IAB MIXX Conference & Expo 2011:
Day Two Highlights
Day Two of the IAB MIXX Conference and Expo Marketplace kicked off with an informative and insightful welcome from Bob Carrigan, CEO, IDG Communications, and Chairman, IAB Board of Directors. “There’s plenty the U.S. government can learn from the people in this room and the people we represent,” he said pointing out that the general economy is experiencing unease and discomfort while the interactive advertising community is soaring with collectively high spirits. The government can learn from what he calls “co-opetition,” working with competitors for the common good; innovation rather than the protection of legacy systems; and the prioritization of infrastructure similar to the way IAB produces standards and guidelines to streamline industry operations. He shined a spotlight on many of the recent accomplishments and key endeavors of the IAB including the Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising and the Code of Conduct protecting the privacy of consumers and the interests of the interactive advertising business; the Making Measurement Make Sense initiative with a goal nothing short of developing cross-platform brand advertising metrics; the Rising Stars program to help fuel the creative revolution in display advertising; and the Long Tail Alliance Fly-In where small Internet publishers met with members of Congress to voice their points of view.
“Tim O’Reilly understands where we’re going,” Journalist Charlie Rose said introducing his interview with Tim O’Reilly, CEO, O’Reilly Media. “That’s the secret we want to unlock.” The answer they arrived at: data. Data as the underpinning of innovation. Data as the fuel of business. When data is accumulated from a lot of different people, from mobile phones and other devices, it has in it valuable, meaningful signals that can drive successful business decisions. That he said is what differentiated Google from Yahoo!’s original search product and Google’s automated car from the ones before it. Both are based on human-made data. It’s also the story that helped O’Reilly Media rise from the dotcom bust. In 2003, our corporate goal was to reignite enthusiasm in the computer industry, and we did it through storytelling about data and how it would become the new business driver in Web 2.0, O’Reilly said.
Jeff Weiner, CEO, LinkedIn, agrees that data is critical and fundamental to this next wave of the web. There’s little to no friction in sharing information, he told Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB, during their candid, on-stage conversation. Our mission is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more effective and successful. Stories are being told on the platform every day, he said, such as: here’s how we did our marketing campaign and strategy and here’s how I started my business. Then there’s “virality” that’s possible. When you’re sharing news, all of your connections are going to see your interest in that. “The ability to leverage that connective tissue separates what we do from a traditional business publisher,” he said. The value of this information sharing makes privacy an utmost concern. We have a series of codifying values as part of our culture, he said. “Members first, and we mean it.” You have to build trust. So when making changes, it’s imperative to be as clear as possible about what changes you’re making or else risk eroding trust.
The newsworthy series of vignettes commenced with Scott Reich, Vice President, Original Content and Programming, VEVO, who talked storytelling and the strategy of digital content in the pop music world. Music is an emotional art form, he said. When fans engage with music it’s an emotional experience, and all great stories have emotion. Then, great stories in and of themselves are viral. “Great storytelling through the ages has always been viral,” he said. One of the advantages of digital storytelling is the freedom of timing, he noted—an important notion also expressed by Chris Anderson, curator of TED, on Day One. When you’re making TV shows about music, you have to fill a particular period of time. In digital, the length of the story can be defined by the story itself, not external constraints, he says.
News was broken on the stage after a networking refreshment break. Karen Premo, Principal, Global Media and Entertainment Practice, Booz & Company, revealed the breakthrough findings from the “Campaigns to Capabilities: Social Media and Marketing 2011,” a report produced with Buddy Media that illustrates how leading companies are transforming their marketing capabilities as social media plays an expanding role in advertising and branding efforts. Following her presentation Christopher Vollmer, Partner, Global Media and Entertainment Practice, Booz & Company, moderated an engaging discussion about social media management with Michael Lazerow, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Buddy Media; Alyssa Waxenberg, Senior Director, Emerging Platforms, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide; Venky Balakrishnan, Global Vice President, Communications, Diageo; and Rachel Weiss, Assistant Vice President, Digital Strategy and Interactive Marketing, L’Oréal. The key takeaway: social media is woven into and embedded in marketing and advertising campaigns today. Marketers are now in the process of pushing their involvement from collecting fans and friends to learning how to best engage with them.
Engagement is how Adam Bain, President, Global Revenue, Twitter, measures success. Engagement can come in the form of photos tweeted from space, a public celebrity conversation, or a compelling ad—also all forms of stories. In a presentation about the evolution of Twitter’s advertising platform, he shared one of the social network’s “hall of fame” stories. When the campaign for the new design of the Volkswagen Beetle launched on Twitter, 52 percent of people shown the ad interacted with it. “If you didn’t engage with the ad, you were in the minority,” Bain said. Brands have been part of the platform from day one, and most users follow five or more brands. The evolution of Twitter’s advertising products mirror the format of television, he said. On TV, the content provider tells a story and in the middle are nano-stories, or commercials, from advertisers. The two stories are interwoven together for one whole experience.
More news was announced from the stage as Deanna Brown, CEO, Federated Media Publishing, disclosed the acquisition of Lijit Networks. Lijit is a leading provider of advertising services, audience analytics, and reader engagement tools for online publishers of all sizes. Its services help publishers thoughtfully interact with and better understand their audience to build deeper relationships, lengthen time on site, and increase page views. The combined entity will reach nearly 300 million global unique visitors; and with the addition of Lijit Networks’ existing publisher relationships, Federated Media Publishing will now reach more than 77,000 online publishers and nearly 15,000 expert communities, making it one of the largest companies to power publishing on the independent Web.
Never-before-seen products from Google were revealed on the main stage after two series of enlightening workshops and a networking luncheon. Dennis Woodside, President, Americas, Google, welcomed Google colleagues to the stage to show off their newest ad products for search, mobile, and video. For the first time, Google Circulars was revealed to the public. These ads appear similar to traditional sponsored search listings but link to a retailer’s “circular” tailored to the specific search with products dynamically arranged for the particular user. The next debut was a cross-platform HTML5 banner available on the AdMob network that brings the full capabilities of HTML5 inside a banner. The video discussion focused on TrueView, a product that allows users to skips ads. To prove consumers will choose to watch ads, the audience cracked open some green-for-go and red-for-skip glow sticks to demonstrate en masse when they would hit the skip button. One of the ads was watched for 50 seconds before audience members held up their red glow sticks voting to skip.
The games continued through to the last presentation of the conference when Bill Simmons, Columnist and Special Contributor, ESPN, Editor in Chief, Grantland.com and Tony Pace, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, SUBWAY Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust, discussed sports and their publisher-advertiser relationship through an interview conducted by Abbey Klaassen, Editor, Advertising Age. Touching on a theme of the conference, the pair talked about how storytelling online doesn’t have to fit pre-determined lengths. It’s all about how many words the story needs to be told well. In that vein, Simmons prioritizes quality of content over quantity. For Pace, if the engagement is there, it’s valuable to him. But, Pace says, CPM is only one measure. He values qualitative feedback too. He receives emails from people who hear Subway’s ads on the Grantland.com podcast but hardly hears feedback from viewers of Subway’s television spots.
The conference had to come to a close, but the story of digital advertising will continue to grow, build and be shared by us all.
Industry Announcements at MIXX
IAB News Released at MIXX
IAB MIXX Press Coverage