Adobe AirThere has been a lot of discussion about the role of ‘cloud computing’ and seeing the PC as some kind of dumb-terminals accessing network software or documents – almost reversing to the way mainframes worked in the 70’s, but now on a global scale. It will change the nature of personal computing, to follow you as a person with you content and programs accessed anywhere, anytime and from any device. This blur between the offline-desktop and the online-browser has just taken a huge leap forward with the launch of Adobe AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime).

According to the company’s site; ‘Adobe AIR is a cross-operating system runtime that enables web developers to use their existing web development skills, code and tools to build and deploy rich web applications and content to the desktop.’

Adobe fuses on and offline worlds

However there is a flaw – the article points out content needs to be accepted from ‘trusted sources’ – but exactly who or what is a trusted source?! Targeting of content (and advertising) is a reality, after all that’s why your Sky+ box has a link to the phone line to track your usage in order to better predict. I will leave this as an aside for the moment.

The net effects of this push-content delivery are the role of advertising will equally need to change. Not only does the nature of push and pull advertising become ever more so important – (think your click rates are falling now? Just wait…) – but the context, point of connection and device are all called into play.

If content will be delivered to the desktop, so will the advertising. But define desktop – on which device are you currently viewing your desktop?

Dynamic real-time insertion into desktop applications will be crucial for the next wave of advertising, and will serve as a key starting point into the realms of cross-channel marketing following a user –behaviourally, contextually and geographically. I have already been involved in playing with a couple of key concepts in this area.

  1. Eyeblaster’s in-game advertising solution has for the last couple of years been addressing the distinction between download a game (complete with a default ad) – allow a user to play with or without a continuous connection. If the user is offline, the ad continues to serve, interactive usage is tracked – and upon reconnection update ad usage data and / or pull down new adverts.
  2. Several campaigns are using adverts within MSN and Yahoo! Instant Messenger’s. As they stay open on a desktop all day, as opposed to a once or twice a day site visit, users are exposed to a higher length of time for a brand message which eventually causes an interaction – either roll-over or click. Statistics I have seen reveal 10x increase in exposure to an advert which generates a 20% uplift in expansion rates and at least 50% uplift in click-thru rates.

Both these factors contribute a great deal in terms of innovation and appropriating new methods of reach and analysis, but are still in essence re-hashing existing advertising concepts in new way, i.e. distribution as opposed to generating new methods of advertising, but this will come as adoption of these formats takes a prominence of its own. Sequencing adverts across devices and pushing through the marketing cycle or sales funnel will truly inspire advertising inspiration.

Stand in front of a billboard, search on Google on your mobile and see the advert change on the bus shelter next to you. Browse online on your mobile and see the next display advert sequence on your mobile. Get home and see yet another sequenced ad on your TV whilst simultaneous being given a call-to-action on your laptop…

Exciting (if not somewhat scary) times ahead.