Insights in the Digital Ad Space – 2015 SXSW Recap

SXSW Recap, Digital Ad Space

South by Southwest Interactive (SxSWi) has officially wrapped up, and this year brought another round of major insights and trends into the digital ad space. We’ve cut through the clutter of presentations, media and events to find the best takeaways from the festival in this SXSW recap.

Rise of Physical Location Retargeting

Several companies like Unacast were promoting their newest technologies around more personalized physical location retargeting and proximity marketing. This technology allows marketers to see what a person did before and after leaving a physical location.

 For example, let’s say someone visited a mall. Then, this person bought several items at boutique stores around the area. When he/she returns to the mall, the person could receive a discount to a high-end store within the mall. This type of advertising allows for more personalized interactions with customers and makes the offer or ad more valuable to them.

Ideas Still Matter

Marketers know that bad mobile ads exist everywhere on the Internet. At the OMMA@SxSW session, however, this opinion was confirmed by marketers from major brands like Coca-Cola, Papa John’s and Kraft. The reason behind most bad ads: Marketers have forgotten that they still need a “big idea” behind their campaigns.

According to Zoe Levine, Senior Manager, Digital Marketing at Coca-Cola, digital ads fail “because we are approaching it the same way we have traditional advertising. You can’t approach an Instagram ad the same way you do a TV spot.”

The idea needs to match the platform, and it needs to be more tailored to the people using it.

Push Content over Links

During a talk during the festival, Jonah Perette, CEO of BuzzFeed, offered insights into why BuzzFeed is so successful. Part of the reason is that the company delivers actual content to consumers via social networks, and not just links to websites or blogs.

Further, its on-site native advertising actually looks like original BuzzFeed stories as opposed to traditional digital ads. This content matches what people are searching, increasing the chances of people clicking on the story.

 Ad Tech Landscape Constantly Evolving

At the “Turning Customers into Hackers Through Technology” panel discussion, executives from Tapad, Pandora, Microsoft and Team Detroit discussed the issues of the ever-changing ad tech landscape. Marketers must constantly adjust to the latest innovations and almost learn as they go – which can be both exhilarating and challenging all at once.

One way to do this is with knowing how to adequately analyze learnings from real-time consumer feedback and data. Then, they can use this data to produce technologies that actually respond to consumer pain points and wants, and even change consumer behaviors.

What’s next?

The digital ad space is an innovative and exciting space with which to be involved. Programmatic buying, native ads and mobile retargeting will only grow in importance over the next several years. Even big companies are using these technologies to deliver higher-quality, more targeted ads to their consumers. All ads, however, must start with a big idea and be personalized to consumers.

Image 1: Unacast FacebookImage 3: Buzzfeed