Platforms, Applications and the Future of Digital Marketing
REST APIs, Rules and Relevance
In the user controlled medium that is digital advertising success is predicated on delivering relevance. Nowhere is this exemplified better than the success of search where there is a data input (rule 1) and multiple additional rules (geo and behavioral) that results in the delivery of content believed to be most relevant to the goals of the user. There is no question that the race to gain access to more implicit and explicit input data from users and from publishers to create rules will continue to increase the ability for marketers to deliver relevance in the coming years.
There are three components of this that marketers need to understand.
1. The tools for gathering and structuring content into a marketing corpus (ads, articles, products, whatever)
2. The tools for creating rules based delivery (testing, targeting)
3. The methodologies for executing and presenting optimized creative
In the next 12-24 months online marketing success will continue to be less and less about banners and websites and more and more about the dynamic experience everywhere. We need to look “under the hood” at content as being a database platform that improves our ability to present and deliver content. The changes this effects with the strategic and creative use of data through APIs and algorithms is profound.
Pull it Forward
Once content is free from the restrictions and limitations of site architecture and reliance on traffic sources marketers are empowered to create more compelling and relevant digital solutions. This can take the form of advertising unit widgets, dynamic landing pages, microsites, search interfaces and a host of new and useful applications.
Increased relevance will be delivered in the what (messages) but more impact and success for advertisers and publishers will be felt in the where -- bringing tools to deliver relevance closer to users creates better experiences. The same basic principles that apply for search should be your guide and inspiration to create an API that you can use to deliver relevance anywhere, especially in display (where successful ad units are increasingly more dynamic and interactive) or the emerging use of widgets/gadgets.
Distributing user controlled functionality into your business at multiple touch-points is the core idea behind the distributed web or web as a platform. Though this is not new for search engines or publishers (think toolbars or syndication) we are just beginning to scratch the surface of it as a highly optimized advertising solution. Just today Union Square Ventures announced funding of a platform based company that doesn’t even have a website!
Relevance Breeds Emotion
The net result of all this is that deeper and more engaged user interactions are taking place and breeding higher levels of emotional connection to digital -- as the web becomes more intelligent it becomes more relevant. This connection with intelligence leads to higher returns both in transactional measurements and brand value. It’s how Google has built one of the strongest brands in the world while at its core it is the greatest direct marketing platform the world has known. Platform marketing allows you to apply these same principles to achieve success with your online business.
There is one important last piece that can’t be overlooked to ensure success. Marketers and creative folks must begin to understand technology and learn how to use it creatively. This will be the biggest hurdle to success. The days of siloed IT and Marketing, of Creative Directors that don’t know their clients Content Management Systems will end in a fiery furnace filled with ashen businesses and agencies.
In the first decade of the commercial net access to data smote a number of verticals like travel and music. In the next decade far greater access to data will continue to destroy a number of now successful businesses and advertising models. It will also create many revolutionary opportunities and digital success stories. Which will you be? The answer probably rests in if you have or will create a plan in the next 6-12 months for creating the platform, rules and delivery of your marketing content.
NOTE 1/16: Paid Content has an interview today with Google's Andy Berndt where he touches on creating marketing platforms.
"all new platforms give an early advantage to those who can best manipulate the technology itself, the best technicians. After the platform becomes user friendly, when it is opened up to the best storytellers and designers and communicators, they tend to add another level to it. The rare time when you find people who really appreciate both sides of that coin (innovation and storytelling) is where truly amazing things happen."
It's a good read. More here