and one’s natural tendencies, i.e. knowing that few people like spiders, so maybe only use them for ads where you want to scare people into doing things, whereas puppies can be used to sell anything, because PUPPIES.

It’s also about being in tune with the masses and what the masses are into. Advertising started out as something undesirable, so much so that reputable newspapers refused to run ads, but nowadays, you’re hard-pressed to visit any website without ads, so much so that we’re becoming desensitized to them. Because our attention spans are growing shorter and shorter, and because our preoccupation with what’s new and different often dictates where we focus our attention, advertisers now have to get even more creative– even more quickly– to capture their audience.

Native ads, I think, are brilliant. Part of the frustration with ads is that it disrupts the user experience, but native ads allow the user to continue perusing that instagram feed/blog post/magazine article/what-have-you without ever feeling like you’ve left the confines of the digital/print space you chose to be a part of. And that’s the brilliance of it– I think the most effective marketing is when your audience doesn’t know that you’re essentially planting idea seeds, so that when they go do x, y, and z (like you wanted them to), it feels like it’s their own idea. Of course, there’s pushback against native ads (not enough clarity that they’re ads, for example, which is totally legit), but let’s give a round of applause to the inventor of native ads [clap, clap, clap].

What’s the next generation of advertising going to look like? Let me take a gander.

  1. Native ads and product placement deals will continue to grow and will become two of the biggest forms of advertisement out there.
  2. Ads will become interactive.
  3. With all that data mining going on out there, our user experience will be so tailored to us that we forget what else is out there (and will have to really work to expand our online reach). And retailers know exactly how to get us, from lots of different approaches.
  4. There will be even less of a divide between “regular people” and “advertisers,” so that ads are more relatable (and ergo more effective).
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