That was the week (that was AdWeek 2015)
Last week saw the brightest minds in the advertising and media industry flock to the London to hear the latest trends and talking points in the market. With key industry pioneers from Rory Sutherland to Dave Trott, this would prove to be a key week in media and communications.
These were the key themes that were discussed throughout the week:
A key theme discussed was the content in which an advert appears alongside is just as important as the rich and niche level of targeting applied to the advert. CMOs from high-end brands like John Lewis and Selfridges once again stressed the importance of ensuring that their brand appears alongside equivalent premium content, and did not fall into the trap of losing control on where their content appears.
Transparency was a re-occurring theme that continues to keep CMO’s up at night. In a panel discussion about the future of video, Owen Hanks of YuMe, suggested that ad safety will continue to haunt the industry in the future and this is something which is here to stay. It is the role of the industry to diminish the role of Internet bots and other software, to ensure that all digital impressions are viewed by humans and in the correct environments.
Measurement on mobile and the role of location
Another important theme raised was the measurability of digital media and, specifically, mobile media. In several panels, it was discussed that as an industry, we need to look beyond the traditional metric of the CTR and measure activity in other ways to deem a campaign a success.
There were some experts who questioned the flaws on mobile measurement. However, the same can be said when measuring social media and prior to that there were question marks raised around the flaws in traditional media such as TV, Radio and OOH.
One panel discussed that mobile spend is not reflective of eyeballs using digital devices. Should mobile be any more evaluated and scrutinized any more than traditional media? Dave Trott suggested 89 per cent of advertising in the UK goes unnoticed even though people are exposed to 1,000 messages a day.
When the topic of location arose there was a notion that location- based advertising does not always have to be about driving people into a physical retail store. Rather, it is about understanding an audience’s offline behaviours and gathering insights and data on these audiences to either target in real time or at a more relevant point in time.
Creativity was a topic that was fiercely debated over several sessions as panellists discussed how to innovate mobile and digital creative. One suggestion was made that creative agencies are not showing their full potential as they are given limited space (typically on a mobile banner ad) to display their creativity. On the contrary, it was even suggested that content is limited as creative teams still want to make TV ads.
Developments and initiatives led by the IAB in their ‘rising star’ formats, will no doubt spark creativity as the industry removes themselves from the shackles of banner ads and pushes the boundaries on what can be achieved on such a personal device as mobile.
Communications v advertising
One final thought came from Sir Martin Sorrell as a packed crowd queued up outside on the pavement to hear the WPP CEO be interviewed by Bloomberg. Sorrell questioned the name of the event ‘Advertising Week’ as this he felt was an outdated name for the event. Sorrell said that consideration ought to be given to changing the name to ‘Communications Week’. He claimed the industry needs to be reminded that it should not fall into the trap of advertising people talking to advertising people and remain aware of clients’ needs.