Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of ad agency conglomerate WPP, delivered a keynote that heavily criticized the struggling media industry. He predicted that advertising agencies would increasingly fill the gap if traditional media fail to adjust.
“The question is interesting, because agencies are becoming more involved in the development of content, and all indications are that will become very important,” Sorrell said. “The lines between advertising and editorial will become more blurred.”
The contraction of the magazine and newspaper industry not only will continue but is essential, Sorrell said.
“All we see are newspapers and magazine titles dropping like flies, and that has to continue,” Sorrell said. “There has to be a winnowing out and consolidation.”
Sorrell said the solution for publishers is to offer content to readers for a fee, rather than the current, mostly free form.
“The old models don't work,” he said. “In order to make the traditional models work, even when they're involved in new media, [what is needed] is to get consumers to pay for the content.”
Some session speakers said they struggled with measuring the results of their digital campaigns.
Gal Trifon, CEO of cross-channel marketing company Eyeblaster, forecast that “dwell time” (how long users linger over a display ad with their cursor or view a video) would be increasingly important in measuring billable engagement.
Other panelists at the session titled “What's Wrong (and What's Right) with Digital Display Advertising?” however, concluded that such a metric had a long way to go before gaining traction among marketers.
Search marketing was front and center at ad:tech. An entire track was given over to SMX@ad:tech in a co-sponsorship with the Search Marketing Expo conferences. Topics covered included trends in real time, video and mobile search.
“The ROI from search is strong,” said Patricia Hursh, president and co-founder of SmartSearch Marketing. “A growing emphasis on getting organic search right is taking money away from paid search. The question is: When will the money go back the other way?” M