The Future Of Advertising and What To Expect In The Coming Years

The rapid advancement of advertising technologies has birthed many ad trends that continually shape the future of advertising. Today, innovative digital advertising technologies like programmatic advertising and paid search significantly mold the advertising industry.

In the future, these technologies will only advance in reach and efficiency. Better yet, emerging tech like artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) will create novel pathways for marketing experts to advertise in more relevant and engaging ways. No wonder stats project total digital advertising ad spend to reach $740.3 billion in 2024

But before we dig into the impacts of evolving advertisement tech on the future of advertising, let’s briefly explore how advertising has evolved in the digital age.

The Evolution of Advertising in the Digital Age

Since the dawn of the digital age – also called the information age, new media age, or computer age – it’s triggered a profound shift in the advertising industry, from strategy development to attribution and expectations on marketers.

From Traditional to Digital: A Brief History

Before the digital age, traditional forms of advertising, such as print, radio, outdoor advertising, and television, were the mainstay options. While these mediums were effective, they lacked one fundamental marketing aspect: audience targeting

Marketers couldn’t pin down their target audience or tell who read or viewed their ads once they were broadcast. Traditional marketing utilized the spray-and-pray approach, which wasn’t particularly effective to reach a specific target market. However, the internet provided new digital platforms for marketers to reach and connect with their target market more personally.

The Rise of Digital Platforms

The initial digital ad was a banner ad that appeared in the first commercial online magazine, Hotwired, in 1994. It was sponsored by AT&T and took the advertising industry by storm after achieving an impressive click-through rate of 44%. Display ads became popular among marketing experts and soon went mainstream when search engines launched such as Yahoo in 1995 and Google in 1998.

As search engines became widespread, paid search advertising took center stage and triggered:

  • The launch of Google AdWords in 2000
  • The introduction of pay-per-click and cost-per-click advertising models in 2002

In the 21st century, social media advertising was born as various social media platforms launched:

  • LinkedIn in 2003
  • Facebook in 2004
  • YouTube in 2005
  • Reddit in 2005
  • Twitter in 2006 
  • WhatsApp in 2009
  • Instagram in 2010
  • Snapchat in 2011
  • TikTok in 2016

The rise of social media advertising was further fueled by the advent of the iPhone in 2007 and Android in 2008, which popularized the use of smartphones globally. Today, 99% of social media users worldwide use their mobile devices to access their favorite social media platforms, proving the immense influence of mobile on advertising. 

The Impact of Mobile Usage on Advertising

Since smartphones went mainstream in the early 21st century, they’ve transformed how people consume advertising. Because people walk around with their mobile devices, they can interact with a brand in real time when they need information the most. This convenience and speed of accessing information has transformed consumer behavior and raised the bar for customer experience.

Thanks to mobile ads, customers have an on-demand mindset. They expect quick information when they need it, especially when considering a purchase. It’s normal for customers to turn to their mobile phones to check out your brand when shopping in a store and immediately decide whether or not to buy your product. 

Mobile devices have enabled such intent-rich moments, which gives marketers a great opportunity to convert potential customers to buying customers by influencing their decision-making through advertising. Additionally, mobile usage prevalence means marketers can target and reach a wider audience: 4.8 billion people worldwide, as of 2024. 

Better yet, marketers can analyze mobile phone user data and know what users want. You can use mobile analytics to review user data such as app-use logs, online web engagement, and push notification response rate. 

This data helps you create demographic targeting campaigns to reach your target customers more effectively. With mobile analytics, you can establish the right metrics to track and analyze depending on the objectives of your ad campaign. It indicates the future of mobile advertising will be increasingly data-based. As a savvy digital marketer, you’ll want to upskill your data collection, analysis, and interpretation skills to be a more effective marketer and stay ahead of your peers.

Emerging Technologies Shaping the Future of Advertising

Because the digital advertising industry is heavily tech-driven, tech innovations trigger substantial shifts in advertising trends. These are the emerging technologies that show great promise of effecting seismic changes in the advertising world. 

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

AI has been the lifeblood of the digital advertising revolution even before the 21st century, and it will only get better in the future. This is thanks to machine learning, which enables AI to self-learn and improve by leveraging the data you feed it. 

AI’s capability to analyze and interpret big data in real time is perhaps the most profound aspect influencing digital advertising. With AI, you can leverage existing marketing data to predict customer behavior. When you have accurate audience insights, you can package your marketing message so it resonates with each customer. 

AI makes it easier for marketers to run personalized ad campaigns that target the right audience, helping you foster deeper connections with your customers and ultimately build customer loyalty. 

For example, our AI-powered AUDIENCEX Intelligence (AXi) suite can analyze crucial behavioral signals and facilitate personalization at scale. These tools can be leveraged by our expert teams to effectively analyze historical data, first-party data, and log-level data. 

Using advanced machine learning capabilities, these tools can leverage the insights derived from audience data analysis to model consumer behavior and build the ideal audience to drive a high conversion rate – as well as continually optimize your campaign to ensure maximized performance out of any budget, all while providing full transparency into performance.

Predictive Analytics in Audience Targeting

Also a feature of the AXi suite, predictive analytics uses machine learning techniques and statistical algorithms to analyze historical data and derive insights and predictions about future events. In digital advertising, predictive analytics identifies patterns in customers’ online behaviors and interests, buying patterns, and customer demographics. Predictive models then use this data to provide informed insights into your target audience. 

Aspects of audience targeting that predictive analytics perform include:

  • Customer segmentation (behavior and demographic-based segmentation)
  • Product recommendations (predictive models suggest what products best suit a particular target audience)
  • Churn prediction (predictive models forecast the customer audience that’s likely to disengage with your ads)

Unlike traditional analytics that focus only on understanding customer historical data, predictive analytics provide data-informed predictions about how your target audience’s behavior may change. 

A reliable predictive analytics tool can help predict your customer’s needs as they change and create relevant digital ads that resonate with them. This way, your digital ads will always be music to your customers’ ears. You’ll have the insights to craft engaging messages that harmonize with ever-changing consumer behavior. 

AI-Driven Content Creation and Optimization

Content marketing and optimization is a fundamental part of digital advertising. The fact that companies allocate anywhere from 11%–50% of their marketing budget to content marketing confirms content is king. However, creating and optimizing content is time- and energy-intensive, and doing it at scale without compromising quality comes with quite a price tag. 

This is where generative AI comes in. Using AI to create marketing content such as blogs, outbound messages, press releases, and social media posts is faster and more efficient. In fact, 77% of marketers surveyed by HubSpot now admit they create more content using generative AI than without it.

AI rewards busy digital marketers with substantial time savings by empowering them to create and optimize content faster. Because most marketers wear many hats in their jobs, even the tiniest amount of time saved is worth its weight in gold. To these marketers, AI is the gift that keeps on giving.

Some of the content marketing tasks you can use AI to complete include:

  • Generating content ideas and topics
  • Automating routine content creation tasks like updating your content calendar
  • Generating marketing images and other visual content for ads
  • Defining your content optimization goals and objectives
  • Craft video advertising content

With the fast-paced nature of the content marketing world, marketers who integrate AI in their content creation and optimization process gain a significant competitive advantage in the ad market. But, it’s also vital to remember that human expertise is necessary to ensure that these tools are being applied correctly. Working with experts on AI can produce much better results, provide fact-checking for these tools, and ensure an editing process that refines the product initially generated to ensure that it’s suitable to be published.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

AR and VR technologies are revolutionizing the advertising industry by enabling immersive shopping experiences that take marketing personalization to the next level. These two reality technologies let you run try-before-you-buy campaigns in a simulated environment.

Such AR- and VR-supported ad campaigns give your customers a virtual shopping experience that’s more memorable and interactive. VR and AR ad experiences trigger emotional responses from your customers by simulating how it would feel to use your products. Besides try-before-you-buy campaigns, you can utilize VR in advertising through:

  • Immersive brand storytelling
  • Virtual rooms
  • Branded AR filters

VR and AR will greatly influence the future of advertising, considering that more people globally are gaining access to VR devices. As of 2023, over 110 million Americans use AR devices, and over 32 million use VR devices, according to Statista.

At AUDIENCEX, we’ve recently partnered with Geenee AR to develop digital ads that have AR-driven virtual try-on technology integrated directly into display placements. This exciting new technology drives deeper engagement with these ads, fostering a stronger connection between brand and audience.

Blockchain for Transparency and Trust

Data is at the heart of digital advertising. However, data privacy and transparency issues between consumers, brands, and ad agencies have created a broad trust gap that hinders digital advertising transactions. Blockchain technology can bridge this transparency and trust gap by sealing weak points in data flow and exchange that could allow fraud or errors to creep in.

Blockchain is a distributed, public add-only ledger that allows authorized participants to verify each data transaction and flow individually. This means ad publishers, ad buyers, and consumers can verify the authenticity and ad performance of each data transaction. You can track which sites your ads are placed on and measure their performance.

Blockchain technology helps elevate trust and transparency among all participants of a data transaction. It prevents fraud during data sharing and gives marketers and ad publishers a definitive pathway for tracking ad performance in each outlet. 

The Growth of Programmatic Advertising and Automation

Programmatic advertising has rapidly taken over the majority of digital advertising, steering marketers and publishers to a more AI-powered and data-driven future of selling and buying digital ad space. Of the many digital advertising trends in the ad market, programmatic advertising is perhaps the most consequential, given it’s projected to generate 81% of digital advertising revenue by 2028

The Advantages of Programmatic Advertising

Put simply, programmatic advertising is the automated buying and selling of ad space via real-time bidding (RTB) platforms. Programmatic ad buying has many advantages, including the following.

Improved Efficiency

With programmatic advertising, you don’t have to manually contrast different ad spaces or call up different publishers to negotiate prices, as the entire ad-buying process is automated. Ad buying takes less time and is devoid of human errors. Further, automation allows real-time adjustments to your ad campaigns to maximize impact across all the ad spaces you’ve purchased.  

Improved Targeting and Reach

Targeting the right audience is fundamental in digital advertising. However, audience targeting is complex and requires you to analyze huge amounts of demographic and user behavior data to do it right. Programmatic advertising utilizes machine learning and AI capabilities to more efficiently execute audience targeting. This allows programmatic platforms to analyze audience data in detail and match it to the best-fit ad spaces most relevant to your target audience. For instance, programmatic advertising can help a car dealership identify users who’ve recently searched for new car sales or followed automotive sites or pages. Such an audience will be more likely to resonate with car dealership ads, leading to a better chance to convert them into customers. 

Enhanced Transparency and Optimization

Programmatic advertising follows a transparent process that gives you complete visibility over your ad campaigns. It shows you all the sites where your ads are displayed and how they’re performing.

With this information, you can conduct site audits and get more insights about the audience interacting with your ads. These insights can then be used to optimize your ad campaign message and make it more relevant to your audience. You may also switch from sites where your ads are underperforming and avoid ad placements in media slots that could harm your brand. 

The transparency offered by programmatic advertising platforms gives you the necessary insights needed to optimize your ad campaigns on the go. This ensures you get optimum performance from all your ads in different channels.

Increased Scalability and Flexibility

Thanks to their automation features, programmatic advertising platforms can scale your ad placements as your needs increase. For instance, if you want your ad to reach a bigger audience on certain days, you can prompt the platform to do so. Thanks to their deep AI capacity, programmatic channels may even recommend a scaling program based on data and pattern matching.

This level of flexibility allows you to capitalize on seasonal or temporary opportunities. For example, if you sell jerseys, increasing your ad reach during a significant sporting event, such as playoffs or championship games, can earn you more customers or traffic.  

Reduced Ad Spend

Programmatic advertising serves highly targeted ads to the right audience at the right time, keeping ad spend wastage to a minimum because ads aren’t displayed to a random audience. 

The automatic buying process saves time, labor, and operational costs, making programmatic ads more affordable than traditional ads like radio, TV, or print. Additionally, a platform can be instructed not to exceed a certain amount in a given period. For instance, during off-peak days when you know your audience is passive, you can program the platform to pause ad placement or spend a limited amount of money. 

Enhanced Compliance and Brand Safety

Platforms can offer tools to ensure ad placements align with brand guidelines and industry regulations. Today, there are many advertising regulations marketers and publishers must follow to remain compliant. They include:

  • BBB National Programs’ Self-Regulatory Program for Children’s Advertising
  • Consumer Review Fairness Act (CRFA)
  • The Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA)
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  • The Competition and Transparency in Digital Advertising (CTDA) Act
  • The state-level California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA)
  • Digital Advertising Accountability Program

Keeping up with the changing ad regulations and laws on your own is tiresome. An updated programmatic advertising program, particularly when overseen by experts such as those at a digital advertising partner like AUDIENCEX, will ensure that you stay compliant in real time.

Seamless Integration of Emergent Technologies

The true potential of emerging technology and programmatic advertising lies in the ability to seamlessly integrate both. Our AXi suite, for example, can be deployed across numerous programmatic platforms and channels throughout the digital landscape, working independently or in collaboration with enterprise-level platform technologies, to ensure that every campaign is getting the most out of any spend. With custom audiences, real-time optimization, predictive analytics, and full performance transparency, these tools are fully futureproof and privacy-safe. They have no reliance on third-party cookies and every dataset they use is completely opted-in and compliant.

These tools, leveraged throughout digital channels, can ensure that the right audience is targeted at the right time with the right message – and, over time, they will only become more effective at doing so. This ensures sustainable performance and full scalability that will remain adaptable to any changes that our rapidly evolving landscape may bring.

Embrace The Future of Advertising Today

Whatever the future of advertising brings, the most important thing in this ever-evolving industry is to keep an open mind and stay adaptable. It’s vital to stay on top of emerging technologies, new channels and formats, best practices and effective tactics. Working with a partner like AUDIENCEX can ensure that this is done for you, providing access to the latest in technology and data, informed testing and strategic integration of new solutions and channels, and in-depth expertise across verticals and platforms that will keep you up to date and ahead of competitors. We work to democratize access to the latest, enterprise-level solutions, evening the playing field for challenger brands and independent agencies.

As a full-service, AI-enabled digital advertising partner, our teams are passionate about the industry as it grows and changes. We embrace an array of platforms including enterprise-level programmatic DSPs, walled gardens, and independent solutions that are complementary to one another. With this unified approach, we create custom, holistic strategies that span channels to ensure that every placement and campaign performs to its fullest potential, driving results throughout the landscape and at all stages of the customer journey.

We are driven by a dedication to helping our clients find and expand their audiences, drive revenue, and achieve scalable growth today and well into the future. Reach out today to connect with a member of our team. We’d love to discuss the changes we’re seeing in the digital landscape and help you navigate the challenges and opportunities that come with them.