What will the future of media, advertising and marketing look like? It's one thing to speculate and make predictions that in general you are never held accountable for. It's altogether a different approach when you put your money where your mouth is. Over the past few years, I've been a pretty active angel investor in tech start-ups across several sectors in our industry.
In the spirit of "publicness" -- which I hope will make Jeff Jarvis proud -- I've decided that there is no better way for you to understand where my head is on the future of media, advertising and marketing than to tell you in broad strokes where I've spoken with my wallet. Here goes:
Social Ads and Social Web - I am a big believer that social-graph data will be a big driver in the future of advertising, particularly in selecting the most relevant ads to deliver to consumers. To me, social is not just about Facebook or Twitter, it is also about hobbies and services where people share their interests.
Better Display Ads - I believe that the format and presentation of online display ads must and will improve -- so I think publishers and marketers need to treat ads more like content, both in high-definition presentation and in dynamically presenting ad content from databases.
Original Content - I believe in the value of original content and am an investor in a number of original content companies. Some of them are focused in vertical interest content, others in news and analysis.
Mobile - It seems clear to me that mobile devices will play a critical role in how people interact with content, ads and promotions. I'm an investor in a leading player in mobile analytics and also invest in a new mobile-ad-related company that is still in stealth.
Ad Verification - The more clients and marketers spend on digital advertising, the more they and their bosses, auditors and regulators will need verification that what was promised was delivered. Ad verification is already a big issue in our industry, and I believe it will be even more important in the future.
Connected Devices - Eventually, all consumer electronics will be connected to the Internet and Web services, so I am an investor in a company supporting connected devices.
"Smart" TV Ads - My biggest bet is my full-time job as CEO of Simulmedia. I believe that we are on the front end of a massive transformation and rejuvenation of the television experience and television industry, as TV devices, programming and ads all become "smart," connected and data-driven. I believe the industry will particularly need new platforms and new service companies that can package, sell and deliver data-driven TV advertising.
It seems that with all of the new developments in chips, apps, infrastructure and technology in general, the future is coming at us faster than ever. But my bets are down. How about you: Where do you think the smart money should be going these days?