What's Next? Where My Bets Are

  • by , Featured Contributor, September 30, 2010

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?

11 comments about "What's Next? Where My Bets Are".
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  1. Miten Sampat from Feeva Technology Inc, September 30, 2010 at 5:20 p.m.

    Thats a good portfolio of forward looking trends in the digital media space Dave. If I had a venture fund, I would be investing in a similar spectrum.

    Another trend, i expected to see under the "display ads" was a more efficient marketplace being enabled as a result of RTB technology.

    Also, how does the coupon ecosystem impact the overall economics of media (now that coupons are going digital) ?

  2. R.J. Lewis from e-Healthcare Solutions, LLC, September 30, 2010 at 5:25 p.m.

    Agree on all counts (most skeptical of original content though... I think it's possible that social content - like this article and post, may overtake original at some point). Additional thoughts are....

    For all of the technology and progress, the online advertising buying, selling and delivery process is still wrought with inefficiencies. I would add to the list, operational efficiency driving technologies that smooth and improve the process as well as data aggregation and competitive intelligence tools (somewhat covered in your ad verification sector, but more broadly defined than just verification). Mobile and Video (and true integration of TV/Internet platforms). I think the TV as we know it actually goes away after a while as video viewing online becomes high definition and truly on demand (in an unlimited sense

    And of course, I'd bet on you Dave...

  3. David Hawthorne from HCI LearningWorks, September 30, 2010 at 5:29 p.m.

    With tongue firmly in cheek (mainly so I can feel the exquisite pain while chomping down on it) I offer this: we are stumbling toward social collapse, like zombies in a George Romero movie. 'Ad sponsored' media will collapse in the aftermath of a crisis in "consumer trust." People will begin to notice that not only have their pets and children gone missing (along with their jobs) but there is no mention of any of this in the media because no one in the ad business wants to sponsor anything that isn't a product promotion tied into a Thanksgiving Day sale. Panicked politicians try to stave off mass hysteria by using the media to call for calm and promise still more reforms. The masses are so inured to lies as well as truth that it only confirms their suspicion that no one can be trusted. People lock themselves in their home and admit no one but their own kin, whom the eventually consume.

  4. Kathy Sharpe from Resonate Networks, September 30, 2010 at 6 p.m.

    Love the transparency and your very sophisticated approach to what social marketing can do for us. I would hazard to add something. (Clearfield dudes are tough, my uncle tried to unionize those miners and paid for it with bullet holes in his windshield.) The social mobile arena will overwhelm other media. Imagine a super-sized, dynamic Groupon with 40 products/promotions a day, customized by a retailers local inventory and the customers needs. That's mobile that pulls to retail, must be integrated into the total marketing package and coincidentally makes the apps and web sites of today obsolete.

  5. Dave Morgan from Simulmedia, September 30, 2010 at 6:16 p.m.

    Miten, thanks ... I do expect to see more efficient marketplaces, but I don't know who will capture new value, so I've avoided those. for that reason, I've chosen to focus more on effectiveness plays than efficiency plays. I believe that the coupon eco-system, and other below-the-line categories will have a big impact on this market, thought I don't yet have a well developed view of who will win, except for location-based services.

  6. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, September 30, 2010 at 9:37 p.m.

    I am not a fan of one of your predictions. That is social media. It has already proven loser in Yahoo and AOL first generation chat. FB and Twitters while peaking in popularity now, they are still one trick ponies.

    FYI... FB ask me to run their sweep ads for free. I didn't. Would you work for free Dave? I think they are going to run into major problems in the future if they are asking for freebies.

  7. Dave Morgan from Simulmedia, September 30, 2010 at 11:50 p.m.

    I realized that I should add:I was not driven into my investments by a sector thesis, but rather by people. I invested in people that picked the sectors. Thus, I was a follower of people I trusted.

  8. Joshua Rex from AP, October 1, 2010 at 5:33 a.m.

    Hi David,

    I think this is a pretty accurate picture you have drawn there. With respect to your second prediction - Better Display Ads - I'd say this is far more on the money than Google's seven display ad predictions for 2015.

    I'd like to draw readers attention to thew display format we developed 2 years go - and gaining a lot of traction now. Called the Open IMU (Intelligent Media Unit) - it is a dynamic (narrowcast) content channel delivered through display media.

    We believe display media should be used to deliver content to your audience, wherever they are online - not entice them to click through to a site.

    We benchmark a 5% interaction rate and average higher - across all the campaign we have run. Better still, average interaction time is more than 3 mins. The live telemetry utility in the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes IMU averages 11 minutes interaction time - every race weekend.

    The Open IMU is the beginning of what we believe to be the creation of new industry standards in both the format and in the not too distant future, new pricing models.

    I welcome anyones thoughts.

    Kind regards,

    Joshua Rex
    This Is Open

  9. Joshua Rex from AP, October 1, 2010 at 5:37 a.m.

    A couple of live Open IMU examples...

  10. Jeff Rosen from Gulp Media, October 1, 2010 at 8:03 a.m.


    I might add to your list, dynamic, variable pricing of online content. The Internet will continue to provide a fantastic medium for distribution of all forms of content; professional, UGC, crowd sourced, etc. But in the world of RTB, data-exchanges and extreme fragmentation, the idea of one size (or price) fits all, will be tested.

    I think it will inevitable solve the questions:

    Consumers are willing to pay for some content, but not all. But which content and how much?

  11. James Hering from The Richards Group, October 4, 2010 at 7:11 p.m.

    After a few days of pondering - and reading comments - still liking this list.

    The one exception - "Smart TV Ads". The creative factor will be a tough challenge. How do you effectively and efficiently parse the right elements and avoid a cookie-cutter outcome. I think it can be done, but a whole new production process will have to be created and instilled in the industry before this ever has a chance to scale.

    Now... back to delivering dynamically generated online ad creative for Click Here clients...

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