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The “When Factor”: The Key to the Future of Advertising is Not “Where”, But “When”


We have a problem when it comes to online advertising. The problem isn’t with available online ad inventory or the technology to track ad effectiveness. It isn’t a problem in the low click through rates or the perceived low returns on investment. No, ladies and gentlemen, the problem is not in any of those things that have consumed us for the last few years. The problem is we are thinking about “where” to place advertising online when the real thinking should be “when” to place advertising online.

Arguably the best example of using the “when factor” in online advertising is in the concept of re-messaging. Re-Messaging has been around for years. And I have not met one person who has doubts of its effectiveness. But it has only been the last couple of years where people are justifying the cost of implementation. What makes it effective though is in its timing. With the knowledge of prior behavior you can spend less time rehashing the proposition and more time selling again.

But here’s the real game changer.
There’s recent news that Google has been granted a patent for “Claiming Real Estate in Panoramic or 3D Mapping Environment for Advertising”. In plain english that means, they can place relevant real-time banner advertising in Google Street view scenes. And this takes things up a notch.

Here’s an example: let’s say you are searching for a street view of your dentist’s office. As the street view screen loads, you are greeted with a banner ad for the Starbucks next door. You may be saying to yourself that this sound more like a strategically placed ad making it more about the “where” not the “when”. But what if that banner ad changed based on the time of day it was served? What if the same ad that offers a coffee coupon at 7:00 AM, offers a sandwich offer at lunchtime?

So in this example, what was an Apple iPod billboard can be replaced with a Starbucks animated banner (obviously a better one than this crude mockup example). And only a Starbucks banner for the people that search for Starbucks.

Serving up relevant offers to relevant people in relevant places. And only when they are relevant. That is the power of “when”.

There’s a better, deeper way to engage prospects. It’s coming. (As soon as Google’s legal team figures it all out)