The Customized Internet: Information & Entertainment

Last week, the Cannes festival only served to further cement my opinion that we are at the beginning of a massive change in the structure and interface of the Internet.  What was talked about in terms of AI and how brands are looking for new ways to engage their audience supported my POV that this next wave of the Internet will not be about traffic and websites, but about customized experiences, tailored to the needs and wants of the consumer.  The question is, how are brands and agencies going to plan for this change?

Much of what I saw and heard last week was about content --  specifically, creator content and its continued proliferation across the Internet.  Content is still king, and in the wake of the death of the third-party cookie, this will continue to ring true.

There are going to be two distinct types of content online:  informational and entertainment.  Informational is the type people gather from generative search results and have digested and delivered directly to them, while entertainment is the stuff they will seek out and engage with, most of which will be via video.



The sources of informational content will shift from websites and brochures to knowledge-based content scraped and synthesized by AI.  Entertainment will be accessible through directories across TV, mobile and desktop, and delivered in a customizable program guide or through your social media feed.  Informational content will be delivered on-demand, while entertainment will be available on-demand.  One will be pushed, and one will be pulled into the household.

In this two-way view of a customized internet, how will brands intercept the consumer and deliver their brand messages?  In a generative search and AI-ruled landscape, contextual delivery becomes key once again.   Brands can be inserted in ways that capture attention by being relevant to the information being synthesized and delivered.  Maybe some important brands will rise above and can be displayed during the process, but for the most part, this will be about relevance.

In terms of entertainment, audience definition will be key.  The ability to understand the audience and deliver a message that does not interrupt content will be of the most value, because the signal from the audience is clear:  They do not like content being interrupted.  If a brand continues to interrupt the content, that will have a detrimental impact on the brand.  Audiences will favorably regard brands that support the content.

Brands are going to have to plan for their content and messaging to fit into one of these two buckets.  They will have to be relevant and add value, and be non-interruptive to fit into this new structure of the web to create consumer alignment.  In doing so, brands will be better positioned to engage their audiences, both current customers and prospects.

Direct relationship channels like email and social media will still be available, enabling that one-to-one connection that serves them so well.  Experiential and Digital OOH will also be there to support broader messaging. But it will still be about a more personalized experience, as consumers use technology to create a more efficient experience with content.  Are you planning accordingly?

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