You might not consider AOL to be a top creative agency, but it’s for that exact reason that the company literally has a 45-year-old “digital prophet” on its payroll.
The digital agency’s David “Shingy” Shing recently spoke the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and explained to the audience that millennials aren’t against advertising, per se. They don’t like bad advertising. According to Shingy, about 70% of people would rather read about a brand than be advertised to.
In other words, “content is king.” Though it might seem like a profound, innovative strategy and approach to advertising, it’s an adage chanted by many digital marketing agencies time and time again.
In addition to rehashing what the worst to the best creative agency already know, Shingy discussed “multichannel behavioral retargeting.”
Online advertising’s sophistication is growing. Multichannel behavioral retageting is a fancy way of saying that brands can now continue advertising to high-value audiences from one channel to the next thanks to metrics on consumer behavior.
In other words, a brand can advertise to a mobile user as they scroll through Instagram, and then continue targeting them as when they switch over to their iPad, just for example.
Before, brands had a time reaching audiences as they went from their mobile devices to their desktops, or as they went from social media apps to the web. Now, thanks to the improving sophistication of online marketing, brands can follow users right along as they switch channels.
According to Shingy, this new technology makes it possible to target audiences who may have checked out a pair of shoes online, giving them a discount on top of directions to the nearest store.
While that may sound incredibly exciting for the future of advertising, the digital prophet may be looking a little too much forward, and not enough behind. Native advertising, which advertises to audiences based on their previous searches and behavior, might be effective, but it’s not all that well received. Comedian, and talk show host John Oliver echoed many users’ feelings when he said native advertising is at best a form of trickery and at worst a gross violation of journalistic standards.
Multichannel behavioral retargeting sounds like it may be even worse, almost stalker-ish. Though it may effectively sell more products and services, what will it do to a brand’s image? More research here.