2014: The Year Advertising Gets Personal

Posted on January 8th 2014

2014: The Year Advertising Gets Personal

ImageAs we enter 2014, advertising is shifting in many ways. One thing that is not changing, however, is ads themselves. Consumers are exposed to hundreds of ads per day across several touch points. Unfortunately, the majority of those ads are still of no interest to the consumer. This will be the year marketers learn how to truly activate the data they didn’t know what to do with in 2013. Consumer behavior data, coupled with location data will provide actionable information so marketers connect with customers thanks to real time insights never before utilized. 

While 2013 was all about harnessing data – in 2014, advertisers will learn how to activate their data and make it actionable and personal. Look for two major trends in 2014 that will: a) help marketers reach who they want, when they need and on the touch point that will deliver the best results; and b) give total control to the brand in every stage of an advertising campaign. The shifts in the use of data as well as planning and buying mechanisms will alter the overall advertising process in favor of the brand and the consumer.

Marketers Will Glean Information From…Well, Everything

The ‘Internet of Things’, once just an interesting academic idea about interconnected gadgets, widgets and appliances, is arriving sooner than most people think. Whether its wearable technology like a fitness band that tracks quantified self data, a refrigerator that can make grocery lists or in-car navigation systems with roadway sensors, there’s a limitless range of technologies under the Internet of Things umbrella that are offering brand advertisers access to richer consumer data and new channels that can be used to power future campaigns. 

The benefits the ‘Internet of Things’ offers to advertising are two-fold. Advertisers will be able to deliver more personalized ads to consumers actively in the market and looking for a specific product or service. These new technologies will give marketers a better understanding of the characteristics that make an individual valuable to them, in real time.

On the flip side, consumers will also benefit from the relevancy in advertising the Internet of Things delivers. For example, a consumer will receive an ad for running shoes, as they are running on a treadmill, or an advertisement for light bulbs will appear on a home automation device after a light bulb burns out. Consumers will continue to see ads, however the ads they see will be personalized to them and delivered in the right moments, eliminating ad waste and cutting out pointless noise.

Delivering to a Customer Anywhere

Opportunities for new data will keep rolling in for marketers this new-year. Mobile ad campaigns will start to leverage comprehensive analytics to hyper-target existing customers in real-time and identify avenues to connect marketers with their next customers on their most trusted device.

In 2014, brands will utilize location-based data harnessed from consumers checking into their favorite retail store or restaurant and social logins on mobile devices. Location data allows marketers to take personalization to a brand new level. Alongside data already gained from a consumer’s online behavior, brands can send targeted ads as a consumer gets closer in proximity to the physical store they have already expressed interest in. More and more consumers are turning to mobile devices as their primary screen, creating that much more data marketers can use.

The data harnessed from the innovative technologies that make up the ‘Internet of Things,’ and the new capabilities to locate a customer and deliver content depending on their proximity will prove invaluable to marketers in the years to come. However, with all these additional avenues coming online, the complexity of ad buying can seem muddled if marketers are not using the ideal tools.

Platforms Thrive. Networks Die.

As marketers continue to expand their digital footprint in 2014, they will seek more cost-effective media buying solutions that offer them the transparency, control, performance and insights they have been looking for in the past. Generic ad networks will become a thing of the past, especially as consumers continue to turn their attention to mobile screens. More touch points means more time spent game planning to reach the user across their multiple screens. Ad buying platforms will rise to the forefront as a crucial solution removing the complexity of media buying.

Social networks and companies with proprietary data will lead the charge toward platforms, as they give brands a bigger voice in targeting the right people thus meeting their objectives. Facebook recently overhauled their ad-buying platform to simplify the process and allow brand marketers to have more control over their campaigns. Unlike networks, platforms are designed to put the power back in the hands of brands and eliminate arbitrage and heavy fee loads associated with the agency model.

Consumers are allowing their devices, appliances, homes and vehicles to monitor their personal environments – opening up a goldmine of data and insight into a consumer’s behaviors. Marketers are also tapping into once unused data to locate customers in real time to understand even more about their behaviors. To stay ahead of the curve, marketers will need to take advantage of ad buying platforms to better control their campaigns and cut out unnecessary spend associated with networks.

Despite many consumers’ wishes, advertisements are not going away. Developing content that actually resonates with individuals may change their tune. Advertising in a smarter, more personal way will change the game for brand marketers.

Gurbaksh Chahal

Gurbaksh Chahal

CEO, RadiumOne

Gurbaksh Chahal is the founder, CEO and chairman of the programmatic advertising company RadiumOne, his third company within the online advertising space. RadiumOne is changing the face of online advertising by providing a novel approach to effectively target audiences and deliver ads through programmatic buying, based on the social intelligence gleaned through its proprietary first-party data. Each month RadiumOne engages directly with more than 700 million unique consumers, generates over 10 billion sharing events and reaches over 25 billion real-time impressions each day across web, mobile and Facebook.


A pioneer within the advertising industry, Gurbaksh founded and sold two advertising companies before the age of 25. He started his first company Click Agents in 1999 at the age of 16. The Company pioneered the initial birth of performance-based advertising, and in 2000 it eventually merged with ValueClick.


After ClickAgents, Gurbaksh founded BlueLithium, an ad network that provided behavioral targeting technologies and advanced analytics to optimize campaign performance for major brands around the globe. At BlueLithium, Gurbaksh introduced some of the first online behavioral targeting capabilities to the industry and the company quickly became an online advertising trailblazer by focusing on ad delivery, data optimization and campaign analytics. BlueLithium was acquired by Yahoo! in 2007.


During his career, Gurbaksh has been featured in various media outlets such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, Bonnie Hunt, Neil Cavuto, The New York Times, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, Entrepreneur Magazine, Forbes, and BusinessWeek. On April 29, 2010, Chahal was awarded the Leaders In Management Award and an Honorary Doctorate degree in Commercial Science from Pace University for his career achievements as an entrepreneur.


Gurbaksh’s best-selling autobiography – The Dream is used as a text in college courses and continues to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs around the world. Also a philanthropist in support of social causes, Gurbaksh launched a non-profit called BeProud.org, which is dedicated to ending hate crimes around the world. The foundation has gained worldwide media attention and has drawn support form celebrities such as Deepak Chopra, Nelson Mandela Family, Sir Ben Kingsley and many others. 

See Full Profile >


Posted on January 10th 2014 at 11:48AM

A few points. Some of the scenarios listed are advertising after the fact. I still get ads today because I  bought a tv a few months back. I bought my shoes before I got on the treadmill, and I have my light bulbs in my cupboard in case one goes out.

There are a variety of reasons to advertise, from brand awareness, to product or event awareness.

1. People love ads. As much press is devoted to ads at the superbowl as for the game.

2. The connected world allows one additional player into the advertising world, basically the consumer.

3. Searching for products, reviews etc can be very frustrating

When someone figures out the consumer wants relevant advertising, allows the consumer to opt in telling you their preferences (instead of trying to guess and so often missing through analytics) and starts promoting feature based ad snippets. A few seconds long for each feature. Starts making them clever to grab the user's attention and presents a campaign to the user, rather than an ad.

for example. I am looking for a new car. what are my must haves, what are things I would like - seduce me. I want pep, cool, 2 (occasionally  4 passenger). great sound system etc.

nissan sends me a 30 second ad with people dancing (they send it about 10 times.)

mini sends me a 10 second ad with a parked mini bouncing around, a few seconds in the doors open and a disheveled male and female exit the car.  Voice over - "the new mini clubman, now with roomier back seats"  

they know I viewed it so the next time I get a different 10 second ad.

A burglar breaking into a house - the alarm goes off. The burglar runs and jumps into a mini. Voiceover " the new mini clubman S, when you need a fast getaway"

they know I viewed it so the next time I get a different 10 second ad and so on. They are fulfilling my must haves first

they can send me accessory coupons, or send me a mini t-shirt so I start identifying with the brand

anyway, my point is really that advertisers need to start being interactive and partner with the consumer.

We love ads - Ask me where I am going, don't aim at where I have been.

6 one way half a dozen another
Posted on January 11th 2014 at 10:56PM

Jeff Lee has it right:

"When someone figures out the consumer wants relevant advertising, allows the consumer to opt in telling you their preferences (instead of trying to guess and so often missing through analytics)..."

This needs to be where growth is aimed - involving the consumer in the process of deciding what ads they will see, not by inference, but by direct opt-in. As he suggests, creating a specific list of choices and wants rather than broad, vague categories, is where consumers are headed. So many ads to see but all for something someone else wants to sell not for something a consumer wants to buy. Until want lists are part of the equation, pure analytics will continue to keep true growth from happening. I don't want cola, I want Coke. It should be that specific.

One other note: location data is one of the types of background apps that really drains battery power. A help group that I belong to regularly advises people to turn it off to save power or at the least, enable it for wifi only. As more apps continue to use this function, the users will start to switch them off or remove them from their devices. Supporting apps that make them less of a burden on users should be a priority of marketing or mobile growth will reach a plateau far sooner than expected.