Four takeaways from the IAB Engage Conference

Plenty of reason for cheer emanating from IAB Engage, says Paul Lyonette, country manager UK at digital video provider, YuMe.

Sir Martin Sorrell interviewed by Richard Eyre at IAB Engage
Sir Martin Sorrell interviewed by Richard Eyre at IAB Engage
For the tenth IAB Engage, which took place yesterday, it seemed only fitting for Sir Martin Sorrell to take to the stage for a fireside chat with IAB UK’s Richard Eyre. But aside from Sir Martin’s chat there were plenty of other takeaways from the event to give agencies and advertisers something to think about. Here are my top four takeaways:

1) Five billion people have the internet in their pocket

Unsurprisingly, mobile was a key thread running throughout the conference during a number of sessions – and it’s easy to see why. Every day consumers globally spend an average of 147 minutes on mobile every day, compared with 113 minutes on TV, 108 minutes on desktop, and 50 minutes on tablets.

But the best sound bite – and something agencies tend to forget when creating campaigns – is the need to adopt a mobile-first approach to advertising campaigns.  An incredible 91% of 25-34 year olds own a smartphone – equating to five million consumers with the internet accessible in their pocket – which offers an unprecedented opportunity for brands, while research by Facebook suggests that more than 60% would rather give up their TV than their phone.

2) Digital overtaking TV as the primary source of video consumption

The second biggest trending topic was video with Sir Martin Sorrell suggesting that the balance of new media is shifting as a result of mobile search and video growth. Google’s UK and Ireland Managing Director, Eileen Naughton, went as far as to suggest that digital has overtaken TV as the primary source of video consumption and added that 44% of all YouTube videos in the UK are consumed on mobile or tablet devices.

Interestingly, the most popular type of videos viewed on YouTube are instructional and this is something that agencies planning video advertising campaigns should consider. The other key trend for videos is those that encourage interactivity for increased engagement. This was echoed by Channel 4’s Gill Whitehead who spoke about the work undertaken with Burberry to use audience data to create monogrammed bottles as part of the advert they watched, which included the opportunity to buy a personalised bottle.

3) Make content and experiences personal… just not too personal

Greater personalisation is something we will see a lot more of in the future, especially given the current wave of interactive campaigns created by agencies and publishers. But consumers are increasingly becoming aware of issues around sharing their own private data, so agencies and brands need to tread a careful line between using personal data to create something bespoke to individuals, or offering a fair value exchange in exchange for that data. Overstep this mark, and consumers may begin to distrust brands and be unwilling to offer data in the future.

4) Create seamless, integrated experiences

Finally, there was an emphasis on a greater need for convergence between different agencies and devices rather then operating in silos. Consumers don’t differentiate content by device, but agencies still do. The industry needs to consider the content and experience first, then create multi-screen campaigns that can engage with the right audience, on the right device, and at the right time, to ensure the right message is served to the correct demographic.

With that I’ll close by finishing with two golden nuggets from Sir Martin Sorrell. "Even in a flat economy, you can find things to do that allow you to grow" and "I don't believe in stress, you're just not having enough fun".

Paul Lyonette is country manager UK at YuMe.

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