I go to quite a lot of conferences, so I'm now doing short writes ups of them, with links to interesting things. This time - last week's Interact Congress 2013 in Barcelona.
The big highlight was the reveal of the results from the 2012 AdEx Benchmark Survey from IAB Europe, which showed online ad spend around Europe.
The headline figure was that online ad spend grew 11.5% to €24.3bn around Europe, with big growth in video & mobile advertising.
These were the Top 10 in terms of ad spend:
UK – €6.6bn
DE – €4.6bn
France – €2.8bn
Russia – €1.5bn
Italy – €1.4bn
NL – €1.2bn
ES – €0.9bn
Sweden – €0.8bn
Norway – €0.6bn
Denmark – €0.6bn
You can see that the UK and Germany combined make up more than 40% of the spend. It's also interesting that Russia has overtaken Italy, and that there were only 6 countries with a spend of over one billion Euros in 2012. Full press release is here
I moderated a session on display ad formats for brand campaigns, which included Karim Attia of Nugg Ad, Laura Chaibi of Yahoo, and Dean Donaldson, formerly of MediaMind. It's potentially a pretty dry (read 'dull') subject, but I hope we managed to make people understand the importance of it. Ad formats are the sizes of the spaces on websites that the ads fit into. The IAB needs to get consensus over these, as advertisers need to be able to advertise on multiple sites easily, to get their messages to large numbers of people.
Of course we're only talking about the size of the spaces - we're not talking about what goes into them. That's were the real creativity comes in. Over the past few years ads have gradually been getting wider, as screen sizes have got wider, and now tablet and mobile screen sizes are making this more complicated again. & then there are the real time bidding engines which allow automated ad buying, and need to fit ads into as many sites as possible. As we approach the 20th anniversary of the first banner ad, we need to make sure that the format sizes move with the times. I hope that this gets across how it's not such a 'dry' subject. (& no, none of us support horrific formats like this or this or this).
Another session I really enjoyed was the presentation by Geoff Seeley of Unilever who showed examples of their recent engaging ads and content, including this from Lifebuoy:
In another session Geoff said that they always use paid support for content like this:
Seeley: It would be too arrogant to suggest that a piece of branded content can work on its own. Paid needs to still be used #interact13I thought that it was great to hear a client say this. It's common knowledge in the industry how important it is to pay to support content like videos, and yet you still get articles like this one ("Here's why these 6 videos went viral"), that don't take that into account at all.
— Warc (@WarcEditors) May 24, 2013
I also really liked research by Joe Hall at BBC Worldwide on the use of different devices to find out about the news - this one isn't online yet, I don't think, but will post it if it is.
& finally... It wouldn't really capture this conference if I didn't mention that Harry Styles was staying at the hotel when we were there. He happily signed autographs for people as he lay by the pool, and was by all accounts a nice guy. If he creates that much excitement amongst 30- and 40-somethings at a 5 star hotel then I'd hate to think what happens if he ever tries to walk into a bar... He must lead a strange life. You can see some of the paparazzi pictures of him in the hotel here.