Deciding where to allocate your time at the annual ad:tech New York conference can be daunting for even experienced conference attendees, and with Internet advertising again on fire, this year will be no different. I know I’ll be juggling listening to sessions and visiting exhibitor booths with press briefings, vendor meetings, networking, and (heaven forbid!) the occasional cocktail party.
When it comes to the all-important educational sessions this year, I thought you might appreciate some selection guidance. And who better to ask than Susan Bratton, ad:tech chair emeritus, 2007 ad:tech New York featured panelist, and cofounder of Personal Life Media? From 2001 to 2006, Bratton programmed the ad:tech conferences — over 20 shows and 10 venues globally! — and handpicked speakers from various online advertising disciplines. Now that she’s handed over the reigns, she has a chance to participate as an attendee, and her curiosity is fierce.
Tuesday, November 6
Bratton’s three sessions today will be:
12:00-1:00 p.m.: Keynote: The New Media Universe: Forging a Model of Interdependence
Why: Bratton wants to hear what Nick Brien, head of Universal McCann, has to say about how his agency will approach strategic communications and consumer context planning.
1:15-2:15 p.m.: TV 3.0
Why: Less interested in DVR- or Slingbox-type mediums, Bratton instead wants to understand what Joost and others like it are doing to sell advertising and what that ad model will be. She’s also intrigued by Google’s entry into television and wants to hear from panelist Michael Steib, director of Google TV Ads.
4:00-5:00 p.m.: Keynote: The Art of Conversation: Building Great Brands in the Digital Age
Why: Just the fact that it’s the first time ad:tech has a panel of all-women speakers, and such powerful women in our industry at that, excites Bratton. She also feels that as speakers, women tend to share more, and the level and quality of detail they share is likely to make the panel excellent (no pressure, speakers!).
Wednesday, November 7
A busy day! Bratton has some conflicts to resolve:
9:00-10:00 a.m.: Keynote: The State of the Industry
Why: Bratton wants to know: What’s the focus now? How does new IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg think? What will Arianna Huffington say? Is the IAB still the leading organization it should be? What new standards and tracking measurements are they working on, especially for downloadable media (Bratton’s core)?
10:10-10:50 a.m.: Keynote: Innovate or Die! Thriving in the Age of Disruption
Why: What the heck is this “disruption” about? “BusinessWeek” columnist Jon Fine will moderate. Having recently gone up “against” Fine on CNBC, Bratton ensures the confrontational Fine will keep this session entertaining, if nothing else.
11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: Brand Nation: Leading Marketers Share Their Vision
Why: Bratton avidly reads columns by moderator Louise Story, a “New York Times” reporter, and hopes the panel of three top marketers will speak frankly about what scares them, what motivates them, and what they see on the horizon.
12:15 p.m. p.m.-1:15 p.m.: Social Media and Consumer Generated Content: Has a Value Proposition Emerged?
Why: Has any company truly mastered using consumer-generated content (CGC) sites to generate successful advertising campaigns? Are social media publishers truly monetizing all their millions of impressions? Bratton wants some hard-core facts, like what ad units, what ad concepts, and what research bears this out.
12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m.: Video + Search + Contextual Targeting: Is the Holy Grail Upon Us?
Why: Video advertising is so hot right now, but one challenge is making it scalable. Bratton wants to learn more about being able to target ads by keyword content within the video. Is the technology really there yet?
12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m.: Defensive Branding 101: Troubleshooting Your Brand in the Age of Consumer Control
Why: Bratton is really not into buzz, but every time she hears leader (and ClickZ columnist) Pete Blackshaw speak, she comes away with one or two great nuggets.
2:45-3:45 p.m.: Analyzing Online Advertising Exchanges
Why: Ad exchanges are all over the news, yet despite the hype, Bratton still doesn’t understand the ad exchange system.
4:00-5:00 p.m.: Tales from the Bleeding Edge
Why: Great title. She’s intrigued.
Thursday, November 8
After this day, Bratton can pretty much crash:
11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Video Workshop
Why: Session leader Rebecca Paoletti, Yahoo’s director of video strategy, has been involved in next-generation video since the start of the Web. Bratton wants to hear the latest straight from Paoletti.
1:45 p.m.-2:45 p.m.: The Path to One-to-One Marketing: The State of Behavioral Targeting
Why: Bratton needs to better understand the differences between all the types of targeting and what behavioral is…and isn’t.
4:15 p.m.-5:15 p.m.: Bratton is speaking on the Podosphere panel during this time slot, so of course she’s biased. But were she not speaking, she’d want to attend both of the other sessions. Here’s her take on all three.
The Podosphere: Everything You Need to Know for Success in One Hour
Why: The consumer preselects portable media, which makes it the most valuable content experience. This session will share what Bratton and her peers have learned about consumer advertising behavior in this downloadable medium.
Digital Advertising Networks: Making Sense of an Evolving and Expanding Landscape
Why: How many networks can there possibly be? Why is it that despite all the mergers and acquisitions in this space, more networks keep cropping up?
The Evolution of Affiliate Marketing
Why: A topic Bratton just finds fascinating.
It’s time to scoot off to the sessions now. If you’re at ad:tech NY, let me know what you thought of these recommendations and if you found this sneak peek helpful. Maybe I’ll even see you there!
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