It’s no doubt that the word “ad” carries different connotations for different people. To advertisers “ad” means bread and butter — it’s a way to generate leads, create brand awareness, and ultimately increase conversions and drive sales.

To those folks not in the marketing industry, “ad” might possibly carry the negative baggage of someone trying to sell you something you don’t really need.

The truth is that the digital era has drastically changed the meaning and breadth of advertising. Long gone are the days where men in suits, puffing incessantly on cigarettes, create flashy TV or print ads to sell you face cream or a new refrigerator.

While of course creative TV and print advertising is still relevant, the point is that today’s ads take on a wider variety of forms. There are text banner ads, banner ads, interactive ads, expanding ads, video ads, interstitial ads, content marketing through SEO, and more. This greater diversity means that marketers are now able to reach their audiences with more relevant messages at the right time.

Through advancements in targeting technology and more intuitive ways to capture leads, next-gen advertisers are able to reach leads at points in the buy cycle that make more sense in the context of consumers’ daily digital lives.

In truth, modern advertising is about the same thing as historical advertising — visibility. The difference is that today consumers have more choice and say in the matter. With the internet consumers can find whatever they need in a matter of seconds. They don’t need smoke and mirrors. The goal of today’s ads is simple then — it’s to make the consumer’s job of finding what they’re looking for easier. So the game is still about visibility. The difference is that today’s ads work more the consumer.

The question then arises: How can marketers stay relevant and competitive given the breadth of digital advertising? The answer of course is technology. More specifically; marketing automation. Stay tuned to find out more on how marketing automation is changing the very meaning of advertising as we know it.