This Is Advertising’s Next Great Leap Forward

Right message, right person, right time

The next leap in advertising is literally the ability to leap across screens. Picture a brand’s multipart marketing story that begins on your tablet and ends on your smartphone.

Sequential messaging is digital advertising’s next act, and software, device and ad tech firms are scrambling to build the infrastructure to make it happen. The concept is simple enough, but execution requires powerful technology and perfect coordination.

Given how seamlessly consumers move from one device to another, so too must the ads. “You have to put the right message in front of the right person at the right time,” explained Omnicom Digital CEO Jonathan Nelson. “And now you have to show the right message a number of times, sending a sequence of messages that build on each other.”

Seems simple enough, but the current technology is imperfect. Sequential messaging demands the most accurate identifying software, which is one of the reasons why the industry is shifting away from relying on cookie-based profiling on desktops toward a world where it tracks users with unique IDs as they log onto smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and wearable computers.

For instance, Microsoft has developed ID software to target users on its Surface tablets. It’s also among the companies developing sequential messaging capabilities, per sources.

The dynamic ad format would draw marketers like studios promoting new movie trailers. Also, TV advertisers could amplify their campaigns on second screens or in companion apps like Twitter and Facebook.

In test cases, sequential messaging is already showing results for advertisers and influencing consumers, according to Paul Dolan, svp of global business development at Xaxis. “The data shows it works,” he said. “When you reach someone with a digital video message, then follow that up with a display ad to reach them on a PC and reach them again on mobile—one plus one equals three types of results.”

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