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Top Ten Takeaways from Ad:Tech SF 2011

There’s a trend, innovation, emerging concept around every corner at ad:tech. Keeping up with this at every second of the conference can be at times exhilarating and at others overwhelming. We collected over 20 pages of notes (thank you to the amazing and useful Evernote app) and here is a quick summary of our ten ad:tech takeaways.

1. “We Need an APP GPS for Our Soul” – Arianna Huffington Keynote

At some point we need to DISCONNECT from our hyper connected lives. We are all missing something in constant multitasking. At some point we need to stop, focus, listen. To achieve more balance, we need a GPS for ourselves to show how we are out of alignment and what we need to do to realign our soul. It will be a killer APP for optimal living. And that means getting more sleep for better health and creativity. Because it’s very hard to be creative and enchanting when you are sleep deprived.

2. Screen time is exploding — being drive by tablets and mobile. Forrester is predicting that the replacement rate of tablets will be closer to mobile phones — as opposed to that of traditional desktops. By 2015, 82 million US consumers — one-third of US online consumers — will be using a tablet. This is beyond the iPad but they clearly have market leadership or as Jeff Cole from USC Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future see is, “Apple has moved the goal post before the others have even entered the field.” Between tablets and phones, screen time continues to grow and entertainment, social networking, e-commerce are the consumption benefactors. Jeff Cole’s insights and predictions are always a must watch, view his entire key note on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bj6vTXTpXOk

3. As much as iPads and mobile are the real deal, the same can be said for social. Year-over-year data shows time spent engaged in social media online grew by over 43%. Social is a huge opportunity, but it isn’t mass media. It is influential media and a conversation from 1-to-1-to-many making a human to human connection. And although Jeff Cole predicts the decline of Facebook in five years and sees it becoming more fragmented by segments and age groups (the largest being 55+) the driver of social media will continue to be more vital and relevant in the marketing mix. The shift is an entire business strategy shift. Brands are no longer competing for the future, we are competing for the moment and for relevance. “Consumers are not going to care what the brand message is on their website, they are going to go to social media. It shows that the future of new media is defined through shared experiences,” noted Brian Solis, Principal at Altimeter Group.

4. This new social currency was coined the THE LOYALTY LOOP by Visa’s CMO VISA Antonio Lucio which greatly values and is eagerly trying to engage this new “army of brand advocates” that have shifted the traditional marketing of yell and sell to a new purchase cycle process that brands need to understand and embrace:

Consider > Evaluate > Purchase > Advocate.

5. Social Games are the new day time TV. As soaps decline and are canceled, more day time is spent in social networking and social games with over 324% growth in the last year. The most popular social games have bigger audiences that American Idol. Consider the impact, Frito Lay recently did a customer, integrated campaign within Farmville and saw their Facebook LIKES go from 45,000 to 1.9 million in a single day.

6. Social commerce delivers. More and more Facebook-led social-media ecosystems will continue primarily driven by social gaming and integration of e-commerce into Facebook.

7. Your QRS is showing. The publishing world first embraced the QR and its popularity is growing (museums, zoos are the latest to adopt). Though adoption is still slow, considering that scans and tags grew by 50% in the first 30 months of 2011 shows that this is one to keep on the radar.

8. To breakthrough, you may need to hack your own brand. Brand hacking was presented by Renny Gleason from the agency W+K. His concept is at times when building a brand, you have to hack it in an unexpected way to create unexpected value. The only way to explain the concept is to see it visually. Like Amazon, that turned it’s packaging into a unique robot that it now sells on their site. The filter to be ware: let the brand voice be your guide. Here are five areas where you could create a brand hack:

Distribution

Data

Product

People

Communications

9. A word on email. They say it’s dead – social and mobile have taken over. However, consider that even Facebook uses email for notifications. And ask someone like Hayley Osher from HauteLook and she will tell you that email is very much alive and well—it is the communication artery that keeps the flash sales sites – and many others – thriving. And while many of us wish it were dead (so we can bury that in-box with 3905 new messages staring at us) it will continue to be the dominant work communication method for a few more years. But do keep in mind that those kiddos coming out of college don’t know how to use email. They’ve texted and Facebooked their way through school, so be prepared to teach them basic email etiquette their first week on the job.

10. And as a close out, here’s a good best practice tip. Per Nancy Duarte, goddess of PowerPoint, a great presentation is action oriented and tells a story. The slides should be supporting material—not the entire speech in bullets. Think freeway billboard- it should not require more than 2-3 seconds to look at the slide and get the gist. And never, ever use vertical blind transitions. “Pretend Microsoft didn’t invent them.”

Posted on April 19, 2011 in Events & Happenings, Ideas, Observations & Trends

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