By James G. Brooks, Founder & CEO of GlassView
I don’t have to convince you that screens are the future. You’re staring into one right now.
If you’re like most Americans, you will spend about 12 hours today gazing into one screen or another. That may seem like a natural limit, but consider how screens have proliferated in recent years. There are screens at gas pumps, screens at supermarket checkout lines and screens on exercise equipment.
Take Peloton for example. The hit $2,000 exercise bike has transformed the home workout experience by linking consumers to live broadcast exercise classes. But Peloton, which just raised $550 million for a $4.15 billion valuation, isn’t the only sign that the IoT age is upon us. A recent Samsung ad points to another smart use of video — a family uses a screen on their refrigerator to take a video call and then mom shuts off the TV in the other room when dinner’s ready.
All of this signals that the Internet of Things is not a future technology. It’s here now. That means that very targeted video ads on IoT devices will soon become the norm. Here’s why:
They will reduce the cost of hardware. We already live in a world in which consumers can get free versions of apps, news articles and streaming music services in exchange for viewing ads. If they’d rather pay extra, they can skip the ads. Hulu also offers a more expensive ad-free experience for those willing to pay extra not to see ads. Subsidizing IoT devices the same way then is plausible. Imagine if ads on a smart refrigerator reduced the cost by a few hundred dollars?
They will offer helpful IoT apps. What would you use the video screen on a refrigerator for anyway? In the Samsung ad, it’s for placing a video call. Another use would be for showing recipes or videos of chefs preparing those recipes. Such content will either come from subscription, web browsing or via apps. The latter two will likely be ad-supported. Sitting through a 30-second targeted ad is a small price to pay for a time-saving recipe. There are other applications. A garage-based screen could deliver DIY videos and apps. A laundry room screen could offer info on apparel care or cleaning.
Marketers will be able to target the right user at the right time. Someone who is calling up a recipe obviously cooks at home and is a great target for a food ad or for a service like Blue Apron. The latter, which extensively advertises on podcasts, might find that targeting a consumer when they’re just about to cook a meal is the perfect time to pitch its services. Similarly, when a consumer is cleaning or doing wash, their minds are focused on those activities, creating opportunities for marketers of relevant products.
Consumers will be able to control their ad exposure. Consumers are aware that their attention has value. The interruptive advertising model is an affront to this calculation. But offering consumers the choice of seeing an ad in exchange for something — an app or service — is a fair deal. Research has shown that such opt-in ads engage users at eight times the rate of autoplay ads.
There are two trends that are paving the way for IoT ads. One is the growth of IoT devices in the home. The other is the possibility of opt-in advertising, which offers consumers something of value for their time. The merging of these two trends points to a future which is attractive to both advertisers and consumers. Consumers get control and marketers get a willing audience. That’s as close to a win-win as you can get.