Ad:Tech Sydney – First Day Impressions: talking to myspace.com, netpartners, post click, girls.com.au

adtech_sydney

Ad:tech started in Sydney today. It’s a 2 day expo, with similar events held in San Francisco, Paris, London, Chicago, New York, Singapore. It’s basically for online marketing companies, for those involved in advertising technology. The official line is:

“ad:tech is an interactive advertising and technology conference and exhibition. Worldwide shows blend keynote speakers, topic driven panels and workshops to provide attendees with the tools and techniques they need to compete in a changing world”

I arrived there around lunch time.  I had my express check in pass (thanks ad:tech!), so got buzzed in pretty quick. The first stand lo and behold was Next Digital/Commquest! Which is my company – more on this later.

I was in a rush because I was supposed to go to the Yahoo search masterclass. In the corner of my eye, I saw a guy from my media buying class who’s a dedicated search guy. However, when I got there, the seminar was over. Disappointed, I trudged back and went to the Yahoo search stand and asked them what it was about. I also asked them for notes of the presentation and hopefully they can email it to me. Hit me up if you would like a copy of the notes.

Overall, ad:tech didn’t actually look that full. Maybe its because I expected it be at full capacity. Or perhaps, there were seminars going on. There’s paid seminars, with 3 different tracks but to go to them you need to have a conference pass which costs $1k. I’m just going to the free stuff =) You can check out the different stands, talk to people, and listen to the free seminars. It reminds me of a big careers fair!

Next Digital has got prime position, near the front door and we’ve decked it out in a hospital theme with hospital bed, flasks of weird liquids, IV drip, and doctors walking around with stethoscopes. The theme its “Digital Health Check”, and we’re offering free audits of digital marketing strategy, websites, etc.. We are taking appointments and doing followups. Kate Kendall, editor of marketing mag called it  best stand at expo. Have a look here:

nd-stand-ad-tech

Next Digital was giving a talk after the Yahoo one, so I briefly saw my director Mark Edwards, speaking about digital strategy.  Its a small seated area with about 30 seats and people were standing in the back, 3 rows deep! He had some really good content, however the sound quality was quite poor.The mic and the speakers weren’t loud enough. For the guys standing in the back like me, you couldn’t hear him clearly. As the stands are right next to auditorium area,  there’s so much background noise. It’s a shame and it something the organiser’s will have to look at for next year. Perhaps move the speaking stage a little bit further into a quieter area and turn up the mics!!!!!!!!

I spoke to a couple of interesting people /companies at the stands. Vincent and I walked around and spoke to the following stands. I’ve provided a short commentary on each one:

Fox Interactive 

Websites : Myspace.com, Rottentomatoes.com (movie review site), ign.com (similar to gamespot.com), Askmen.com.

We were talking to Sharon May-Tanous, Group Sales Manager, and she showed us a new feature on myspace.com. There’s this function called “Myspace recharge” where u can recharge your phone by buying credits / topups. Very cool. I’ve always advocated that social networks should do more in the transactional & ecommerce space, given that we spend so much time on there. According to Nielsen research, time spent on social networking has overtaken personal email. Myspace are also releasing a new visa credit card as well, targeted towards younger people. Its going to work like a prepaid debit card. It will be an interesting move for them.

They had a very cool stand with lots of monitors. If you look at the above sites I’ve listed in the heading and click through, you’ll realise that their are Australian versions with localised content. That’s something that they are trying to push, localisation. Rottentomatoes.com is mostly made up of American movies and reviews, so its good a move to have some Aussie content in there too. 

I told her I didn’t use Myspace anymore and she got a bit grouchy LOL. I’ll stick with Facebook, but I’ll check Myspace.com for music related stuff. FYI, I’m name dropping here, but I met Brett Brewer, one of the co-founders of Myspace at the Digital Tipping Point a few weeks ago. He’s sold off myspace to Rupert Murdoch and is now CEO of a social networking advertising company called AdKnowledge. He’s a very cool guy, down to earth, and I guess I’ll have to hit him up on myspace?  

Netpartners – Content network advertising / traffic broking

This area is new to me. I’m still new to search marketing and online advertising, but I understand the basics like clicks, CPM, CPA, conversions and al that jargon. But there’s this whole new area regarding content network / affiliate marketing, etc.. It’s to do with advertising on 3rd party sites, publishers, etc… I spoke to Alan Wan, Affiliate Manager, he explained to me what it was about and I think I got the gist of it. Netpartners is a Hong Kong outfit, mainly targetting US and UK markets. I have to do a bit more research in to this area regarding affiliate marketing. At ad:tech, there were a number of stands, I would say 1/3 selling these services. It was pretty funny, because he was talking English to us and as we were winding down our conversation he asked if we spoke Chinese! Vincent and him started talking, and then I joined in, but I don’t think he understood me very well since my Cantonese is pretty bad and heavily accented. 

Post Click – affiliate marketing

We spoke to the BD manager there. I’ve actually heard of them. Post click specialises in niche affiliate marketing. I’m still getting the hang of this term – its advertising on a network of sites. e.g. you would like to advertise to websites in Indonesia targeting students coming to Australia. They would go represent you and negotiate, and source sites for you to advertise on. They must have relationships with traffic brokers (a new term I learnt) and work out how much you have to pay for CPA, cost per action which is for lead or conversion generation if someone clicks on an ad. Post Click most likely takes a set up fee and a slice of the action e.g. CPC of 1 cent (cost per click of $0.01). 

Girls.com.au / Femail.com.au

I’m not sure why but we wondered over to this stand. We were just curious, and it was right next to ours. They’ve got 2 websites which are online magazines targeted towards females. Girls.com.au has a demo of 18 – 35, skewed towards younger females. Femail.com.au has a demo of 25+. These mags have been running for about 10 years online and has similar content to Vogue, Cleo, etc.. The opportunities are for advertising towards a very specific demographic. 

They also own female.com.au and redirect all the traffic to femail.com.au. however, they are not going to switch over to female.com.au because of the search engine rankings – its already been optimised (SEO baby!!).

CABO Networks – Pay for performance marketing

I spoke to Jurgen Cautreels, who’s over here from Miami. These guys have offices in Miami and Sydney, that’s TWO awesome beach places. They do stuff related to traffic marketing, lists, and email marketing. 

iAD & Pureprofile

I’ve lumped them together even though they are two very distinct companies. Only because they have both presented at our offices. I like iAD, but I feel that their technology is way ahead of its time. When they came into our office and explained their product, they left a lot of us dumbfounded, including me. If you can’t explain to a bunch of people that are pretty technology savvy, your going to struggle with other people as well. Even their blurb in ad:tech is hard to understand – something about a multi-function device, etc…

Ad:Tech on Twitter & Blog

If you are keen to follow with the latest adtech updates, check out twitter. People are twittering using the following hashtags:

#adtechsyd

#atsyd

For the 3 different seminar tracks, there’s also:

#atsyd1 

#atsyd2 

#atsyd3

There’s heaps of ad:tech tweeting going on, and I’ve been following the conversations via twitter and tweetdeck (i’ve got my search groups on for each hashtag!).

You can also check out ad:tech brain blog, I’ve been reading and commenting on it over the past month or so. 

See you there

If you are going to be there, look for me at the Next Digital /Commquest stand in the late afternoon. I’m going to be there in a white coat, and also checking some of the other stands and seminars. 

I’m out like day 1 of ad:tech, 

Matthew Ho aka inspiredworlds

Yammer updates, interview and Yammer clothing line!

Quick post on yammer:

Yammer released some new updates on highly requested features.

I found out about this update via the Yammer fanpage on facebook. Some of these are no brainers such as private DM ala Twitter. I really like the import RSS feed as well. I’ve already posted the link to the new features in our work yammer group and will discuss them during the week. I like to discuss  features on yammer one a day – as it gives people a chance to try them out.

Yammer CEO interview on social networking watch

This is a pretty good interview and gives you an insight to how Yammer works and where it is positioned against Twitter. I also left the following comment on the page:

“its interesting how Yammer has no insight into how companies are using Yammer because of their privacy guarantee, other than via blogs / twitter. Not every co. on yammer will blog or twitter.

Perhaps they should look into creating some Yammer user groups. identify who is the key yammer person in each organisation, and do a test pilot with 30 or so people providing feedback via yammer. they could eventually scale to hundreds of people. that way they would get greater insight. create subgroups for large organisations, IT organisations, FMCG, educational, etc… Why not use yammer to get feedback on itself?

the problem i’ve found is that even though we have yammer in our organisation, people still send out mass emails if they really need to get a message across, and we need to change that culture.

I’ve been appointed as the Yammer Evangelist in my company and i’d be happy to give feedback whether via a usergroup or directly. i’ve also written about how my company uses yammer here: https://inspiredworlds.wordpress.com/2009/01/29/mc-yammer-cant-touch-this/”

Yammer basketball singlet

Check out my new Next Digital basketball singlet. I decided to get a yammer inspired nickname, combined with my favourite retro rap star/dance star phenomenon/twitter superstar, MC Hammer:

MC Yammer - basketball singlet

The Future of Digital 2009 – AIMIA

Today, I went to the AIMIA conference on “The Future of Digital 2009”. It was pretty interesting.  My company, Next Digital was the main sponsor and my general manager Stephen Lord was one of the key speakers.

There were a lot of companies represented like Microsoft, BBC, Communicator, News Ltd, ABC etc…. I figured if I was going to make it in this industry, I had to attend events like this, meet people and hear what people had to say.

John Butterworth, the CEO of AIMIA (Australian Interactive Media Industry Association for you noobs) gave a quick overview of the digital future. In 2008,  digital spend was $17.9 BILLION (yes BILLION!) and  25% of business revenue was generated through digital. After that, he said “Look around you at the 100 faces here in this room – this is the future of digital”.  It was exciting and also a bit scary at the same time! And hey, I was a part of the 100!!


The Agency – Stephen Lord, Next Digital

The next speaker was Stephen, who spoke about the agency perspective. He gave a brief overview of the major digital events that happened in 2008 such as:

  • the iphone and the apps store (converging mobile and web)
  • online viewing overtaking tv spend for the first time
  • twitter coming of age and how the events of Mumbai were microblogged. At work we use yammer and its great! Its like a corporate twitter
  • political parties using digital channels  – Obama’s heavy use of digital (YES WE CAN!!!!!)
  • cloud computing  – one of my favourite topics

twitter

If 2008 was the year that digital spend increased, then 2009 will be about measurement and ROI. It’s true.  People are spending an increasing amount of time online and in front of the computer.  In fact people even do two of the activities simultaneously –  engaging in multiple media channels. Look at me now – I’m blogging as I watch House in the background! Digital spend will only increase as marketers direct more of their budget into digital as it is more accountable that TV, radio, print, etc… (did someone mention a recession?). But most importantly, this is where the audience is, hence marketing dollars will follow.

Digital will reach a tipping point – a point where more dollars spent won’t equal more results. Hence the search for accountabiliy and better measures. What are we measuring now as digital marketers, bloggers and media planners? Page views, bounce rates, CTR’s (click through rates)? Puh-lease!!!!!! That is so old school. None of these really tell you anything. So what if your page achieved 1,000 unique views, CTR of 18%. It doesn’t mean jack. We have to find new measures to determine engagement, influence, involvement, and stickiness. The metrics we use have not kept up pace with a constantly evolving digital world.

The thing about digital is that every user leaves a digital footprint. It is a captive and active audience and we need to understand how to better measure that. In the past, we were hunters / seekers of information (early to mid 90’s). Then we become do-ers, and now we are in a stage of feedback 3.0, where people are having true conversation in the digital sphere.

The Evangelist – Michael Jordahi, Microsoft

The next speaker was Delic8 Genius, aka Michael Jordahi, a developer Evangelist for Microsoft. So what exactly is an evangelist? I had a discussion with Peter about this on the way down since he knows a few. In fact, I met another Microsoft one from the UK, a pretty cool guy. An evangelist is someone that encourages people to adopt new technology, that engages with people about it, explains how it works, gets people to sign up for licenses and so on.

He actually was a really good speaker, like he had drank 3 redbulls before he got up. Pretty funny guy, and very passionate about Microsoft Surface, bordering on a sales pitch. I didn’t mind, because of the energy he brought and I really like the concept of Microsoft surface. FYI When you go to a lot of marketing presentations/industry events they tend to end up like sales pitches.

microsoftmilan

He gave us an overview of how we had from old school user interface (UI) to GUI to NUI (natural user interface). He compared them to reading a book vs watching a movie vs playing an interactive computer game.

He had a lot of interesting stuff to say, such as how we are no longer restricted to computers, keyboards, and mouses. Examples like Microsoft surface, Toncidot – this little cube you can move around to replicate real world movement, this sphere type device, holograms, etc… He even brought out October’s Esquire magazine cover which had a digital cover.  His view of the future was technolgy and social interaction (real not like facebook or myspace) becoming one.  His opinion was the natural surface and augmented reality was the future (I actually have no idea what he meant by augmented reality) but half the crowd was nodding.

The client – Paula Bray, Powerhouse Museum

I can’t believe she got up and held a deck full of powerpoint slides in one hand and navigated the actual preso with the other slides. I just thought it was going be dead boring and she did didnt do anything to prove me wrong. She was representing the Powerhouse Museum and started going through their website, some of their interactive display thingys. I rolled my eyes (and I suspect half the audience did too). HOWEVER, the next part of the presentation started to get real interesting.

She spoke about how the Musuem developed glassplate negatives of historic shots of Tyrrell. I don’t think anyone actually understood what Tyrrell was about but that wasn’t the point. They had all these old historic shots and so did the National Library. So they put them on FLICKR, the photo sharing website.  They were generating some pretty impressive stats re number of views. Then they decided to put their collection on the creative commons license, which allows anyone to use the image and it kinda of exploded. They let go their collection and people were helping them out by providing meta tagging, geo tagging (locating them on google maps), people started to mashup the pics with Google street view and so on. The craziest thing was that they started to upload pics of how Sydney looked in the past and how it looked now. Then it snowballed because people started contributing their current pics, and even going to the trouble of finding the exact same shot.

tyrrell

In fact, the best thing was when they were searching for Mosman Water falls and wanted to find out exactly where this thing was. They posted a query on FLICKR, and someone answered the query in 30 mins and directed them to a real estate website.  Paula, went out to the property, discovered the waterfalls in someone’s backyard and took pics to compare and share. It was pretty amazing, the find and the altrustic of this John Doe contributor on FLICKR. So they got in contact with him and tried to find out more about him, got him to come to the musuem (he hadn’t been in a decade), so now he takes his family regularly there and writes about the musuem on his blog.

To think that a government institution, a public musuem was prepared to do that was pretty amazing. The philosophy was to create a musuem without walls. They let their collection go out on a commons license (IP lawyers hide yourself!).

The futurist – Jen Wilson, Lean Forward

Let’s just say she was interesting. Every speaker had an agenda, and her’s was mobile. If I could describe her in a few words it would be “mobile evangelist”. Accordingly, the future for her was “mobile”. Not phone, but mobile, a point she distinguished.  About a year ago, I wouldn’t have thought so either. She gave a view of the world as everything going mobile – your camera, your car, your kitchen sink, etc…

iphone_inhand1

In fact, she was probably the most interesting speaker because she really was talking about the future and was saying things I hadn’t really heard before. Of how mobile was breaking down the digital divide. For example, fishermen in Kerala using mobiles to arbitrage in the local fish market by calling into the port and finding out which fish markets were low and then supplying those markets.

I think she could have spoken all day and night about mobile.  Then she had a little rant about the “evil empires” ala how Google and Microsoft want to control everything…..Oh and did I mention that during the entire conference she was texting on her iphone? I only discovered later when I googled the conference and her twitter account came up, she was updating her twitter account every few mins!!!

That’s been one long recap of the AIMIA conference.

I’m out like the future of digital,

Matt Ho.