We’ve spent months exploring what the future of advertising will look like, and we’re excited to share the findings of our research with you: “The Future Of Advertising Is Imminent Upheaval — And You’re Not Ready For It.”

Let’s start by saying that we believe in a future with advertising — but it won’t look anything like the advertising of the last 50 years. Advertising requires a balancing act — there’s balance and tension among the three parties that really matter in the relationship: advertisers, publishers (content creators), and consumers. But that balance has been thrown off-kilter as empowered consumers reject old ad strategies 1) because they can and 2) because marketers’ actions have driven them away.

And that’s a bad thing for everybody: Publishers face crumbling revenue on ads that no longer work, and marketers face crumbling performance on ads that consumers choose to avoid.

The current advertising mess is one of our own making. As one industry expert told us, “We’ve created the target on our backs.” Performance is declining because:

  • The way we create audience segments is outmoded. Consumers are complex and nuanced. They are neither simply age/gender nor just the sum of their behaviors. Now, advertisers must consider younger cohorts that increasingly believe gender is a spectrum and consumers who identify as trans or gender-nonconforming.
  • The way we buy media doesn’t represent consumer behaviors. We still buy in silos even though simultaneous multidevice use is commonplace. We still pummel consumers with ads and neglect holistic, frequency-based buying strategies. We still chase people around the internet and across TV screens.
  • The way we message is 50 years behind. Today, consumers can find the information they’re looking for in seconds: “Does that brand really stand for what it says it does?” “Is there another option that’s better or cheaper than another brand?”

Underscoring this situation are massive, related forces — namely, privacy and threatened consumer data access, the crumbling third-party cookie, and the rise of more walled gardens — that are and will continue to shape the future of advertising.

We believe in a future for advertising, but it’s a future that is far less open — goodbye, broad-based, “audience targeting.” Instead, it’s one that will necessarily be more much curated and controlled by consumer choice. But brands and media companies alike will need to make big changes if they want to effectively navigate this new world. What kind? And how? Check out the report here to learn more. And schedule an inquiry with us here to discuss what it all means and what you should do.