What Does the Future of Advertising Look Like?

In the past 10 years, the advertising industry has shifted. With the rise of social media, new methods of capturing metrics and changing customer values have fundamentally altered marketers’ relationship with their audience. According to the Pew Research Center, messaging and buying habits of younger consumers — including millennials born between 1981 and 1996 and members of Generation Z, born between 1997 and 2012 — have also impacted the marketing landscape and the future of advertising.

If you’re intrigued by these shifts, this is exciting news, and an opportunity to be on the cutting edge of the future of advertising. Businesses have increased demand for employees with advanced skill sets, and the potential career paths for those with an online bachelor’s degree in marketing have become more reliant on the technology that is driving the economy. While the tools and methods of tomorrow’s advertisers might be changing, the field remains as relevant as ever. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs in advertising, promotions, and marketing are growing faster than average — at an estimated rate of 10%, above the national average of 7%.

Preparing for, brainstorming, designing, implementing, and gauging the success of future ads means you will need to stay attuned to the field’s trends. This article outlines a few of the shifts impacting tomorrow’s marketing world.

An advertising entrepreneur poses in front of a digital grid of mobile and tablet devices.

Traditional print and television ads that once dominated the market are losing their foothold in today’s digitally driven world. In fact, a report from eMarketer indicates that digital ad spending now accounts for more than 54% of all advertising dollars. The most successful ad campaigns are built upon the latest consumer trends in social media, like the rise of QR codes, video advertising, content marketing, and branded sponsorships.

As advertising metrics become more sophisticated, marketing professionals can analyze data to create a more effective marketing campaigns, targeting their audience with precision. For example, advertisers can use data analytics to determine which ads drive response and how long users interact with different website pages for optimal viewing.

Digital media and advertising will continue to evolve alongside trends in social media and emerging online platforms. It is vital that professionals in the field stay engaged in best practices for websites, apps, and other mediums, as well as the ever-changing methods that online users will engage with future ads.

Future Ads: Targeting the Next Generation

It’s important to stay aware of trends that will impact the future of advertising. Younger generations like millennials and Generation Z don’t respond to the same media channels that older generations use. Where older generations traditionally receive their news via television reports, “digitally native” generations, who grew up immersed in technology and the internet, prefer social media and other digital avenues. In fact, according to AdWeek, 45% of people from these younger generations use image-driven apps like Instagram for discovering and interacting with brands.

Consumers from these younger generations use their mobile devices not only to discover products but also to make purchases. Forward-looking marketing professionals understand that emphasizing mobile advertising can offer significant returns now, and will likely continue in the future. Forbes reports that these generations hold about $350 billion in buying power, so it’s vital that the future of advertising pays attention to the buying habits of these generations and how best to market to them.

Skills to Stay Relevant

There are a few traditional skills that remain foundational to the field of advertising and will stay necessary no matter the medium or message. Comfort with communication, creative thinking, collaboration, and narration will serve you well, whether you’re drafting a print ad or embedding codes into a targeted Instagram feed. These skills are often gained through a combination of formal education and hands-on experience. A degree is valuable for learning the principles of marketing, but it’s also essential to stay up to date with the latest trends that will become even more relevant in the future of advertising.

As the marketing world changes, certain competencies will be more in demand. Like many industries, advertising will become increasingly automated, using monetary based algorithms and ad-performance based algorithms. These advertising platforms aim to increase social engagement, return-on-investment (ROI) and profits without building and managing online campaigns. Google has added “Auto ads” that automatically place advertisements at optimal times for maximum exposure. Although programs like Google Auto ads are straightforward, many of these new platforms require developing skills in basic programming for the data driven decisions needed for this future of advertising.

The effectiveness of future ads will be even more measurable than it is today. The ability to forecast and track the success of ad tactics has been crucial to improving business’ ROI. For example, personalized targeting allows organizations to fine-tune marketing initiatives to audiences that are more likely to buy based on their demographics, browsing history, and other factors. They are able to weed out those who are unlikely to buy.

eMarketer projects over 60% of digital ad costs will go to platforms like Google, Facebook, and Alibaba, all of which offer customization tools. Programmers are working with marketers to fine-tune the measurements of success to improve outcomes on all ends.

How the Right Education Can Help

An education that addresses the complexities of the advertising of the future is an important foundation for advertising industry professionals. Blending research, strategy, and the study of emergent technologies, online degree programs like those at Maryville University prepare aspiring marketers for success in a dynamic industry.

In today’s ecosystem, consumers have many options, and they will purchase most of their products and services online. Having the tech savvy to analyze the metrics on ad campaigns, as well as the consumer insight to determine what products and messaging will resonate in the first place, can help professionals advance in this evolving field. Additionally, their desire to engage with new trends and stay invested in an ongoing education can springboard them and the brands they support to success.

Find Your Role in the Future of Advertising

Are you considering embarking on a path toward a career in advertising or marketing? As you contemplate your own role in this industry, consider enrolling in Maryville University’s online business degree programs to strengthen your skills. With diverse classes that emphasize the development of critical professional skills, preparing to become part of the future of advertising has never been easier.


AdWeek, “As Gen Z Reshapes the Social Media Landscape, Marketers Need to be Open to Change”

eMarketer, “Global Ad Spending Update”

eMarketer, “US Digital Ad Spending will Surpass Traditional in 2019”

Entrepreneur, “Advertising Trends You Should Consider in 2019

Forbes, “11 Trends That Will Shape Marketing in 2019”

Forbes, “New Research: Millennials and Gen Z are Telling Advertisers About Mobile Ads That Work”

Google, Ad code implementation

Houston Chronicle, “Trends in the Advertising Industry”

Pew Research Center, “Defining generations: Where Millennials end and Generation Z begins”

Maryville University, Careers with a Marketing Degree

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