Over decades, advertising and the way advertising firms strategise and formulate effective measures has undergone a great swell of change (Yakob, 2008). This has been due to advancing technology, consumer consciousness or agency (Van Dijck 2009) and a growing need for advertisers to better understand the attitudes, behaviour, preferences, lifestyle and choices of the Web 2.0 consumer. Online advertising, more specifically, has been shaped by various elements. Elements such as user awareness and demand, the advertiser’s utilization of appropriate online resources, revenue streams, partnering and free marketing is just a few to be mentioned. Consumers are becoming ‘prosumers’, users that produce and consume (Toffler, 1980; Lasch, 1978 and Keshaw, 1998; Leadbeater & Miller, 2004; et al) driving the ebb and flow of the online economy.
Since the advent of Web 2.0 and the ability of new media empowering consumers to now create, produce and distribute their own content, a convergence has been created between navigating the internet and the act of search determination and product realization (Bingyi & Dan, 2011). Technology is evolving at a rapid pace every day. The use of mobile technology such as tablets, iPods, smart phones and laptops makes it easier for online users to move across their wirelessly connected devices over different online platforms known as ubiquity (Weiser 1991). This means that users can be accessing their different social networks, shopping networks and doing business transactions, etc. at any point in time and all at the same time. Despite this online evolution, online advertising has been known to interfere with this process, since users are specific in their online goals and preferences (Chatterjee 2008). This ubiquitous environment makes it all the more challenging for online advertisers to track the online attitudes, behaviour, preferences and personas of the users they target.
There is now…nowhere to run!