Although sequential messaging is not a new concept in digital marketing, it may just be the next big thing. Most marketers understand sequential messaging as a tactic that provides targeted promotions to users expressing interest. For example, a user may be browsing a news site and click on a wristwatch banner. They view the landing page for 10 seconds or so then go back to browsing the news. Until that user clears their Internet cache, they will be served a sequence of ads that focus on different aspects of the wristwatch as they navigate the web. With recent advancements in technology, advertisers are trying to take sequential messaging beyond the confines of browser cookies.
Software and hardware firms alike are working to create the infrastructure that will allow an advertising story to be told seamlessly across your devices. Ideally, marketers want you to view their ad on your phone, continue the conversation on your tablet, and deliver the punch line on your PC. Essentially, advertisements will be served in “chapters.” Using each users specific ID, ad serving software will know where the user left off, what device they were using, and which “chapter” to serve next. This structure allows for more engaging content and increased recall as users begin to learn the “story.”
In theory, the concept is simple but proper execution could stand to promote engagement significantly. As of now, some companies can implement sequential messaging campaigns utilizing the data attached to specific user accounts. For example, Microsoft knows when their users are on a Surface tablet or an Xbox360 because they are required to sign in at launch. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see if the concept can come to fruition in a time when the value of privacy is increasing every day. Will it rely on users staying in the company ecosystem, such as Microsoft’s users, or will a value-for-opt-in offer, like Facebook, be the key to sequential messaging?