The media industry is vibrant and growing, but it is also an important driver of the economic recovery. Monthly employment figures serve as indicators of economic health, but the number that really counts is consumer spending. When consumers buy stuff, wealth is circulated and economies grow. Advertising media is the gravitational force that draws consumers still reeling from the 2008 crisis back to the high street.
A comforting term in media is “reach”. It refers to a brand’s ability to expose their message to a consumer at some point in time. Brands want reach, and agencies structure their operation towards providing it. For traditional channels, if a brand can demonstrate they reached a consumer with their message, it’s considered a job well done.
But 2008 forced upon consumers a reality check that has permanently altered their reception of traditional advertising channels, and how they then act on those brand messages. A nervous consumer is harder to persuade, and so that means in 2016 it is simply not enough to get in front of them.
For an emerging media enthusiast, 2016 is proving to be an exciting time of rapid evolution in the advertising media industry. Budding from the crevices of bloated traditional media channels are tech companies who have anticipated these shifts in consumer behavior and are bringing brands into the “geo-space age”.
Geospatial media is the blossoming love-child of established mobile and outdoor channels and is where I see the most promising developments in advertising taking place this year. This is because, as a genetically modified hybrid channel, it is able to more quickly adapt to multi-screen, multi-location behavioral patterns.
Larger agencies are having a hard time coming to grips with the geospatial proposition as it means defying their carefully engineered swim-lanes and bringing about a convergence of more established channels.
But what is becoming quickly clear is that those very demographics who are responsible for driving the economic recovery are consuming media differently and more platform-agnostically than ever, and it is they who have redefined the media industry on our behalf.
The journey of a consumer through the real world as they leave the home, go to work, go out with friends and return home now demands a completely new approach to media strategy that releases the stubborn shackles of channel-silo adherence and embraces geospatial audience data and cross-screen distribution.
Independent and emerging mobile and Out Of Home Adtech companies with an appreciation for audience mobility data are the ones to watch in 2016. These companies are connecting the pipes between channels and finally putting to use the colossal warehouses of data that mobile devices have been collecting for over a decade now.
It is they who are leading the way toward a geo-space age that consumers have been playing in for some years already, and that now awaits only the arrival of innovative brands with a burning desire to shift this improving consumer confidence in their direction.