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Think BR: It takes two to tango

The UK leads the world in online advertising but the marketplace and the technology behind it are changing fast, writes the IAB's Guy Phillipson.

Guy Phillipson, chief executive, IAB UK

Guy Phillipson, chief executive, IAB UK

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I’ve recently returned from a business trip to Argentina. The IAB in Buenos Aires asked me to present at their industry conference, and explain how the UK became the most successful online advertising market in the world, commanding 27% share of spend.

Whilst the Argentines enjoy a huge share of tango dancing and fillet steak, their advertisers spend a mere 5% online.

Still, 1000 delegates packed the auditorium, eager to learn and do more. It reminded me of our very first IAB Engage conference in 2005, and how far we’ve all come in just six years.

Now, as we approach 2012, we’re entering an exciting new phase of growth, powered by audience behaviour, new technology, mobile devices and, importantly, ready access to brand campaign data.

A brief look at the latest IAB/PwC stats tell, half the story: Online Video advertising up 100%; social ads up 60%; FMCG advertisers are now the second highest display spenders, just behind finance.

But the bigger story is in consumer behaviour patterns and our growing ability to measure campaign success across media. A massive 40% of time online is spent on social, video and gaming – it’s an entertainment medium.

And with the majority of mobile users tooled up with smartphones, they’re enjoying entertainment, anywhere, anytime. So the marketer’s dream of deep engagement at brand level allied to one-to-one communication, at scale, is here.

And the new watch word is ATTRIBUTION.

Whether it’s within online channels, or across media, marketers and agencies are developing data-driven measurement systems to understand the combined effectiveness of integrated brand campaigns.

At the same time in the DR space we have the mind blowing prospect of a "display stock exchange" where real-time systems can literally make millions of decisions every few seconds to place ads in front of customers.

We’re entering a brave new world for advertising. For some it’s exciting, and others, plain scary!

However you see it, we’ll be exploring these issues in more depth at IAB Engage, which promises a healthy mix of enlightenment and IAB-style entertainment.

But I’m afraid I won’t be doing the tango!

Guy Phillipson, chief executive, Internet Advertising Bureau UK

IAB Engage, in association with Brand Republic, takes place on 3 November. Full details can be found at the IAB Engage website.

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