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The future is defined as something unknown – something we can only predict. When it comes to the world of online advertising, it’s important to consider the trends we are seeing today that will ultimately shape the direction of what’s to come. The way we receive media is rapidly changing, and it’s our job as advertising professionals to evolve and adapt to meet the needs and desires of today’s consumers. Here are the top three trends that I see defining the future of online advertising.

Integration across channels:

The classic integration example is one I see everyday during my morning commute into work –  the sea of people on the subway checking emails on their phones and tablets, hailing cabs using an app, scanning their social channels through a wearable device or simply “walking and talking.” This is the new consumer: always connected, always on. For advertisers, this is both a blessing and a curse. You have a ready-made audience at your fingertips at all times, but it’s a busy, distracted moving target. Today’s highly connected consumer demands that online advertisers evolve their engagement tactics.

This means aligning ad campaigns for an omni-channel, real-time approach. It means creating a strategy for reaching your consumers on the channels they use most, when they’re using them. This might entail reaching millennials using promoted Tweets along, along with hyper-targeted online ads on niche sites and Facebook. Whatever the case may be, it’s vital to integrate your strategy across multiple channels in the most efficient, automated way to capitalize on today’s consumer habits.

Personalization to the consumer:

With endless options of apps, websites, and digital content, the possibilities for consumers are truly limitless. It’s important, however, to understand that with so many possibilities for consumers, advertisers need to leverage the relevant consumer data at their fingertips to focus on what message will resonate most with each individual. We have recently seen this shift toward personalization from bigger companies like iHeart Radio and AOL as they have embraced programmatic advertising in order to deliver the right content to the right consumer at the right time. The side-effect of information overload means consumers are far more likely to “block out the noise” if the message doesn’t speak to them in a personalized, impactful way.

Creating fresh content:

There’s an abundance of opportunities presented to advertisers due to the rapid growth and innovation within the tech industry. With this growth, it becomes even more important to stand out from the pack. Social channels have allowed online advertisers to distribute compelling content and share it at an extremely fast pace with millions of people. With this opportunity comes great potential for advertisers to create new and innovative content that has a real impact. At the end of the day, if the content created by advertisers isn’t compelling, it won’t matter who it reaches because it’s simply not interesting. With the changing nature of online advertising technology, it’s easy to forget about the basics of it all: good content. In order to effectively deliver the best possible message, the ad has to resonate with the person viewing it.

This is undoubtedly an exciting time for the advertising industry with companies big and small evolving their vision to better align with today’s consumer. Understanding the changing media landscape is crucial for both providing the most compelling content and engaging with the right audience. While we can’t predict the future, we do know that those who will succeed in the advertising industry are the ones who put the customer first. Period.

 About the Author: Edwin Lee, VP of Global Retail, leads MediaMath’s retail go-to-market strategies.  He employs MediaMath technologies to meet global retail business and marketing objectives, developing new programmatic advertising products and custom solutions.  Edwin is responsible for global sales and product solutions in the retail vertical.   Edwin brings over 19 years of client service, and over 14 years in digital marketing and media, working with global Fortune 500 companies.