Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Optimism Meets Reality: On the Ground at ad:tech

There’s an ongoing debate about how bad the online ad market has become and will get (your choices: less good, bad or very bad). But that isn’t stopping the organizers of ad:tech from putting on their annual, um, advertising and technology show this week.

This should be a good place to gauge the state of the industry, but it’s also a dizzying one: There are a couple hundred booths and dozens of panels to navigate. So MediaMemo asked an ad:tech veteran for a guide: Mike Lazerow, whose Buddy Media specializes in getting big brands to advertise on social networks like Facebook and News Corp.’s (NWS) MySpace.

Lazerow’s first suggestion was to catch CNN president Jon Klein’s keynote this morning. But voting lines nixed that idea (suggestion for next time–Brooklyn district 91 needs more voting machines). Other highlights from Lazerow’s itinerary:

Another must-see keynote is the ‘state of the industry’ on Tuesday, moderated by Internet Advertising Bureau chief Randall Rothenberg. I usually stay away from any panel featuring five people with giant titles on the same stage together. But Randall is an uber-sharp strategist and thought-leader and promises to lead a compelling panel discussion that aims to cut through the noise of the digital marketing world.

… By far the most compelling Data panel is Wednesday’s ‘The Future of Measurement–How Do We Define the New Media Currency?’ David Hallerman, a senior analyst at eMarketer, hosts leaders of the major metrics firms, Nielsen Online, Hitwise, comScore, Quantcast and Microsoft’s Analytics and Atlas Institute. The focus of the panel will be how to create universal metrics to gauge the success and determine the pricing of all digital media that Google doesn’t hold a claim to. I encourage the panelists to grab a drink with each other afterward to move closer to common metrics. …

The ad network panel that will be most interesting is Thursday’s late-afternoon session ‘So Many Networks, So Little Time: Analyzing the Digital Network Landscape,’ hosted by David Joseph, head of the interactive entertainment research group at Morgan Stanley.

The real title of the panel should be ‘Online Ad Networks: Why There Are Too Many and Why They Will Be Out of Business Soon.’ While the world wants another ad network as much as I want my third heart surgery, these buy-siders will help sift through the confusion of the already over-crowded ad network space.

… For the most part, avoid all panels that have ‘innovation,’ ‘synergy’ and ‘dispatches from’ in the title. Stick with panels featuring companies that HAVE money (agencies, brands) and not companies that are selling solutions (startups, vendors and the major ad networks and sites). What matters is what the brands and agencies are buying, not what we want to sell them!”

And yes, Lazerow is on a panel himself: “Mobilizing and Leveraging Consumer Insights: Best Practices for the Digital and Social Media Age” kicks off at 2:45 p.m., and he assures me the discussion will be more interesting than the name. See you there.


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