Exploring Emerging Media, Marketing and Technology Trends at Ad:Tech
Ad:Tech, the conference for digital marketers and technologists currently going on at the Javits Center in New York, provides an interesting opportunity to crawl inside the world of platform, marketing, data and creative services providers as they—just like the publishers they often work with—try to navigate emerging trends in digital media.
In a morning session on what investment trends tell us about the future of advertising, Linda Goldstein, partner and chair of the advertising, marketing and media division at Manatt, Phelps and Phillips LLP, identified key trends in the brand advertising space.
If the first wave of online media involved the commercialization of the Web with sites like e-Bay and Amazon, and the second involved helping people socialize and connect (Flicker, YouTube, etc.), the third wave is about data, Goldstein said.
"Massive amounts of data are being collected. Brands are investing in a presence on the Web primarily for the data. The data is the currency," Goldstein said.
The problem for brands is that the amount of data is so massive that brands cannot figure out how to analyze it. Add to this the amount of "clutter" on the Web, preventing media from commanding the prices seen with TV ads, and we can expect investment in companies and platforms that offer a way through the cacophony.
"Obviously there will continue to be investment in rich content sites, sites that create a sense of community, where brands can attach themselves and join the conversation," she said. "But the big difference in the next wave is investment in companies that can really make sense of the data, tools to connect the dots—particularly data coming from across multiple social platforms."
Jonathon Shaevitz, CEO of ad technology provider Maxifier, told Publishing Executive that ad server clients are looking for ease of use and a comprehensive, integrated platform that, as he put it, "speaks to itself"—recognizing where users go and what they do when interacting with all facets of a rich media environment.
"The ability to look at all these things on an integrated basis—we call it holistic. How do you think about audience? Because its all about your audience. The better you understand your audience as a publisher, the more value you can create for the advertiser," he said.
What makes digital advertising leading-edge is that it is targetable and measurable: we can know who people are, where they are and what they've seen, Shaevitz notes. Tracking data across multiple engagements gives us knowledge of intent. "The old adage is 50 percent of advertising doesn't work, I just don't know which 50 percent," he said. "In the digital world, I know which 50 percent works."
Advertisers want high-quality content, and high-quality content finds a way to aggregate itself around audience types, Shaevitz said. Understanding this, and what to do with the data gained through these targeted interactions, will be the key to monetizing digital content—whether editorially produced, user-generated or social.
"If you look at the sites that have been most successful in the last two years—places like Pinterest, places like Tumblr—it's because the nature of the site allows brands to really do something with it," Goldstein said. "It's not just an isolated presence, but a way to engage in a meaningful way in the conversation consumers are having about the brands."