The ad:tech San Francisco conference showcased everything from wearables to start-ups and featured presentations on themes including the state of the industry, AOL, and the future of video advertising.
Just when you thought the digital landscape couldn't get any more cluttered, crowded, or confusing, along comes the ad:tech San Francisco 2014 conference to blow that theory. I'm an industry veteran, and I still felt like Dorothy waking up in Oz. Programmatic this! Native that! Mobile here! Video there! And data, data everywhere!
Not that I mind the confusion, disarray, and hyper-stimulation. It gives me a chance to walk in the shoes of advertisers and imagine how they must feel. And at every ad:tech conference, my own curiosity gets piqued (along with a healthy dose of cynicism). The expo floor hosted an array of exhibitors, from integrated marketing agencies to search and ad tech providers to fulfillment and shipping companies, and even nutriceutical private labeling companies (go figure). Aiming to innovate beyond the sessions and the expo floor, ad:tech SF also offered new features such as ad:tech NEXT, which showcased some Internet of Everything providers such as augmented reality, wearables, facial expression recognition, and eye-tracking solutions, and Start-Up Spotlight, in which 16 start-ups selected by four major consumer brands promoted their solutions and competed to be the final winner.
Kicking off day one's keynote, presenter Noah Elkin, executive editor of eMarketer, shared 14 key facts of the state of the industry. Excerpts from his presentation include:
Tim Armstrong and Bob Lord of AOL followed Elkin to announce a re-brand to AOL Platforms and the launch of its ONE by AOL position to deliver a "mechanized" solution, that being one combining the best of "human instinct and creativity with machine scale enabled by programmatic." I'm all for that, as I wrote in my January 2013 ClickZ article.
Keen to hear more about the future of video advertising, I attended a packed session in which Aleck Schleider of Videology and Andrew Feigenson of Nielsen presented "Winning in a World of Screens: Extending TV Campaigns to Digital & Mobile Video." The duo presented findings of a case study automotive advertiser campaign, which revealed that though 54 percent of the campaign budget went to TV, the TV ads alone reached only 14 percent of the audience "heavily" (10-plus exposures). Deploying TV audience segment targeting then lifted the campaign reach by 3 percent.
Schleider also presented findings from Videology research, including:
Some other interesting nuggets I gleaned from the show:
With healthy, multi-national crowd exuberance in the future of our industry, I'd say 2014 will be yet another "banner" year for digital advertising.
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A highly driven subject matter expert with a thirst for knowledge, an unbridled sense of curiosity, and a passion to deliver unbiased, simplified information and advice so businesses can make better decisions about how to spend their dollars and resources, multiple award-winning entrepreneur Hollis Thomases (@hollisthomases) is a sole practitioner and digital ad/marketing "gatekeeper." Her 16 years working in, analyzing, and writing about the digital industry make Hollis uniquely qualified to navigate the fast-changing digital landscape. Her client experience includes such verticals as Travel/Tourism/Destination Marketing, Retail & Consumer Brands, Health & Wellness, Hi-Tech, and Higher Education. In 1998, Hollis Thomases founded her first company, Web Ad.vantage, a provider of strategic digital marketing and advertising service solutions for such companies as Nokia USA, Nature Made Vitamins, Johns Hopkins University, ENDO Pharmaceuticals, and Visit Baltimore. Hollis has been an regular expert columnist with Inc.com, and ClickZ and authored the book Twitter Marketing: An Hour a Day, published by John Wiley & Sons. Hollis also frequently speaks at industry conferences and association events.
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