Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Reflecting back on my day at ad:tech SF

Today, I converged on the Moscone Center in SF, joining thousands of other online marketers for ad:tech. And one thing was clear -- the online marketing industry is alive and well! There was so much energy and activity everywhere...and I'm not just talking about the sheer volume of tweets with #adtechsf.

The other thing I noticed, and this may be because of this resurgence and the fact that I was standing at the iCrossing exhibition booth, there were a heck of a lot of hungry companies looking to sell to me and iCrossing than client prospects, which is why we usually go to such shows. But it's all good. I met a few interesting companies today.

Despite the eminent return of good times, I didn't really see a lot of booth babes at ad:tech. You can read more about that at valleywag.

iCrossing at Ad:tech San Francisco

I was primarily at ad:tech today to speak at a session on social media marketing. My goal was to:

1. Not show sales slides
2. Talk about work and name clients (not Brand X) that are big brands (not a small company you never heard of doing some social media test)
3. Show real results...yes, I mean data and lift! Absolute numbers, not just %.

You can check out the preso below. Both case studies are awesome...if I do say so myself. =) But I call your attention to the PAID search and social synergy we saw on bebe. There's a lot of talk about SEO and social synergy...and real-time web. But I was personally surprised by the paid search lift we saw from the Twitter engagement with the Kardashians.
I also want to thank our bebe and Billboard.com clients for their support and allowing me to share their stories with you all.

Popping in and out of sessions, one of the ones I enjoyed that didn't talk about Facebook or Twitter was the keynote by Chris Anderson of Wired Magazine about the potential future of the tablet PC (starting, or restarting, I should say, with the iPad) in saving the publishing industry.

Chris thinks tablet PCs will really take off this time. And he attributes it to 3 major industry events:

1. iPhone - Of course!

2. Kindle - Yep, get it!

3. Cloud computing - First 2 are obvious reasons. To be clear, this 3rd one allows OEMs to build fast thin clients that can focus on a rich, interactive user experience as opposed to worrying about power and other technical constraints

Chris sees and hopes for his industry's sake this next generation of tablet PCs will re-balance the economics of consumption and distribution. Consumers will pay for bite-size content when they want it. Publishers will design a digital user experience in parallel to the print magazine planing stage so it is not an afterthought.

We all know why and how the web made all of us feel that content should be FREE. And that anyone and their mom can publish online. One interesting tidbit that Chris shared was they were working closely with Adobe on developing new publishing and design tools for publishers to design richer experiences on the iPad. (I hope it's not all based on Flash!) And if they get it right, these new Adobe tools will not only reset consumer's expectations of what a high-quality, professionally-produced experience should be on a tablet, but it will actually erect barriers to entry again...and thus content scarcity...which equals pricing power restored to the publishing industry!

As Chris puts it, it will be up to publishers...and i would argue marketers too...to design an experience so compelling for the iPad that you get people to stop their finger flicking and engage with your content.

Whether the publishing industry can pull it off is to be seen. But I came out pumped. Or that may be because I'm days away from getting my Apple iPad 3G!!!


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