As all advertising becomes digital, will there be a “Google for Brand Advertisers” ?

Advertising is a $ 500 B + industry globally, 20 % of which, almost $ 100 B, is digital today. With tablets, smart phones, and Connected TVs, consumers are starting to live in an “all digital world”. As that happens, all advertising will become digital. And the impact on marketers will be profound, especially as all TV advertising becomes digital (for those that doubt that TV will become all digital by the end of this decade, try out Barry Diller’s Aereo service in NY).

Let me give you an example of how profound these changes are for a marketer. When I started my career at Unilever, I used to buy TV advertising and it was a simple process. I would hire a creative agency that would come up with a bunch of story ideas, I would shortlist some ideas, and they would go ahead and create a fews ads. I would then pick a picked a couple of TV shows and after that, every week I would be able to reach 10s of millions of consumers. Today, with online video, the world is much more complex. Audiences are fragmented across sites, apps, and devices. Consumers view content on demand at a time and place of their choosing. Increasingly sites like Hulu are offering consumers a choice of ads that they can see. And then off course, with touch screens, consumers expect to be able to interact with the ads.

At the risk of over-simplifying this, a decade ago, marketers made a handful of big decisions. Today, in a digital world, marketers make 10s of millions of very specific decisions, almost on  daily basis. Instead of being able to do a media plan on a spreadsheet, marketers now need all kinds of tools and technologies. And so, there has emerged a whole class of applications and services (e.g. DSPs, data management platforms, optimization tools) that enable advertisers to manage the purchase of digital media.

I believe that this transition is inevitable. The questions I think about are:

  1. What this ecosystem will look like in 5 years ?
  2. What will be the characteristics of the winners on the Demand side in 2017 ?
  3. Will there be  Google for Brand Advertisers ? What will it look like ?

If you have a POV on these questions, I would love to hear from you….

About Ashu

General Partner with Foundation Capital. Areas of interest range from digital media, mobile and internet infrastructure to all things related to India. Currently on the board of TreeHouse, Aspire, Conviva, Agni and TubeMogul.
This entry was posted in Miscellaneous, On-Line Advertising. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to As all advertising becomes digital, will there be a “Google for Brand Advertisers” ?

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  10. A ‘Google for Brand Advertisers’ will look like where consumers can create thousands autonomous digital-selves (agents), capable of knowing their wants, desires, behaviors, and privacy policies. Those agents would continuously and automatically scour through 10s of thousands of brand offers, pre-qualify and negotiate a few select ones, and bring the ‘search’ results back for the user at the opportune time — the time when the user needs, and is most desirous of acting on.

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