Online advertising roundup: Everything you need to know

With the rise of social media, mobile and video – not to mention ever-evolving consumer trends – the online advertising space is constantly changing.

This industry roundup will enable you to keep on top of what’s new and successfully navigate the world of online advertising

Costs rise for Google ads

Recent changes to Google’s online advertising format seem to be bumping up the price of image and text-based ads, according to certain studies. Back in February, the search engine did away with paid adverts on the right-hand side of its results page whilst adding a fourth advertising slot above the organic search results, essentially pushing the organic listings further down whilst making AdWords ads more prominent. Whilst the fourth-position text ad at the top of the SERPs has seen a higher click-through rate, reducing the amount of available ad space has caused the cost-per-click for product listings to go up. A decrease in the number of advertisers bidding for space has also been reported, indicating that companies with smaller budgets may need to bid more strategically from now on.

Sound set to innovate

Mobile has long been disrupting the way brands and consumers interact, and start-up company LISNR is set to take this one step further. Whilst traditional forms of cross-device advertising rely on an internet connection, LISNR has come up with technology which enables advertisers to connect with their audience using nothing more than sound. A smart tone played over any kind of audio broadcast system is used to activate any nearby devices that have the LISNR API/SDK installed, providing the recipient with anything from content and offers to announcements and reminders. Rolled out by Budweiser at its Made in America concerts, the LISNR concept signals another step towards anytime, anywhere brand communication.

Personalisation remains key

Personalisation is by no means a cutting-edge concept, and advertisers have long recognised the value of making an impact on an individual level. Indeed, the entry of data and analytics into the online advertising space has made it easier than ever to place highly targeted banner ads, with websites and brands now able to join forces by a quick search of the latest affiliate program launches via companies like affilinet. As targeted advertising in this way has become increasingly commonplace, brands need to focus even more on finding ways to further personalise their ads, creating banners that not only appear in the right place, but equally use emotion to communicate on a personal level.

Social media to reign supreme

The digital advertising industry has reached impressive heights, with Bloomberg reporting that online advertising revenue in the US alone stood at almost $60 billion in 2015 – a 20% growth on the previous year. Google and Facebook accounted for 64% of the total revenue, and the prediction that Instagram (owned by Facebook) will bring in over $3 billion in 2016 only serves to reiterate the ever-growing role of social media. As one of the most influential online channels, brands must continuously find ways to leverage social media for powerful advertising campaigns.

A new era for advertising

Traditionally, social media and content marketing have been used by brands to promote and sell their products or services. However, the growing number of paid advertising channels – on social networks in particular – has freed up these platforms for a different kind of advertising. Instead of posting explicitly promotional content, companies are now able to use blogging and social media to tell their story and build customer relationships. By stepping away from the hard sell, brands can provide valuable content whilst gaining consumer trust, so that ultimately, when the consumer does see a direct, paid-for advert, they are familiar with the brand and more open to its message. This blend of brand storytelling and direct promotion represents a more multifaceted, holistic future for advertising.