Ireland’s Digital Future

Welcome to 2017 and our ‘post-truth’ society, Oxford English dictionary’s international word of 2016, where objective facts are less influential than blatant appeals to emotions, and where digital channels have a lot to answer for in terms of creating such a society. We’re in an age where your computer or phone is a one-way bubble that reflects all your own interests, algorithms observe what you click, the filter bubble dramatically amplifies your biases and social media platforms continue to deliver more of what you like. As a result, the way in which we select our news sources, create our opinions and gather information is dramatically changing.

In 2017, the Irish advertising industry is expected to reach the €1 billion mark. So really understanding how we create our opinions or shape our behaviours is of utmost importance to all in the advertising and marketing industry.

We must provide better control mechanisms and choices so that we can continue to reach consumers. The rise of ad-blocking and subscription services shows that consumers want to be in control of what they see and how they see it. While ad-blocking allows consumers to actively disengage from our messages online. Our challenge is to create better work enabling us to engage and connect with consumers through creativity, so they remain open to our content and messages.

Privacy is also a challenge. The pervasiveness of digital media brings both positives and negatives to our lives, our wellbeing, our relationships and our moods. As advertisers we need to ensure we are addressing the concerns of Irish consumers about the impact of digital technology on their privacy. There needs to be clear and honest communication between brands and consumers about what type of data we are tracking and how we are using that data to provide better services and products, else we run the risk of losing hard fought for customers, for good.

Content, and video content in particular, will continue to provide some common ground between brands and consumers. But click-baity content and reams of irrelevant ‘news’ stories in our newsfeeds will no longer suffice.

We need to focus on value versus volume.

We need to cut the fat from content and channels strategies that simply don’t add value to brands, and focus on relevant and personalised content that will bring consumers along the right consumer journey.

And finally, when we get sick of this ‘post-truth’ world, we can always look to virtual reality, augmented reality, and 360 videos. Rather than focusing only on the real world, we must now consider how we might use our artificially enhanced future for the benefit of our brands. These technologies provides new avenues for creativity, so it’s time to turn our sci-fi marketing fantasies into reality.