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Ad:Tech/New York, “the event for digital marketing,” ran Nov 4-6 at the Javits Convention Center. This event was predominantly focused on national advertising. There was some attention to international advertising and even less on local advertising. However, many of the trends, technologies, issues and solutions seen on panels and on the exhibit floor clearly are having an impact on the local advertising ecosystem as well.

From sitting in on several sessions, talking to attendees and walking the exhibit floor, here are some takeaways:

  1. Digital advertising (variously defined) may grow to about 20 percent of the overall budget, but it didn’t seem like agency execs see this part of the media mix getting much larger than this. Digital growth will continue but level off. As fabulous as digital is in many regards, there remains a strong appreciation for the role of traditional platforms in the media mix. This is particularly so for brand managers who at least said if they had to choose they’d rather have their brands associated with quality content rather than higher traffic even with ROI accountability metrics.
  2. Digital advertising has great ROI metrics but is both more expensive to plan and buy than traditional media and harder to execute. Somewhat paradoxically, digital is very labor intensive. One speaker said running a digital campaign is six times more expensive than running a traditional campaign. (Note: this is supported by research released last spring by AAAA.)
  3. Creating more efficient, productive and integrated digital and traditional media workflows is critical. Digital’s ecosystem has a lot of moving parts, which aren’t meshing well across publishers, agencies and clients. This friction is caused by different cultures (traditional vs. digital), more choice with more complexity in digital; trends by agencies to reintegrate creative, planning and buying services; metrics for traditional and digital are different and probably need to be, according to several speakers. It is typical for even one company to have a digital and a traditional group that don’t interoperate effectively. Compound that across several companies trying to work together, and it’s a mess.
  4. The mobile platform will be huge. One speaker stated, perhaps only a bit prematurely, that “the mobile Web is the Web.” Even so, it didn’t strike me that the speakers had a clear vision of what to do with mobile as a platform vs. the traditional Internet (if that’s not an oxymoron). For now, it seems much of the energy and focus is first and foremost on the PC platform with content repurposed for rendering on mobile screens. IPhone apps may be an exception.
  5. A huge challenge is to create content that people predictably will watch. Video programming is expensive and and as content inventories are set to expand, this programming is unlikely to be funded on the Web only by advertising going forward. Audience metrics on video program must accurately capture both “broadcast” (what one speaker defined as “the TV in the living room”) and digital (Web, mobile) linear and non-linear viewing to draw more ad support.
  6. Audience metrics remain a frontier area. There is a great desire to get visibility from metric across traditional and digital campaigns — a Holy Grail dashboard that can somehow create a common currency from horizontal metrics (mass audience, a.k.a. “say and spray”) like GRPs, Reach & Frequency and vertical metrics (audience response, personalization, accountability) such as ROI, CPA, CPC, etc.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. well it seems like a good event, I missed it. As a developer i prefer to attend seminars or conferences where discussions are made related to mobile technology. I am planning to attend the Forum Nokia Developer Conference ’09, to be held in Bangalore on 7th December. Anyone interested in mobile technology can take part in this event.

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