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How has IoT changed the Advertising Industry?

  • Mallika Rangaiah
  • May 25, 2020
  • Updated on: Jun 22, 2021
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So have you all heard about the famous Johnnie Walker’s Blue Label bottle? For those who haven’t let me give you a gist. The multinational alcoholic beverages company Diageo teamed up with a printed electronics company Thin Film Electronics to design Johnnie Walker’s Blue Label smart bottle, a bottle which employs highly thin, electronic sensors that can detect and inform them if the bottle has been opened or not as well as its position in the supply chain.


These sensors help the global beverage leader send information to customers who scan the bottle through their smartphones as well as allow them to alter that information as the sensors are connected at all times. 


For example, the firm could display promotional offers during the period when the bottle is still in the store and alter the information to cocktail recipes once the sensors detect that the bottle has been opened at the home of the customer. These connected sensors even help Diageo in dealing with counterfeiting as they can detect if the bottle has ever been tampered with. 


In case you’re still wondering where I’m going with this, the Blue Label’s bottle is laced with IoT (The Internet of Things) sensors which are helping its owners engage in interactive advertising. That’s right IoT is being subtly employed to advertise items to us in ways that we probably don’t even realize. Yet another similar instance is of Malibu, another drinks company that has taken this approach further,  employing its bottles embedded with sensors to serve as a digital touchpoint for promoting exclusive content.



So what is the Internet of Things (IoT)? 


As defined by an old Forbes article, “IoT is the concept of connecting any device with an on and off switch to the internet (and/or to each other).”  


So basically the Internet of Things (IoT) implies the billions of physical devices across the world that are now connected to the internet, each of them gathering and sharing data. 


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Examples of such devices include Amazon virtual assistants such as Alexa, temperature regulating devices such as Google Nest, and of course our very own smartphones. This also includes appliances such as lighting systems that control our lights and create an ambient atmosphere.  



IoT in Advertising


While having these various Internet-connected devices that are capable of interacting with each other is in itself fascinating what really makes them effective in the context of aspects like advertising and promotion is the IoT device’s ability to gain useful data, which can be leveraged for a number of purposes. 


What makes these IoT devices more convenient for aiding in advertising is the enthusiasm by which they are being embraced by the public. For all marketers there exists a capable touchpoint through every IoT connection or interaction. Using these touchpoints, marketers are able to advertise their items to customers by approaching them at the perfect time with just the perfect product.


We're long past the stage where one for all, generic advertisements were the norm. In a rapidly developing technology-driven world the consumers need a change and the advertisers need to keep up with it. The need for supplying audiences with personalized advertisements has escalated and IoT has massive scope in supporting this approach. With the number of IoT devices constantly escalating, businesses can employ these during advertising to garner more customer information and interpret it for sending out intriguing personalized ads to customers on the basis of their preferences.


Role of IoT in Advertising


The employment of IoT devices and networks is making marketers a pro in ad targeting on personal levels. We never realize when we mention a certain product that it’s already popping up in places you might not expect. Let's take a look at the Role of IoT in Advertising.


1. Contextual Targeting


Targeting customers with contextual advertisements enables brands to reach out to them directly, shooting up the conversion rate. With an increasing number of people now possessing IoT devices that hold the ability to garner consumer information and interpret it, this has become possible. For instance, if a person happens to be on the lookout for new earphones and an ad of the same pops up on his smartphone. The probability of the person checking out those earphones will definitely increase. The above example is a glimpse of the power that contextual ads hold. 


The basic idea of these ads is already being implemented by Google’s local search ads, which make it possible for certain portions of the audience to be targeted within a specific location, which basically implies that whenever a person will make a local search through their smartphone they’ll receive ads which are relevant to their present locations. 


Yet another instance of Contextual Advertisements is Glassview which has started employing IoT for connecting to cameras near the homes or nearby locations of a particular user for sending them contextual ads for their wearables, by detecting their state of use.


Amazon has also taken up contextual advertisements by employing smart home devices for recommending more of their items to customers.


2. Advertising inside stores


IoT can also be employed by retailers for displaying real-time advertisements to consumers to sell more items and garner greater revenue. One such IoT device which would assist the retailers, in this case, is Beacon. Beacons are basically tiny transmitters that are capable of transmitting signals to nearby devices by employing low-energy Bluetooth signals.


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For instance, if a buyer has entered a store to buy noodles and proceeded to visit the counter, the LED display could start showcasing an advertisement of chili sauce, tempting the buyer to purchase the product to complement his dish. This is how in-store advertising can aid in garnering more sales. 


The image showcases In-store advertising

In-store advertising


The placement of these beacons in stores can be implemented by retailers, with them holding a series of advantages including having tiny sizes and being able to connect with nearby Bluetooth enabled smartphones, and sending out personalized real-time advertisements directly to the smartphone of the consumer. 


3. Advertising based on location


IoT devices are enabled with GPS that aids them in tracking the location of people or items. This location information can be employed by Advertisers for sending out pertinent advertisements. This can operate in a similar manner to Google’s search for nearby businesses. Every time a person searches for, say, nearby bookstores Google shows a list of the bookstores accompanied by their distance. The same can be done for advertising other brands. 


IoT can be employed by retailers to display ads and reach out to people near their stores. For instance, let’s take the example of beacons again. These can be installed by retailers outside of their stores which can connect to the Bluetooth-enabled smartphones of people nearby, enabling them to receive ads about the store items to tempt the people to enter. These beacons can also be connected to the cameras installed nearby the stores for aiding in sending out personalized ads to the people nearby. For instance, Coca-Cola aims to employ its connected vending machines as advertising platforms for sending out intriguing information to nearby customers.


4. Intent Advertising


Targeting consumers on the basis of their motives or intentions towards a particular brand if termed as Intent Marketing. This form of marketing aids businesses to boost their marketing and advertising tactics for garnering more fruitful results. There’s a number of ways from which brands can gain from intent marketing such as by setting the bar for an ideal customer, helping advance customer engagement, and in boosting content marketing. Yet for making intent marketing possible IoT becomes a crucial component. The IoT devices aid in gathering data which in turn can be leveraged by advertisers to discover the intent of the customers.


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For instance, if a customer visits a store only for checking out and purchasing its accessories rather than their other products such as their outfits Intent marketing can assist the store in comprehending that the customer’s intent is to purchase only accessories from their stores and not the other available items. With this information the store can mainly send out accessory-rich ads to that consumer, gradually adding other items after a period of time.  


5. Interactive Advertising


Advertisements can even be a two-way street via IoT devices. Interactive Advertising can be executed for product promotion where customers can themselves take the initiative of viewing ads to gain more information regarding a product. Devices like RFID tags can be connected to products, and consumers can connect to brands’ websites by scanning their QR codes through the mobile. An excellent example of this approach was mentioned by me of Johnnie Walker’s Blue Label smart bottle. Yet another interesting example of this is when Chili’s enabled a scannable QR code which is placed on its tables during a live soccer event in India. This code could download an app on visitors’ smartphones and get them into a multiplayer Augmented Reality (AR) game. 





This is still pretty much just the start of the IoT revolution. There’s an entire universe of IoT devices that are yet to be developed and employed. From the time smartphones were developed to now, the world has altered tremendously, becoming hugely reliant on technology for all its operations and approaches. 


Keeping up with its rapid pace are the marketers who have revolutionized their weapons for communicating messages to ensure that they aren’t left behind in accomplishing their purpose in this dynamic world.  


One aspect which has been established is that IoT will definitely be facilitating extensive new information, touchpoints as well as opportunities that will help in making advertisements more customized, pertinent, and direct. 

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