Google has become much more than a search engine.
The search giant is becoming more of a general technology giant, and it is buying up companies at a rate of nearly one per month. It has purchased companies like YouTube and is producing gadgets like the Chromecast.
As Google expands its holdings, it only makes sense that it will be able to offer more connectivity for both users and advertisers. More people will be able to find the information they need on more sites and gadgets, and advertisers will be able to reach more of those users.
Right now, Google offers a lot of AdWords targeting options to help brands reach the specific users most likely to be interested in their products or services. Here are a few ways that these targeting options might expand with Google’s new holdings and its extended reach:
Right now, the Chromecast allows people to stream movies and videos from their computers to their televisions with no ads.
However, it is not out of the realm of possibility that Google could soon start inserting ads mid-program or at the beginning of the videos, just like it does with YouTube.
Even if it doesn’t put ads on the videos themselves, Google can still collect the data about what users are watching to show them targeted ads in their gmail or while surfing online.
For example, if someone has just watched a rom com, Google could show ads for dating services, flower delivery, or a gift site.
Of course, Google has a wealth of data to use, regardless of what devices users own.
For example, Google can use the weather data for a particular region to target those users. If users are in an area going through a drought, Google could show ads for nurseries that sell plants that need little water or for landscapers who specialize in xeriscaping.
Using weather data is more about offering smarter targeting options than taking advantage of new technologies, but we see it becoming part of the future of advertising.
Health and Fitness Tracking
A lot of people wear health monitors like the Fitbit and the Apple watch now. These wrist bands track steps taken, calories burned, heart rate and more.
For those devices connected through Google, the search giant could get valuable data for ad targeting. For example, if someone starts to take more steps or get more speed, it could show that they have started running or embarking on a more serious exercise program. Google could send ads for things like running shoes, workout gear and more.
Eventually, we’re sure these ads will be shown on some of the smarter devices with larger screens. For now, Google can show the ads to users through their smart phones (where the app is synced) or through their browsers.
Google Home is similar to Alexa by Amazon. It is a small robotic device that is always listening to your environment so that it is at attention when you need help.
You can be discussing dinner plans from your kitchen and ask the device to give you recommendations for local restaurants. Or you can be making plans for the weekend and ask it to give you the weather forecast.
Google can use the information it hears to target ads. Some people think this is already happening with Google sending ads and promotions to users based on the brands they mention around the device.
This level of listening and targeting opens up a lot of ethical questions, but it will no doubt be a part of our future.
Personal Home Devices
Google has also acquired Nest, which makes smart thermostats and fire alarms. The Nest thermostat, for example, learns your preferences to adjust the temperature automatically throughout the day.
Since these devices already collect so much personal data, it makes sense that Google could use them for ad targeting.
For example, Google could show ads for air conditioner or heating repair when the thermostat starts to fluctuate a lot or when it is turned off for a while.
Other ads could show home security or safety devices based on what Google picks up from the smoke detector.
As our lives move more toward The Internet of Things, more and more products are going to provide extensive data about our behavior that Google and other providers will be able to use to make ads smarter.
Ideally, that means that users are getting ads for products and services that they actually need and so will be happy to see them. It would also mean that advertisers get a lot more bang for their buck since they’ll get a higher return.
It is important that you are exploring all of these emerging technologies to find out how you can be a part of them on the ground floor.