Top 7 ad:tech buzz topics

During the course of last week's ad:tech NY, Networked Insights used its SocialSense listening platform to chart buzz before and during the event. The SocialSense platform, used by a wide variety of businesses and agencies, enables companies to listen in on online conversations and discover insights. It was a fun exercise to turn the lens on our own backyard to see what we'd uncover in the world of social media and digital marketing.

I attended ad:tech and brought back many positive impressions (and swag) -- but the findings presented in this article are all about the algorithms. Below is a ranking of buzz topics, along with a representative quote for each. Data were pulled from 137 different blogs and forums during the week leading up to ad:tech New York and through the week of the conference.

This snapshot shows the tag cloud and verbatims for the Buzz Insight "Social Media." (click to enlarge)

The top buzz topics were as follows:

1. Digital advertising and digital agencies
It's not terribly surprising that advertising tops the list of buzz at ad:tech. In addition to discussion of digital display ads and agencies, posts also discussed content advertising and advancements in contextual advertising.

"Any conversation about digital marketing these days includes at least one mention that traditional agencies just don't get it. While this may be correct, it's equally true that digital agencies are not ready to take the lead. Look at the typical digital agency. It excels in exploring new horizons. It supports a flat and loose organizational structure in which a developer has access to the CEO. And it makes sure everyone's opinion is heard. It's one big crazy family. Digital agencies are having fun experimenting with ideas, technologies and strategies to find new alternatives superior to obsolete ways of doing marketing. That's what they do best. The problem is, this is the only thing they are doing... "



SocialSense's Buzz Insights, shown here for posts about ad:tech, are automatically generated to show what people are talking about, which removes the human bias encountered when merely tallying selected keywords. (click to enlarge)

2. Social media
Social media was a close, popular runner-up. Within that category, there was heavy discussion on social media ROI.

"Today I found myself at a session at [ad:tech] New York that I figured wouldn't have a thing to do with social media. I figured wrong. In a session called The New Consumer Funnel: Engagement Mapping and the Death of the Last Click Reporting Standard, I was introduced to some new research that could potentially mean a lot to those searching for social media ROI. The findings presented by Esco Strong, director at the Microsoft Advertising Institute, suggested that the 'last click' as in the final click before a conversion or sale of a product currently gets all the credit for that successful conversion or sale. This model is fundamentally flawed... "

3. Keynote speakers
The main event speakers at ad:tech also generated a lot of buzz. Jonathan Miller and Jimmy Wales edged out Sir Martin Sorrell for engagement of posts.

"What keeps Jonathan Miller up at night is the free vs. paid discussion in the media and content industries. You want to get value from your content and that leads you to a paid discussion. But that's a beehive of issues. For example, how do you get people to pay? How do you prevent theft? When you shift to a paid model you have to have a strong value model. Miller thinks the WSJ is pulling that off. People are paying for digital media. He points to the growing success of the Kindle and people paying for subscriptions on the device. Do people see the mobile platform as a premium location and so people will pay for that? Miller takes it one step further and suggests a bundled experience... "

4. Booths and booth babes
Hey, we don't make this stuff up. We just report it.

"You can debate the merits of booth babes at conferences but that's like debating the merits of smart people versus un-smart people. The world is full of both of them. Sometimes you get the good ones and sometimes you get the bad ones. Thankfully, I got the good booth babes today at ad:tech New York. Listen to Victoria and Chris talk about their company, BIscience, and their role in representing the company at ad:tech. They actually know what they're talking about. And they actually work for the company. Two things rarely present in a booth babe... "

5. Socialize and party
"Met some great people" turned up a lot. Combine that with high volume of discussion on evening parties, and you'll find the real live "social" in social media. The relatively high rank suggests booze, food, and unfettered networking opportunities are still an essential part of "how bidness gets done."

"This event which is being hosted by Moss Networks promises to be the party of the week for industry professionals to mix and mingle. This party is by invitation only so make sure to stop by our booth 1324 and see if we have any passes with your name on it! Check out more details on the week's parties and our picture of the beautiful Hudson Terrace."

6. Mobile marketing
About half of the mobile discussion was about mobile video marketing.

"Mogreet claims current clients using the platform are routinely seeing open rates, video views and click-through rates 15-25 times higher than other forms of advertising media -- though it's a little misleading given the fact that [it's] not compared to other forms of mobile marketing. The fact that text-messages are usually read by a user within 20 seconds means brands can start seeing results almost instantaneously, versus hours or days for a similar email marketing campaign."

7. Search engine marketing
This is one of the phrases that ranks highest in its pure form, though other categories are higher when like terms are combined.

"Jim Lecinski from Google explained that smartphones are increasing the volume of mobile search queries -- up to 50 times more. Holoubek noted that it goes even beyond search, because smartphones are allowing marketers to not just "retrofit ads to fit a mobile screen" and instead use customer data (e.g., location) to offer useful information -- partnered, of course, with a brand message."

Dan Neely is founder and CEO of Networked Insights.

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