AWEurope was a hot-bed of creativity, ideas and thought-leadership that brought together the best talent from clients, agencies and media owners across all different sectors. The impressive guest-list of speakers ensured a scramble to get from one talk to the next, with tough choices on event clashes and utter disappointment when rooms quickly filled up and delegates were left to try and follow the live feeds from the News Room Café. Most attendees happily jumped from media predictions with industry greats Michael Roth and Sir Martin Sorrell, to leadership tips from Microsoft, to story-telling sessions with Evidently, to consumer insights from MEC that are redefining the purchase cycle. Two hot topics trended throughout the week; Big Data and Programmatic Trading.
Discussions centred around how audiences are no longer defined by demographic but by behaviour. Abba Newbery, hosting the Media Future talk, identified that the real value in grouping a target audience is in how they interact and respond in real time situations and content should be rendered according to each audience. The smart planner also needs to understand how to harness the power of all the data available to us, and take what is being classified as ‘big data’ and turn it into ‘smart data’. Most agreed that we spend too long in collecting and rendering the data and not enough time spent actually using it. The light-hearted but poignant joke doing the rounds at AWEurope is that Big Data is like Teenage Sex. Everyone’s talking about it, but nobody’s doing it right.
With smart data utilisation ongoing and the quest underway to deliver relevant content in the most cost-efficient way, the fierce debate turned to programmatic trading. Here at IPG we predict that 80% of all digital ad buys will be programmatic by 2017, a view that was well supported by others at AWEurope. The race is on for agencies to develop sophisticated programmatic trading tools, but it’s important to remember that programmatic does not mean automatic as Toby Gunton, Head of Innovation at OMD, was keen to point out. Relationships are as important as ever and programmatic trading needs a human curator to optimise the technology.
The passion displayed through AWEurope reminded everyone of why we work in this fantastic industry, with a fresh wave of inspiration and energy positively radiating throughout the event.
It was clear to all that programmatic looks set to be the buzzword of 2014. Watch this space.