#GdnChangingAd: A Student’s View

I’m learning a lot from free-streaming of this summit.


After my morning lecture today, I headed home to live stream the goings on from the Guardian’s Changing Advertising Conference. Yes, I’ve once again put my final bit of transcribing on hold (I’ll do it tonight, honest) in favour of learning other – arguably more important – things.

I tuned in at the end of the ‘Social by Design’ talk from Thomas Marzano from Philips where the key message I received seemed to be that a brand is what you say a brand is.

Next up was the ‘Building social and responsive brands in the age of always-on’, moderated by Jane Wilson from CIPR with some excellent insights from Graham Hales and Marian Salzman. Salzman in particular had a lot to say about who should be tweeting for a company. She gave examples of a banking corp in the States whose CEO personally wrote the company’s tweets and blogs. She believes you can’t tweet for a brand if you don’t genuinely believe in it – there is no future for hypocrite employees. Another interesting point raised (particularly in regards to recents tax avoidance stories) is the use of social media in apologies. Jimmy Carr in particular was said to have used Twitter to apologise after his debacle.

Currently I’m learning about the successes of gamification (Million Pound Drop has done this well in the UK) in one of the break-out sessions titled ‘Next-Gen TV and multi-screen viewing’. There’s a lot of links between advertising and Pay TV that I’ve never considered before and Mark Brandon from Virgin Media is doing a great job of summarising the relationship between the two. Anthony Rose from Zeebox is now talking about selling ads through their platform and how these differ from normal TV ads.

Ok, so I’ve now learnt that people don’t like pop ups. To be fair, I already worked that one out from personal experience of being a student with a laptop. Pop tarts > Pop ups any day.

How to monetise engagement? Mark Brandon thinks more will be done with Virgin Media’s wifi on the tube.

What’s the future? Mix of old (trading agreement approach) and the new (tech-driven approach).

Mark Brandon: ‘In a platform driven environment, the reality is we have to take a less is more to add prominence. Hopefully, you end up, net, with a more worthwhile, valuable product.’ (paraphrased)

MB: “The ad market thrives on standards”.

Delegates are off to enjoy lunch and networking. I’ve got the joys of Sainsbury’s 3 for £5 frozen party food range. I’m sure the food is equivalent.

No lunch break for me, the live stream is replaying Cindy Gallop‘s talk. She wants people to like advertising in general – not just in particular.

Really great talk from Gallop about redesigning your job and creativity.

Advertising is an art AND a science. It should be data-informed.

“You are what you measure… Design your own metrics.” Pretty inspirational stuff. We should be applying this to everyday life as well as business.

She’s now really plugging textsfromlastnight.com. It’s “screamingly hysterically funny”. It’s a socio-cultural snapshot of our times. Having had a brief look, I concur.

Back to the serious stuff: the future of marketing is co-action. Business is about making money and doing good simultaneously. Try to make money because you do good.

Change the focus from making good advertising to making advertising good. < I like this a lot.

I think I am always looking for ‘little pellets of love’ (also known as notifications).

Outlook from Gallop: The future of advertising is inextricably wound up with the future of payments.

The future of the world is ‘competitive collaboration’, apparently. So my linguistics degree isn’t my future? Dang.

Back from lunch – have been dropping in and out of this afternoon’s talks picking up a few things but really looking forward to hearing from Mashable and Google later.

Mashable time! They sit at the intersection of media, tech and advertising. Let’s see what Adam Ostrow has to say…

Mobile traffic now represents a third of Mashable’s traffic. People are spending more time on mobile internet than they are on desktop. As I near enough live-tweet all my lectures, I’d say this is pretty true for me.

Mobile web is bigger than apps.

Mashable is working on responsive design – to be launched in the next few weeks – this allows for optimal ads and infinite scroll. This means ads load as viewers scroll down page so all ads are seen.

Sharing of photos on Mashable Facebook results in eight times the engagement of a link.

Content + native advertising drives performance.

Sponsored tweets and promoted Facebook posts do deliver more clicks.

Mashable Lift allows companies such as Microsoft to buy content which is promoted on Mashable Lift bar in order to maximise traffic to that content.

Nice picture of Felix Baumgartner to end Ostrow’s talk before questions. People on Twitter are knocking the powerpoints but I’m indifferent. End with a cute picture and you can win me back easily.

Mashable have seen much more engagement on tablets than on the web. Mobile has grown incredibly – from 10% of Mashable’s audience to more than a third.

Before Ostrow leaves, he dodges the moderator’s question on when Mashable is being bought out – reiterating that they are an independent company. For now.

In this latest refreshments break I’m eating a Twirl and watching Taylor Swift on Youtube. Probably not what the delegates are up to, but you never know…

I was wondering what delegates got that live-streamers didn’t. The answer, of course, is free bananas.

Jason Bigler, director of digital display at EMEA, Google, was meant to start four minutes ago. Think free bananas may have distracted everyone. I know they would’ve distracted me.

They picked up on my sarcasm. They are back.

Display is on fire as an industry – particularly with dual and three-screening.

Google want 20% of brands to see digital as their main campaign medium. Currently estimates that it’s about 0%. This needs to change and digital should be the premium medium.

Three main pillars: finding, engaging and measuring audiences.

When Paul McCartney sang Hey Jude at the Olympic Closing Ceremony (or at least one of the occasions when he popped up at venues and sang it), Google saw an exponential growth in people googling “Paul McCartney”.

Now talking about e-privacy, he’d personally rather leave his wallet at home than his mobile.

Even users that skip ads, still have to see a bit of them. Links to brand recall.

Consumers don’t skip because of lack of interest, but because they are already aware of the brand.

50% of mobile users take their phones to the toilet with them. Lots of awkward giggles from audience not willing to admit this.

After an awkward lull in volunteer searching, a nervous man comes to the stage to demonstrate an advert for The Amazing Spiderman which ran on Youtube using pretty much every bit of digital that Bigler can think of – except from geo-location tech.

Anonymous man leaves the stage a champion. He would’ve been given a prize but unfortunately their stock dropped 10% yesterday. *Awkward laugh*

Twitter suggests anonymous man is Dean Johnson. Yeah, that’s right. I’ll give him the credit he deserves. On a lowly student blog. Maybe not quite the same as being handed a free Android.

Brand Activate Initiate: Active GRP (real time) and Active view (normally, 50% of the ad has been viewed for one second or more – aims to make these guaranteed views).

Hands down, creative is still one of the most underfunded parts of digital media. (According to Bigler.)

“If I had to plot out what the big focus areas are for us… it’s all about formats, mobile and video”

Final panel time…

Charlie Hiscocks, director for integrated activation, SABMiller
Jonny Bauer, chief strategic officer, Droga5
René Rechtman, CEO, goviral and senior vice president, AOL Advertising.com Group International
Chris Maples, vice president, Europe, Spotify

The speakers are chatting about what we can expect from an integrated, personalised advertising future. Maples is talking about branded playlists and the number of shares of playlists they get.

Maples: You can’t have a social strategy, without having a music strategy as well.

Hiscocks doesn’t seem sold on having a branded playlist for SABMiller. Although the company does have a strong link with music, but it doesn’t have a good reason to have a branded Spotify playlist.

Bauer: Half of one percent of people are engaging with brands. (As an aside, I’m loving this guy’s glasses/facial hair/green socks combo. Yes, I should be sticking to tech stats, but c’mon I’m a 20 year old  female student. I’m allowed an opinion on geek chic.)

Bauer: The technology is not there for the people to feel that brands know their ideals.

Maples: “Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should” – think this is a response to Hiscocks not fancying a branded playlist.

Spotify struggles if you want a playlist for yoga featuring Adele – possibly not the most important lesson of the day, but insightful nonetheless.

Rechtman: AOL is an old dinosaur but luckily we still have some cash to make changes (paraphrased)

Maples: I’m a big guy. Spotify’s a little guy.

Final question time…

Rechtman is impressed with Red Bull becoming a media brand despite selling a boring drink.

Ok, we’re now at an actual question:

What do the top guys think of digital?

Hiscocks: They’ve finally realised it’s [digital] not just about people in Shoreditch.

Apparently we’re all invited to the drinks and music. Someone want to shoot me some directions?

Big round of applause for Chris Smith who organised the whole conference as well as all the sponsors.

That’s all folks, I thought the streaming was a great way to get the mere mortals (students) involved with the summit and the delegates. I’ve been @catherineelaine, tomorrow I’ll be back to tweeting about historical syntax.

Watch the live stream here.