Wouldn’t it be great if you never saw or heard an advert that you weren’t interested in? Imagine those who pay to tell you stories, be they multinationals, governments or the local shop, only talking to you if their message is relevant to you. Combining a register of interests with a deeper understanding of your state at any moment are steps in this direction.
That is why combining a future Google with a future Twitter (or Indenti.ca) will be a powerful combination.
However, once ‘perfect advertising’ is achieved, we might have to get used to a world with less media – unless we are prepared to fund it ourselves.
Here’s how banks work: People lend banks X, banks lend out 3X – knowing that it is unlikely that the people lending them money will want all their money back at once.
Here’s how advertising works: People who sell things want to inform others that those things are available. They pay the media to produce content that an audience wants to consume. While consuming the content, the audience might also take in the salespeople’s messages. Note the word ‘might’ – you have to spend a lot on the off-chance that people will pay attention.
Currently advertisers need to spend 10X to communicate with their audiences, although they would only need to spend X if their messages only were delivered to those they specifically want to communicate with. To paraphrase an old saying: ‘At least 9X of my 10X ad spend is wasted, I just don’t know which 9X.’ TV programmes are too general. Specialist publications can’t deliver the audiences they once did.
Once advertising is perfected, there are three possibilities. The amount of money spent communicating with audiences will stay the same, rise, or fall. This sum influences the amount of media there is in the world. If advertising becomes more efficient and cheaper, there will be less money for people to create TV shows. We may end up with a tenth of the commercial TV we are used to. Alternatively, our availability to advertisers may support more TV, radio and (dynamic) print.
We might be able to decide how much TV we’d like in the world.
It may be that a future tech will create the world of perfect advertising. When that comes along, individuals may be able to discover exactly much any communication strangers want to have with them is worth to the market. They might be able to set their technology to negotiate with the advertisers for admission.
How much will they be prepared to pay for a world of perfect advertising?
[ a post inspired by my trip to tomorrow’s Media Camp London (#MCL2) ]