The advertising industry has had a long and successful history. It has been a very big business, especially for brands like Procter & Gamble, which topped AdAge.com’s list of the world’s five largest advertisers with $10.5 billion in advertising spending.
For decades, the personal care company kept its products front and center in the minds of consumers – on TV, in print and eventually online. The formula was simple: P&G would spend a huge amount on advertising and loyal customers would respond by buying its products.
That is no longer the case. Technology has changed the ad game for P&G – and not in a good way.
Brief Timeline of Advertising Game-Changers
So if your company is like P&G, what should you do? Start with a fresh look at how much technology and advertising have changed over the last 30 years.
As you look at this timeline, pay attention to how technology worked for – or against – advertisers throughout recent history. Then, use my Hard Trends Methodology to predict what’s next.
- 1990s – Hundreds of cable channels and the Internet launched, and advertisers jumped to buy space wherever their audiences would be.
- Early 2000s – TiVo was one of the first disruptors to these seemingly endless advertising avenues. For the first time, consumers had power over when they got their content and began to skip the ads.
- 2001 – Next came iPods, which could play downloaded media while consumers were on the go.
- 2004 – Amazon.com launched as a virtual bookstore and began laying the groundwork for online retailers
- 2006 – Social media pioneer Facebook opened the News Feed, in which anybody – and any brand – could self-publish content. Facebook ads, for which advertisers once again had to “pay to play,” wouldn’t come until later.
- 2007 – Netflix went from DVD to streaming and never looked back. Consumers could now also choose what to watch, whenever they wanted to.
- Also in 2007 – Smartphones came on the scene, allowing consumers to carry all types of media in their hands. The ad industry had to go mobile – often in addition to going traditional. Though it wasn’t easy to navigate at first, by 2015 mobile ad spending would top $28 billion.
- 2008 – Spotify started running on advertising dollars initially, but also offered premium, ad-free packages to consumers at nominal prices.
- 2009 – In the late 2000s, YouTube began allowing pre-roll ads; advertisers were once again able to recapture a very captive audience.
- 2012 – Facebook purchased Instagram. It would be five years before the $1 billion gamble would pay off, but in the meantime, real people became the faces of brands. The newest media-buying currency was the influence of the crafty, hip or carpool moms who had become spokespeople.
- 2015 – Amazon.com hit a milestone as it accounted for at least half of all e-commerce growth. Many experts attributed sales success to the debut of the company’s one-click ordering.
- 2018 and beyond – Not only is data-driven advertising becoming more popular, it’s expected in today’s “show me you know me” consumer culture.
If you use my Hard Trends Methodology to look ahead to the future of advertising, you’ll be able to anticipate that the next decade will move even faster. Even more devices are likely to be developed, and they will ultimately be connected to each other as an integral part of our lives.