Graham Moore, director at NetworkedPlanet, explains how the current advertising model will need to change in a Web 3.0 environment and evolve if it is to continue to generate revenue.
As we hurtle headfirst into a Web 3.0 environment, the way online content will be delivered and searched is set to change dramatically. This will have huge implications for the advertising community, who will need to think smarter when it comes to serving adverts on the web.
You couldn’t have escaped the huge amount of press recently about “linked data” and the announcement by the Government to make data from different departments freely available and searchable by the public.
This represents a shift in the way content is both aggregated and accessed on the internet, as website publishers take advantage of new and emerging search technologies.
In a nutshell, semantic technologies are making website searching a much more natural process by organising data according to a subject-centered, classification-based approach that makes it possible for users to find and navigate between both content and the key concepts.
This is achieved by identifying the concepts that are important to what a business does, and linking them to each other and to the related content on the web.
In practice this means that users can search for concepts and ideas, and the search results can be presented in a much more logical and relevant manner. Search results can include related concepts, not just those containing the key words used in the search.
As well as changing the fundamentals of online search, Web 3.0 will also affect how the content of web pages is presented – and it is this aspect that could be damaging to advertisers.
Currently, the majority of web pages are created using HTML code, meaning publishers can choose how the data is rendered and viewed by the user. Using this method, adverts are currently embedded in the static web page and presented to the user along with the content searched for.
However, the rise in linked data and semantic search technologies means that web content is moving away from HTML towards structured data, independent of any particular rendering, to make it easier to aggregate content.
This is because users increasingly want information in context, in comparison and integrated with relevant knowledge. It needs to be concise and have a provenance. Publishers will also look more towards “mashups” as a way of sourcing and integrating raw data from a number of trusted information sources.
All of this means that instead of browsers displaying static HTML pages and adverts, applications within the browser will be used to display structured data. Publishers will look to create browser applications that can aggregate, process and enhance the linked data better than their competitors.
For example, people may choose the Yahoo restaurant application over Google or Microsoft’s version because Yahoo’s provides better functionality, even though all three applications will have access to the same data.
For advertisers, this signals a fundamental change in the way that online advertising is delivered. With aggregation techniques stripping out the adverts and only presenting the user with the information they want, advertisers will need to embrace new ways of delivering their message to the right audience.
Whilst Web 3.0 is still in its infancy, advertisers need to start thinking now about how to embrace new technologies if they are to keep generating revenue.
There is no one single solution to the problem, but by partnering with the applications themselves, advertisers could build adverts directly into apps. Advertising could also be delivered through dedicated applications, based on whatever the user is looking at in another application.
It is clear that the advertising model is set for dramatic change, and the concept of linked data is going to have a huge impact on how we search and view information. It is essential that marketing departments and advertisers acknowledge this shift and begin to put plans in place so they don’t get left behind.
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