Most SMB advertisers won’t be immediately leveraging the technology unveiled recently at CES in Las Vegas, but that doesn’t mean they can’t tap into the excitement that the show generates with consumers and businesses alike. CES is no longer simply a show about TVs, cars and cell phone cases — it now represents the best of what humanity can really do when focused on collaboration and innovation.
So while some of the consumer-facing products that made headlines won’t hit store shelves for months, there was plenty to learn from the show for anyone involved in media, software, content, and design. Here’s a look at what we learned from the event and how it will impact advertising planning and creation right now.
The newest, biggest innovation that permeated CES was virtual reality, which is making quite a comeback. The reports from those trying out the headsets throughout the show were that the images and experience were simply amazing.
There are already big consumer-facing marketing pushes underway, as Samsung has added the Oculus Rift Operating System to its existing Galaxy Phone, requiring little more than an app download for consumers to immerse themselves in their own personal VR bubbles. With more content coming online (Discovery and NASA were showcasing VR experiences, among others), this will likely become a regular avenue of content consumption in very little time.
We’re likely years away from VR ad inventory hitting programmatic exchanges and becoming widely available, but in the short term, advertisers need to monitor how this excitement and consumption change the connection between consumers and their devices. If a VR app can essentially replace a home gaming console, then it has the power to make consumers even more attached to their mobile devices. This likely means that many more consumers will only utilize mobile devices to get online in the coming years, leading to more mobile-first ad campaigns at both the local and national levels. )More about VR and local in this recent Street Fight piece from Michael Boland.)
Programmatic Video Advertising
While VR ads aren’t likely to show up in your marketing plans in 2016, video will. Most of the attention in the video space is going toward programmatic. Several DIY campaign tools were showing at CES. Meanwhile, some technology companies that have developed proprietary tools used by big brands are considering launching self service offerings. There were even some with unconventional approaches, such as combining BitTorrent analytics with traditional data sources.
Video is the hot online advertising channel right now, and more options, more data and easier to use tools are all great signs for advertisers of all sizes. Data helps marketers large and small reach the best audience at a local level, and by making it easier to transact media programmatically, local advertisers have a better chance of identifying new consumers and growing their customer base.
There was perhaps no greater signal that CES has shifted its focus from consumer electronics to overall technological disruption than the conference’s new ecommerce marketplace. CES is trying to position itself as the show that understands and introduces the future, so while the ecommerce area was not much more than 10 booths, it was a clear sign that ecommerce is on the map for retailers of all sizes these days.
On a local level, this means more than just an online storefront – it means mobile compatibility and customized messaging to sell your products or services to different audiences. As ecommerce becomes a bigger part of overall sales, its presence at CES and other trade shows will grow tremendously in the coming years.
Overall, CES remains a technological spectacle, one that can deliver a shot of adrenaline to your innovative side. It’s fun to think about how the start-ups, self-parking cars, and razor thin TVs will impact our lives as consumers in the coming years, but the media and ad industry needs to start thinking about how these trends and technologies – and the excitement surrounding them – affect their short term plans as well.
Lynn Tornabene is a pioneering digital marketer with deep experience in the mobile, internet, media, advertising and technology industries. As CMO of AffinityX, Lynn leads brand strategy, corporate communications and marketing, and is directly involved with all digital innovation as head of product strategy.