If your Twitter ad was removed today, do you think your audience would miss it? Would they pause to think about where those highly targeted, relevant offers went? Better yet, would they actively seek out your company and clamor for more?

You might not have customers knocking down your door to see more ads, but unless they would actually miss them if they weren’t there, your ads are probably not all that effective.

As usual, Seth Godin has some words of wisdom about social advertising, and the necessity for ads to become essential components of the social experience. He sums up his thoughts with a prediction:

“Media companies of the future will be built on ads we want to see, ads we’d miss if they were gone.”

Godin’s incisive observation hits the nail on the head. And it points to (at least) two major truths about where advertising is headed.

First, we’re all becoming “media companies.” If you use social media as a business, you’re a media company. You’re sharing text, images, videos, audio and other multimedia that you’ve created or curated, and you’re engaging your audience in this content.

Second, the successful media companies – i.e. most businesses – will be those that create relevant, targeted ads that would be missed if they disappeared.

Why would they be missed? Because they are essential to the experience of that media company’s audience.

Ads that follow the old “spray and pray” model of generic, untargeted distribution to reach the widest possible audience with the most broadly applicable message are going the way of the dodo. Instead, the ads that will survive in the increasingly digital world are those that are so relevant to their audience that they don’t feel like ads at all. They feel like a natural extension of the Twitter (or Facebook, or any future network that pops up) experience.

How do advertisers create these essential ads?

They get to know their audience. And this means moving beyond basic demographic data and truly understanding what their audience wants to see right now. They know when they’re ready to make a purchase, and they know what type of purchase they’re most likely to make.

LeadSift enables intent-based ad targeting to provide our customers with the actionable data they need to connect essential ads with the audience that is ready to see them. We help deliver ads that matter, ads that feel right because they are relevant to the lives – and the place within the buying cycle– of the audience they reach.

Ultimately, the future of advertising will be shaped by the companies willing to put in the effort to get to know their audience, and craft messages that are so contextually relevant that they become embedded in the experience itself.