In the Future, Ads Will Need Data, but Data Will Not Need Ads

Advertising is an industry that, in essence, sells creativity. Yet the future of ads—specifically in the digital realm—sorely lacks imagination.

Data has the power to change advertising dramatically, but as Strategy magazine eloquently points out, the relationship is dangerously one-sided: “In the future, ads will need data, but data will not need ads.”

According to the magazine, we’ve become a culture exhausted with advertising. Meanwhile, the democratization of data is changing the game.

We’ve gone from the giddy consumerism of the postwar era, when a newly affluent consumer was happy to play the game with sellers, to 50 years later, where buyers have decoded the feckless language of advertising and lost interest in the game played in a media-engorged world choking with countless brands’ ads. It doesn’t matter if data has served me a relevant ad if it’s one of 20,000 jostling for my attention.

“Soon the world will be swimming with data,” writes Nick Law, the chief executive officer of New York-based ad agency R/GA, and author of the Strategy article. “Some of it will be used for ads. Most of it won’t be.”