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Skipping and choosing: How consumers are getting the ‘upper hand’ on advertisers

Brands will still find themselves at the mercy of their consumers’ disinterest in advertising by 2030, leaving marketers with no choice but to “evolve” now, according to a recent panel discussion.

Consumers, who already have the ‘upper hand’ when it comes to ad blocking, will only become even more selective over the next 12 years unless brands become more “respectful” of their audiences’ time, argued Essence Asia-Pacific’s chief executive officer Kyoko Matsushita.

Speaking on stage at the Mumbrella360 Asia conference in November about the ‘Mega Trends’ likely to be seen in 2030, Matsushita said: “[Social media] has become a bit of a broadcasting tool for brands and individuals. Some day there will be a piece of technology that lets users block it all out; it’s already happening.

“The piece of communication has to be relevant and respectful to the audiences, whatever the social channel. Consumers have the upper hand of blocking and skipping ads; it will be more so in 15 years. They won’t be looking at advertising in a passive way – it’s all experience and stories. If it’s not relevant, it’s commercial suicide. You’re wasting a lot of money.”

Echoing her comments, fellow panellist Grace Liau, Google’s head of media, said: ” Advertising truly has to evolve. It needs to be less of a mass reach product; it needs to be more tailored to an individual lifestyle. You have to pay attention to what they’re paying attention to; solve problems for them. Because by 2030, there will be far more automation than anything we have seen now.”

However, she added: “There is a real threat that content owners have to monetise their content. And consumers keep skipping, then this freeness of the content could very well go away. A lot more development needs to happen; there will be a lot more paywalls.

“My hope is that by 2030, people can line-up the commercials they want to watch. Because now you don’t get to choose. They just show up. Maybe in 2030, that could be an evolution of how that happens.”

From left: Kyoko Matsushita, Grace Liau with AdColony’s Vikas Gulati

Discussing other trends likely to hit critical mass by 2030, Matsushita argued voice would take over from keywords as the modus operandi of search. “Today my daughter doesn’t do keywords; she’s nine and will be 24 in 2030. She doesn’t use a laptop and doesn’t think about using it to search. We will need to think about advertising [through search] very differently,” she said.

However, in contrast, Liau argued applications like augmented and virtual reality were more over-hyped in their usefulness due to their sheer impracticality.

She argued: “I haven’t seen the promise of [AR and VR] come through. And who wants to walk around in goggles? We’re trying to make it accessible. It was to evolve to become seamless; you shouldn’t have to buy another thing. It should fit seamlessly with what you already have.”

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