What the Internet of Things could mean for ad targeting

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2015 could be the year that the Internet of Things goes mainstream. When it happens, the data generated by these “smart products” could be used to target ads on a one-to-one basis.

IoT platform company Evrythng has partnered with the digital ad firm Trueffect to devise ways to do exactly that. Evrythng has been working for food companies Mondelez and Diageo to embed digital tracking technology into their products and assign each one a unique ID. Every connected product can be tracked this way, and the data is stored in a first party marketing database.

The data can reveal what stage of the buying cycle the consumer is in, and what kind of content advertisers should target the consumer with.

For example, Diageo experimented with bottles of Johnny Walker using Evrythng’s technology where they allowed the buyer to customize a video which would display for the recipient of the bottle. The experiment allowed Diageo to see who was buying their products.

IoT will be HUGE!

The Internet of Things has the potential to revolutionize marketing. It’s been estimated that there will be 75 billion connected devices, and 50 trillion gigabytes of data produced by those devices, by 2020. At the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Samsung CEO BK Yoon said during his keynote address, “It’s not science fiction anymore. It’s science fact. We are bringing the physical and digital world together… it will revolutionize our lives.”

As more and more devices are connected, advertisers will be able to target users at exactly the right time and with exactly the right message to make an impact. For example, if you’re running out of milk at home, a smart fridge could detect that shortage and then start sending promotions on your smartphone urging you to buy milk at your local grocery store.

Rich Astley, managing director at Videology UK, wrote, “The bottom-line for brand advertisers: the IoT could change the definition of advertising and what we come to think of as ‘media’ by enabling entirely new opportunities for connecting with consumers and contributing in real ways to their daily experiences.”

In a future filled with smart products, advertisers won’t have to rely on pop ups or banner ads because highly targeted and personalised ads will be much more effective. We might not even see commercials anymore because the IoT will usher in a whole new style of advertising where everything is completely relevant to the end user.

There are, of course, privacy concerns associated with the Internet of Things because people are naturally worried about who has access to their personal information and how it’s being used. There aren’t any government regulations surrounding the IoT yet, although the Federal Commission is looking into it. It may just be a matter of time until the hammer comes down and restrictions force IoT provides to follow policies governing their products.

Even still, the IoT is spreading to all aspect of our lives, connecting products to the cloud through devices like QR codes. According to an Acquity Group survey done in 2014, 69 percent of consumers polled planned to buy a smart device in the next five years. More companies are getting on board with the IoT as well, like Samsung for example. Samsung announced at the 2015 CES that 90 percent of all its devices will be designed for cloud interconnectivity by 2017.

The IoT can revolutionize the way advertisers promote their products, and many experts agree that it’s going to happen sooner rather than later. If Everythng and Trueffect succeed in their experiments, it could be a sign of what’s to come.

Flickr photo via Creative Commons

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Chris Riddell

Chris Riddell

Chris Riddell is a freelance journalist, copywriter and poet from Mississauga who now lives in Montreal. His byline has appeared in many newspapers and websites such as The National Post, The Globe and Mail, The Montreal Gazette, and Torontoist. He's an expert profiler and has interviewed many notable personalities such as KISSmetrics founder Neil Patel, Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray, and Hollywood actor Michael Rooker. If you want to find out more about him, visit his website and follow him on Twitter @riddellwriter.
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