Record Attendance and Happy Vendors at AdTech

Also: Video Excerpts From Speakers

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Anyone who's been to an AdTech conference before can attest to the crazed high-school science fair that is the exhibitor floor. Dozens upon dozens of upstart web companies vie for potential clients' attention. T-shirts enhanced with video screens, fliers attached to real dollar bills, even free USB keys were among the many stunts used to incite deals at this year's New York installment.

Record numbers
With a record high of 10,800 preregistered attendees, what kinds of results were exhibitors seeing from their two days of booth-sitting?

For Jordan Visco, VP-affiliate marketing at British Columbia-based online advertiser Neverblue, it meant 2,000 business cards in his company's box by floor-closing time yesterday. Last year, he took home 700.

Aggressive team
Having an aggressive but small team of nine people steadily manning the booth paid off too. "I haven't eaten anything for so long," Mr. Visco said. "I've probably lost 10 pounds at this thing."

"This is the best one," Mr. Visco said of the New York show. "There's no other conferences that cover what we do so well. And the Philly summit is so much smaller."

"This was the best show we've had in terms of qualified leads," echoed Jennifer Black, VP-marketing at Local.com, whose booth was on the first floor, right across from Google. "Compared to AdTech San Francisco, our ad-sales and business-development folks were ecstatic."

Prime location
Local.com made the decision to attend the show only three or four weeks ago, and picked up a prime location from another vendor that had dropped out. The mix of people milling on the show floor was about 40% publishers looking for technology for their sites and 60% direct advertisers, Ms. Black estimated. In fact, Local.com ran out of materials.

While Neverblue used a drawing for an autographed jersey from New York Ranger Mark Messier as bait for foot traffic, others went for more interactive tactics. Online video advertiser Atlas' booth featured a game show hosted by a quick-witted stand-up comedian, while YellowPages.com settled for a more modest notepad.

"People really interested in doing business with us will come here anyway," said Brian Peaco, interactive account executive at YellowPages.com.

Buried in the middle
Mr. Peaco posted "decent" results but said the most leads come from the best location. His company was buried in the middle of the second floor at the three-story exhibition in New York, and fares best in San Francisco.

"Everything was on one floor, so there's significantly more traffic," he said. "The AdTechs are really our niche of people we're trying to target, and this is as direct a form of that as possible."

The most prime real estate at the New York AdTech belonged to Casale Media, which had a bright-red display at the entrance to the first-floor exhibits. Chief Marketing Officer Julie Casale-Amorim said strong support of AdTech over the past four years helped her company land its sweet spot. "AdTech has a points system, and showing consistent commitment helps your ability to move up in this location," she said.

Networking opportunity
Even if a booth doesn't end in a deal, the networking opportunity is still unprecedented for many of the exhibitors.

"It just provides so much awareness about the industry," said Vishnu Induri, director at Globe 7 Communications. "It's all about meeting business partners and building relations. None of the companies here are competitive with each other. It's more helpful for everyone."

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