Aspirations to transcend today’s form of Internet advertising will ﬁrst berealized in the content of ads. The development of new technologies suchas virtual reality and chat, coupled with consumers’ growing preferencefor material that is directly valuable to them, is driving the emergence of new forms of content. Three main types are on the horizon:
sponsored content.Experiential content
will allow consumers to “experience” the ownershipof a product, service, or brand. The best current examples let the user testout a product. Sharp’s Web site oƒfers a personal tour of the Zaurus personaldigital assistant in which consumers can input calendar or address infor-mation exactly as they would if they used the product in real life. At TheGap’s site, customers can “try on” outﬁts and mix and match separates fromthe current range. In the future, technologies such as virtual reality will makeads even more experiential: customers willfeel as though they are test-driving a new car,or walking down the aisles of a grocery store.
will inviteconsumers to make a purchase directly froman ad. Advertising content will become in-creasingly oriented toward transactions. Indeed, the Internet may alreadybe changing consumers’ buying behavior, particularly for consideredpurchases such as cars. Prospective car buyers who are looking for productinformation before making a decision can obtain more information morequickly through the Internet than by any other means currently available.Having done their research in advance, they are more ready to buy at thepoint when they actually encounter a manufacturer or seller.Theimplicationformarketersissimple:theyneedtomakeitpossibleforconsumerstocarryouttransactionseasilyandseamlessly,orrisklosingsalestocompetitors.ConsiderCasio,whichusesVirtualTagtechnologydevelopedbyFirstVirtualtoenablecustomerstomakepurchasesfromanInternetbannerad.AnInternetusercanlearnaboutCasioproducts,purchaseawatchonline,andselectthemeansofdeliverywithouteverleavingthebanner.
THE REAL IMPACT OF INTERNET ADVERTISING
THE McKINSEY QUARTERLY 1997 NUMBER 3
Virtual reality will makeads even more experiential:customers will feel as thoughthey are test-driving a new car