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IAB Innovation Days @ Internet Week:
Screens…screens…screens…and screens. This was the focus for IAB Innovation Days 2012, Screens(n), held at the modern Skylight Soho. The morning opened with Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB, who began by taking a photo of the audience. The internet-connected device, he said, “used to be a camera.” In the same way, a mobile hand held “used to be a phone.” Holding up different devices such as PCs and tablets, Randall emphasized how the digital world had expanded through multiple screens. For the third Innovation Days, he said, “We really wanted to begin to explore as professionals how all these screens come together for new experiences…in this screen-drenched world.” He also announced the launch of Digital Media Sales Certification program, a new education standard and unified body of knowledge for the digital world, and invited members to be among the first to sign up for exam.
Following the opening remarks, Randall engaged in a conversation with Kimberly Kadlec, Worldwide Vice President, Global Marketing Group, Johnson & Johnson. She discussed several areas of opportunity and challenge for branding in this landscape. Discussing market research, she said, “We’re at a point in time when consumer insights aren’t enough,” noting that consumer insights need to add value to business. “We have to move from a reach and frequency mindset to a reach and relationship mindset….one of the most important factors in building a relationship is listening.” Shifting to discussing data, Kimberly noted the challenge of an abundance of data. “There is so much data, but we need much more discipline in how we use it...how does it link back to business strategy?” She suggested finding a few things to measure consistently so one can benchmark. She also emphasized the need to attract and retrain the generation of digital natives in the workforce to propel digital initiatives. Lastly, she addressed creating a forward-thinking culture. “I’m still in an industry that is working desperately to preserve the past, as if the future is optional. The future isn’t optional—it’s coming.” Randall opened up questions from the floor, and discussed with Kimberly the need to for more collaborative, transparent processes. She said, “Where we fall down is when we’re operating in a lot of silos. The more pre-work and collaboration, the more powerful the execution.” To that end, she suggested a strategy of “Automate and Active,” standardizing processes to free up time to think strategically about the business, including such items as media dashboards. Closing the session, she talked about what excited her the most as a global marketer, which came in emerging marketing in resource-limited counties. She citied technology that gives underserved communities access to healthcare and education, as well as the innovation that springs from resource-deprived areas. “It’s very hopeful…I think there’s a lot to team there.”
The session shifted from consumer brands to media brands. Paul Greenberg, Chief Executive Officer, CollegeHumor Media, presented on how the multiscreen universe impacted media. As a major producer of comedy, he noted the importance of both content and distribution: “It’s not enough just to create the content—you need to reach your audience wherever they are.” Working to create content that applies to multiple screens, he showcased a reel of some of the most compelling offerings from CollegeHumor. The site current reaches 17 million unique users per month, with 100 million video views per month. Recognizing the need to distribute on different devices, they have entered in into a partnership with Nintendo to create new 3D content for hand-held gaming systems. They also showcased the “Will it Kill It” campaign created in partnership with Listerine, which invited strangers to do awful things to their breath, with the hopes that Listerine could be the cure-all. He insisted that content needed to be authentic and relevant to audiences if advertisers wanted to solidly connect with customers. To that end, CollegeHumor has cultivated a team of talent that has “grown up on the Internet.” According to Paul, they understand the nuances of how the Internet works, and so understand what kind of content will work on various platforms. Paul and Randall discussed the notion of “virtual MSOs” that can distribute content without the same infrastructure issues that traditional MSOs have (e.g., laying cable). Considering the future of traditional MSOs, Paul suggested that they wouldn’t go anywhere. “Whether or not they’re the provider of your content, they’re still the wire into your home.” Instead, he suggested the traditional MSO business will combine more with digital.
After a networking break, Randall hosted a fireside chat with Josh Quittner, Editorial Director, Flipboard. Josh said, “People love to read. That doesn’t go away.” Flipboard has tapped that notion to develop a revolutionary way to showcase print content on tablet and mobile devices. A career tech journalist, he was compelled to join Flipboard, explaining, “I wanted to work for a tech company that wanted to be a media company.” Rather than creating journalistic content (“That’s our partners’ business,” said Josh), Flipboard brokers deal partners such as The Atlantic to curate them in the style of a high-quality print publication, available on tablets and mobile devices. In a discussion with Randall, Josh was asked whether, like many content distributors like Netflix and HBO, if Flipboard would eventually become content producers themselves. Josh’s response: “We’re in no danger of running out of [available] content.” For advertisers, Flipboard also creates live books for for a campaign, including video, photos, and other content, in lieu of a simple display ad, all with the design sensibilities of a great magazine. The session closed with a talk about the many “walled gardens” in the digital industry, where Flipboard seemed like it was “about opening the world up in a simpler way,” according to Randall. Josh responded that walled gardens could eventually crumble with HTML5, because everything will integrate more smoothly, and everything will naturally become more open.
Turning to issues of technology, Konrad Feldman, CEO, Quantast, presented a session on “Reaching Audiences Today (and Tomorrow).” Starting with industry trends in spending, he discussed compelling insights such as an analysis of the disparity between clicks versus conversion—those who click don’t necessarily purchase. Konrad then launched into a discussion on the innovative potential of real-time bidding (RTB). His presentation explained how RTB works, noting that there is a revolution in tech that revolves around real-time media. Although only three years old, RTB is growing, and helping connect ads with relevant consumers in real time. It encourages liquidityand more business to come into the market. With thousands of competitors vying to place the most relevant ad for a consumer, an advertiser can earn higher yield for each impression. Konrad also recommended using digital to streamline processes such as choosing a CPM for a campaign, which might create more efficiencies for business. New technologies such as RTB have made reaching the right audiences a reality at the right time and place, and in the case of Innovation Days, on the right screen.
The general session broke into two separate workshops. One workshop, presented by Quantcast, featured Ryan Manchee, Director, Innovation Strategy, MediaMind, on how marketers can develop strategies and creative experiences that work across multiple screens. In this session, they explored innovative technologies and second-screen solutions to connect with the hyper-connected consumer. The second workshop featured Jag Duggal, Vice President, Product Management, Quantcast, and Barbara McHugh, Senior Director, Marketing, Major League Baseball Advanced Media. They hosted a session on Increasing Ad Spend ROI, which covered innovations such as using real-time ad technology to reach Major League Baseball fans in local markets.
A networking picnic luncheon broke up the day, after which the conference split into additional workshops. The first workshop, presented by Rubicon Project, featured Kate Stanford, Manager, Group Product Marketing, Social Advertising, Google. The workshop covered how Google+ and other mobile and social technologies can help bridge online and offline marketing. In the second workshop, Ed Carey, Vice President, Demand Sales, Rubicon Project, and Jeremy Fain, Vice President, Client Services, Rubicon Project, showed how they are simplifying the creation of private marketplaces and creating workflow efficiency by automating the entire process for buyers and sellers.
After lunch, Elizabeth Pizzinato, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, reopened the general session by talking through a case study about Four Seasons as a storyteller. The Four Seasons story began in 2009 when the recession took its toll on the U.S. economy and especially the travel industry. In the wake of the economic dip, luxury was seen as an irresponsible indulgence. In response, the brand shifted more dollars to digital, finding that affluent consumers were also on social media, and created meaningful content for consumers “that lets them get involved in the story.” One of the most robust strategies involved focusing on weddings. Four Seasons gave its customers a voice by allowing them to submit stories of their own weddings. Using various social media, it found Pinterest has been particularly useful for this strategy, since audiences already use the platform as a source for wedding inspiration.
Next, David Bennahum, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Punch! Media, offered a sneak peak of this new kind of platform for the iPad. David walked through a compelling demo of Punch!. Different from an app, it has built a publishing platform that runs apps inside of an app. Scrolling shelves house books, music, and magazines, showcasing the potential of nonlinear content that is customized to the tablet experience. He was joined for a larger discussion by Randall Rothenberg, Dany Levy, Creative Director, Punch! Media, and Jim Windolf, Editor in Chief, Punch! Media. When discussing how the tablet experience related to traditional TV watching, David said, “Of all the disruptions it [tablets] can create, it will disrupt TV most of all…it allows you to do something that TV can’t, which is overlay content over the programming.”
Randall announced the releases of two different pieces of research from IAB, and introduced Bruce Friend, President, IPSOS MediaCT, and Sherrill Mane, Senior Vice President, Research, Analytics, and Measurement, IAB, to discuss the studies. “Screens(n)” and “Multiscreen Marketer” studied consumer behavior and the opportunities working in the multiscreen universe. The studies cover a vast array of interesting insights related to how people are using multiple devices, what they are watching, what they are doing while they are watching—and even who they are talking to about what they’re watching. The findings show that multitasking is very common, and on the rise, especially due to the proliferation of digital devices. With people owning more screens of all sizes, they are becoming more likely to multitask across all these devices. More accurately, their attention is being split across these devices. Some are performing activities related to what they’re watching on TV, but far more are doing activities unrelated to what they’re watching. This behavior is creating more, different, and new opportunities to reach consumers, so long as the creative has the right “fit” for the screen and opportunity.
The session concluded with an invitation to a Brewfest in the Beer Garden to sample five micro-brews and Bavarian pretzels.
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