Despite many predictions to the contrary, this year’s ad tech New York was a resounding success for attendees and vendors alike. Ongoing disaster recovery and a Noreaster on the first day didn’t dampen any spirits, and New York City was a wonderful host.
Like in previous ad tech events, there was an emphasis on how technology is making advertising more precise and more effective. Mobile, though still in its infancy, is quickly becoming one of the most important channels for marketers, as is location-based marketing (particularly location-based mobile marketing). Finally, as online video continues to grow in popularity for consumers, brands would do well to focus their attention on leveraging its power.
The Evolution of Mobile
Though mobile is a relatively new and untested space for marketers, it’s second nature for consumers. People are virtually always on their mobile devices, and mobile marketing can allow you to reach one billion always-on smartphone users whenever, wherever.
Among the frequent mentions throughout the conference, there were four ad tech sessions entirely dedicated to mobile. Maarten Albarda, former VP of Consumer Connections at Anheuser-Busch InBev led a session entitled “Mobile Marketing: Best Practices for Cracking Today’s Most Intimate Channel.” This session served as a sort of mobile introduction, providing a lay of the land for mobile efforts, while stressing that the mobile revolution really is just beginning. Though many companies are looking to mobile, only 14% are happy with their efforts. As Albarda pointed out, consumers are here now (9% of search occurs via mobile), but advertisers are not (a mere 2% of advertising dollars go to mobile).
Albarda led another mobile session, “Mobile Marketing Executive View: Cutting-Edge Strategies to Optimize and Enhance Your Current Marketing Efforts,” a deeper dive into why mobile advertising has not yet taken off and where it needs to pivot to be successful. Brian Wong, CEO of Kiip, a mobile rewards network, made the point that mobile is inherently different, but many marketers are treating it as if it werent. “Mobile is not just a channel or medium,” Wong said. “It’s a hub in many ways.” The fact that marketers are not treating it as such is the reason consumers still tend to find mobile ads annoying and intrusive. To make mobile work, marketers need to find a way to make it both integrated and interesting.
Another session focused exclusively on tablets. Session leader Jonathan Haber, Chief Innovation Officer at OMD, pointed out that “it’s all about the user experience” with tablets even more than with other channels, and device engagement has never been higher. Tablets provide a fairly unique opportunity for creativity from marketers and UX architects, and the brands that take creative risks will be the most likely to succeed.
Alfredo Gangotena, Global CMO of MasterCard, kicked off Day 2 with a keynote entitled “MasterCard and the Mobile Revolution.” After discussing the evolution of Mastercard’s iconic ‘priceless’ campaign, Gangotena went on to explain that the next thing for MasterCard is mobile. Right now, they are partnering with Google Wallet to make sure they stay ahead of the curve as more and more commerce moves to smartphones.
Location, Location, Location
The final mobile session, led by Brian Lipman, Digital Media Manager for Coors Light and Miller Lite, focused specifically on how mobile can work with location targeting to help marketers precisely hone their messaging.
Mobile is a key part (and often the first step) of a larger multi-screen consumer journey. Of regular online shoppers, 65% complete initial searches on a smartphone, and 84% of 18 to 34 year olds use smartphones to compare prices. But it’s not just about buying, says Lipman,”[mobile] is woven into the fabric of people’s daily lives.
Kim Kyaw, Digital Marketing & Social Media Manager at Jaguar Land Rover, provided interesting insight into how her brand uses mobile to reach their audience, 85% of whom access the Internet regularly via smartphone. Mobile is quickly becoming an important part of their outreach strategy, and “Land Rover uses mobile through the consumer decision journey” to “support perception, consideration, favorability….to drive to retailer, increase owner satisfaction, and amplify advocacy.”
Kyaw has also found geo-fenced mobile ads to be an effective way to focus spend and drive interested potential buyers to the website and into dealerships. In her experience, location-based mobile advertising has improved performance and is both “more cost efficient and more consumer-focused. Ultimately, she says [i]ts about that right message at the right time to that action that the consumer is doing.”
In addition to mobile and local targeting, online video was one of the stars of the show. In a Wednesday session entitled “Online Video: How to Create and Syndicate a Stellar Campaign, Kenneth Lagana, Senior VP of Sales at CBS Interactive discussed one of CBS’s most successful online video programsa web-exclusive series called “Live on Letterman.” Launched in 2006, the series began as an experimental promotion for “The Letterman Show.” Six years later, the Live on Letterman has become a campaign staple.
In the same session, Daniel Bueckman, Mindshare Managing Director, and SEASON Executive VP and GM Rich Routman spoke about their experience creating videos of sports anchors discussing college sports for Dove men. This particular series was incredibly successful, receiving 10 million organic views in three and a half weeks, blowing past the goal of four million views. The key to success? According to Routman and Bueckman it’s obvious: great content.
In another online video session, “What You Don’t Know About YouTube (And How It Will Change Your Media Plan),” Laura Lee, YouTube’s Head of Entertainment East Content Partnerships, explained how YouTube is changing and what it means for marketers. Right now, YouTube is active on over 350 million devices and sees 800 million unique users each month. Growth has been huge (with a 300% increase in views the last year) and a quarter of those views came from, you guessed it, mobile.
Ad tech master Amber Lawson led a session about online video integration. Geared toward marketers already comfortable with video, the session focused on advanced tactics to take an online video campaign to the next level. All speakers focused on the importance of baking social in any video campaign. San Tong of Rubin Postaer and Associates described a Farmer’s Insurance campaign that was deeply integrated with the movie “The Avengers.” Because, as Tong says, “we’re living in a world where people are expecting brands to talk back to them,” the campaign’s success depended on directly involving the movie’s fan base. One example of said involvement was around YouTube videos that helped show fans how they could put together costumes to dress up like their favorite characters from the movies.
If you attended ad tech this year, what were your key takeaways?