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Winning Online Advertising: Insights From ad:tech 2009

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By the end of this year the advertising industry will have lost 10% of
its worldwide revenue
, compared to normal annual growth rates of 5 or 6%. Agencies who haven’t yet embraced interactive –
the only media type predicted to grow – are clamoring
for a spot at the digital well. At
this year’s ad:tech conference in NYC, advertisers gave a glimpse of how they're spending their scarce budgets and media execs addressed the key question facing all agencies today: what does it take to win online?

1.  Engage

“There’s
something around consumer emotion that finds unparalleled liftoff online.”  -Pete Blackshaw,
EVP Digital Strategic Services, Nielsen, Online Division

The internet is a platform for consumption, not just
search-and-discovery. It isn’t about
reaching 10 people who passively view your ad; it’s about providing those 10 people with
content that’s engaging enough for each of them to share it with their 150
friends, creating a powerful group of 1,500 potential customers. Agencies who continue to regard the web as a
direct marketing tool – or worse, a 1-way push platform like television or
print – will be quickly left behind.

2.  Measure

“If conversion is the goal, we follow right
through from online booking to food and beverage revenue.”  -Chuck Sullivan, SVP
Global Online Services, Hilton Hotels

While we need to be careful not to confuse the awareness-generating importance of online brand marketing with the revenue-generating role of direct response, agencies are facing
increased pressure to measure advertising effectiveness across the board. Beyond clickthrough rates and impressions, we
all have to start measuring brand lift data like awareness, favorability,
purchase intent and preference. Panels,
surveys, and extrapolation still play key roles even though these trusted
offline tools generate suspicion when brought online.

3.  Optimize

“What’s our key focus for 2010?  Yield optimization.”  -Carolyn Everson, COO
Ad Sales, MTV Networks

In other forms of media, changing campaigns mid-stream is
difficult. The internet allows us to
effectively 'live in beta' with a  new sense
of agility. We can listen to influencer
reactions and respond in real time rather than weeks or months after a campaign has
ended. Search marketing, the king of measurability among web tactics, provides highly
addressable opportunities and quantifiable justification.

4.  Innovate

“You can have innovation without
branding, but you can’t have branding without innovation.” -Sir Martin Sorrell,
CEO, WPP Group

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in advertising creativity
and is at the heart of some of the most powerful brand platforms. Today’s options include millions of sites on
many different screens from laptops and kiosks to smartphones. During Sir
Martin Sorrell’s keynote he cited India as adding 10 million new
mobile subscribers every month, yet mobile represents less than 1% of
advertising budgets worldwide. As
agencies focus on finding and targeting the many areas where their clients’
customers value their content we can expect mobile expectations to grow.

5.  Collaborate

 “Digital agencies became what we rebelled against - controlling and
protective.”  -Liz Ross, Chief Growth
Officer, Digitas U.S.

The ability to collaborate becomes increasingly important as clients bring more and more specialists to the table. Even if a campaign happens to stay with just one agency, those
traditional agencies with highly siloed structures are finding the new
consumer-centric demands challenging. The old advertising models simply don’t work for the new demands of 1-to-1
campaigns.

All quotes from
speakers at ad:tech new york, digital marketing conference, November 2009