Google on Ad Week: big questions and rose tinted glasses

The advertising industry looked the big questions in the eye at Ad Week Europe and did not blink, says Mark Howe, MD of agency sales, North & Central Europe at Google, though rose-tinted spectacles might have had to be removed at some points.

Google picks out the key questions from Ad Week
Google picks out the key questions from Ad Week

The big questions driving debate at panel after panel throughout the auditoriums and rooms at this inspirational event can be summed up as below.

There are no absolute cut-and-dried answers to these challenges but with collaboration – a key word in many sessions – sharing of information and best practice we can start devising the solutions.

Are we on the verge of the big ‘Aha’ moment for brands and programmatic?

The general consensus is that we are on a tipping point for programmatic as advertisers begin to understand the benefits more clearly. Confidence is building in programmatic being able to deliver what it long promised – relevant messages served to the right person at the right time. Bold brands like Nestle and BT are seeing positive results and creativity powered by new signals is making the right steps towards regaining its confidence and the swagger of Don Draper.

Is the power of video going to keep a hold on the attention of millennials?

Traditional TV still has a role to play and the older demographic still watches quality broadcast TV but vloggers like PewDePie can command more than 35.5m subscribers and has racked up 8.2bn video views in the five years since he joined YouTube. That is a mass audience by any definition and the ‘do-it-yourself’ attitude among young people to creating their own video content is surging. Brands have a great opportunity for partnerships in this world if they have a dialogue with the creators. Oh, and did I say video can be traded programmatically?

What are the factors holding mobile back from realising its full potential?

Mobile is the great democratising tool of our age. It allows everyone access to data that can really change people’s lives and in many regions consumers have jumped straight onto mobile, by-passing desktops altogether. As an ad channel it is still something of a ‘sleeping giant’ but as anonymised mobile tracking by device identification becomes more sophisticated and we can harvest more useful contextual data, marketers will seize the opportunity with both hands. Some more creativity in the actual ads will also help.

What kind of skills and talents will companies need to recruit to stay successful and competitive in the next decade?

It will be the era of the ‘smart creative’ – the person who understands technology and can talk the language of data but can also bring this alive for business. Of course, these people are a rare breed so the net will have to be cast wide to find them – do not assume that they are all going to be graduates. The more diverse your workforce the richer the pool of talent you can draw on to help your client.

So, rose-tinted spectacles off and a good clear focus for the future. Not a bad result for four days at BAFTA. See you next year?

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