Digital Conference 2010

Lessons to Take Away From Marketing's Leading Innovators

These Seven Insights Are Just a Sampling of the Myriad Ideas They Shared at the Confab

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NEW YORK ( -- Missed Ad Age's Digital Conference last week? Here are eight lessons you may not have gleaned from following the tweets.

GALE: High hopes for promoted tweets.
GALE: High hopes for promoted tweets. Credit: Gary He
A great digital idea can come from China. Ford's Fiesta Movement YouTube campaign broke new ground in the U.S., but the idea came from China, where the company used myriad video sites to launch the Fiesta. Thanks to Fiesta Movement, Ford has 10,000 pre-orders of the vehicle, and spent less than 10% of what it would traditionally drop on a launch.

There are some awesome banner ads out there. The No. 1 complaint from publishers: Can anyone besides Apple/ TBWA Media Arts Lab make a visually compelling brand ad for the web? Answer: Yes. While online display can seem like a wasteland, there are plenty of examples of great work. Ashley Ringrose, co-founder of Soap Creative, gave six rules for making excellent creative. Among them: A truly interactive ad must have an interactive idea. Entertain and involve the user and they will respond.

A content company can actually sell content, not just advertising. AOL's new strategy is content at scale made for the web. But when AOL talks to advertisers, it's not just about what ads it can sell, it's about what content it can make. Take, for example, its relationship with Bank of America, which includes a co-created site, "The Savings Experiment," underwritten by the bank and living on AOL's personal-finance site,

Search engine optimization is critical if you want to get your website noticed, and your products in front of consumers searching for your brand online. But SEO is more than just getting your site to perform well in organic search, it can also improve your site's overall performance. SEO expert C.J. Newton lays out important aspects to consider before you start rebuilding your website in this Ad Age Insights white paper, available now at

A database doesn't equal a community. The world's largest entertainment launch, "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare," began with a whisper on Twitter, said Activision Chief Creative Officer Brad Jakeman. Marketers, he said, must use every engagement with their brand's community to add value and, when they do, that community can grow into its own channel.

Some science would help marketers find causation in a world of correlation. What if advertisers could conduct experiments without actually running campaigns (and spending budget)? Well, that's what Google is now offering with its "Bid Simulator," which allows marketers to experiment with different keywords, markets or other variables to find the right combination, without spending.

When it comes to digital creative, resist the urge to lead with technology-based solutions. It's not easy, with platforms rapidly changing, but winning ideas should be lasting ones. "Start with consumer insights and go from there," was the advice shared by a panel of digital agency leaders and top marketers from TBWA, Profero, P&G and Microsoft.

Marketers want to test Twitter's new ads. Thanks to on-board WiFi, legions of Virgin America flyers send the obligatory tweet from 30,000 feet. Now Virgin thinks it can launch a route with Twitter's "promoted tweets." Will it work? "It better, or I'll be out of a job," said Porter Gale, Virgin America's VP-marketing.

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