27 Apr Advertising Week Europe- A Review

From the 18-22 April, London was host to the who’s who and the good and the great from the advertising industry that gathered at Advertising Week Europe. The event, held over various venues throughout the British capital, provided a series of thought-provoking and insightful topics for those who work across a variety of companies in the industry, ranging from SMEs, media corporations to Fortune 500s.

The platforms allowed industry experts and A-listers known within the industry, to share valuable insights, as well as raise any concerns about the biggest issues affecting brands, publishers and agencies in this era. The Knowledge Engineers had exclusive access to the event. Here is a summary takeaway from the event.

Becoming Mobile-First

The key message from the start seemed to be revolved around that mobile is big, helpful and disruptive, and is helping to push the boundaries of creativity never seen before within the industry. Effectively, everyone wanted to get their par Mobile advertising company Kargo brought together a team of thought-provoking experts from the world of mobile to discuss why mobile ads lack creativity and how this can be addressed. With the Mobile World Congress 2016 happening in Barcelona earlier this year, mobile is something that is gripping everyone by attention. Owen Hanks, international general manager for Kargo, said that “mobile advertising is starting to hit its stride. In 2016, UK mobile ad spend is expected to hit over £4.5bn, half of all digital ad spend”. He went on to say that, “so we have arrived, and the reason I wanted to talk about creativity is that, yes, the advertising dollars have come to the industry but have we forgotten the art in the advertising?”

Mr. Hanks presented research documents showing that 40 per cent of consumers want more creative ads, while over 50 per cent of people say mobile ads are more intrusive than desktop or tablet. And 59 per cent said they would be more receptive to mobile ads if they were relevant. The rapid rise of mobile over the past three years has brought many new players into the market and in the rush to produce ads, creative quality has suffered. As Ben Phillips, global head of mobile for Mediacom, said, “There are a vast number of ad networks and suppliers involved in pushing out standard banner advertising and thinking that is good enough.”

Programmatic and Data Integration Vital in Advertising’s Future

With Programmatic online video expected to become a €2bn industry in Europe by 2020, it is being taken seriously by many companies and being put in place as part of their advertising strategies, European TV stations band together to create programmatic alliances. However, the key question that everyone was asking was if automated ad buying could ever replace gut instinct? Beatriz Medina Layuno, digital sales director of Atresmedia, one of Spain’s main commercial broadcasters, described the creation of programmatic alliance Aunia, a programmatic private video marketplace that unites selected inventory from Atresmedia and rival Mediaset. She said it was hard to persuade the bosses at Atresmedia to form an alliance with their main rival. “In broadcast, digital is a tiny proportion. When we came up with idea of a movement with main competitor, everybody said ‘why do this?’ They hate each other and they were scared of regulators. The point that convinced them was that this expands our power against the agencies. We needed to be strong on supply side,” she said.

Ravleen Beeston, UK head of sales for Bing said, “Programmatic is a big topic at the moment with many internet companies and companies are investing a lot of time and money in training their staff on programmatic. “With 25 per cent of searches on Bing, search is creator of programmatic and therefore Programmatic is search for display and trackability.”

Searching Saturdays: Half Of All Weekend Searches Made From A Mobile Device

During the event Bing Ads released insights into UK consumer behaviour on mobile devices, which effectively reveals that mobile is by far the device of choice during consumer down time, with one in two searches over the weekend now made from smartphones or tablets. Data from search trends across the Bing Network last year showed that retail sees the highest share of weekend mobile device searches (54%), with travel (48%) and finance (36%) making up the top three categories searched for. The figures reflect the continuing surge in mobile ecommerce which now sees smartphone shoppers make up nearly 81 per cent of all UK digital shoppers[1].

The ‘Bing Ads UK Mobile Insights Report’ reveals consumers are increasingly relying on their mobiles as a source of answers, with the number of questions asked on smartphones growing by over 20 per cent year-on-year. Searches asking ‘what’ have nearly doubled (+48%) and those asking ‘which’ are up by over a third (+32%). Under 35s account for more than half of smartphone queries (55%), whilst over 50s continue to dominate searches on tablets (40%). The report has also uncovered that women are more curious than men on mobile, currently making six in 10 searches on smartphones and tablets.

Looking at what UK consumers are turning to their mobiles for, quick-fix queries related to health and restaurants dominate smartphone searches after social media networks, whereas more detailed searches around retail, auto and travel lead the tablet share. Late afternoon and evenings was found to be when consumers are reaching for their mobiles with the most popular time for smartphone use revealed as 8.30pm on weekdays and 9pm on weekends.

‘Hot hours’ for mobile device usage:

Mobile devices PCs
Weekdays 4pm – 10pm 10am – 4pm
Weekends 3pm – 10pm 1pm – 7pm


Mascha Driessen, Western Europe Ad Sales Director at Bing Ads, said: “The role that mobile devices play in consumers’ everyday decision making process is unequivocal. It’s a platform that continues to grow, yet the media industry has yet to crack the nut of understanding how best to engage with consumers on these devices. After all, according to the IAB, only 42% of businesses are using smartphones to reach their audiences.”

She went on to comment: “Our latest insights into mobile search behaviour demonstrate the evolution in consumers’ use of mobile devices. Searches from mobile devices make up almost two-thirds of search volume on the Bing Network. At Microsoft, we think of mobile not as a singular device but as the mobility of experiences through products across devices and platforms, such as Cortana, to ensure consistency in a consumer’s experience. By unlocking the power of search data to inform mobile campaigns, we are able to empower marketers to fully understand the opportunities mobile presents, allowing them to develop relevant, meaningful and timely connections, with consumers.”

Ravleen Beeston, UK head of sales for Bing, added, “Search has been on a massive journey. It’s gone from being a means to an end – results driven. Now it has become more personalised, and Bing offers a complete productivity platform for users to take advantage of the opportunities.”

Top tips for marketers to give campaigns a mobile boost:

  1. Invest in the mobile experience: Marketers should make sure they have device specific ad copy and device optimised landing pages that recognise user context.
  2. Tailor campaigns to the audience: With female queries leading the charge, brands should personalise campaigns to the mobile audience, being sure to pay close attention to search behaviour and specific queries.
  3. Use extensions to drive engagement: where relevant to the brand, Marketers should make use of mobile friendly extensions such as sitelinks, location and call extensions to drive CTR gains.
  4. Stay on top: Brands need to optimise bids to stay in the top two page positions, particularly on smartphones – after all, 75% of smartphone clicks are from the top page position.


Ad Blocking

Apart from mobile, programmatic, and search, the other big topic at this year’s event was ad blocking, with advertisers and publishers discussing at length as to who is responsible for its rise. There were industry experts who were for and against the concept of ad blocking, with the general all round notion that it should be something that we should all embrace. Specifically, this is going to be a topic that many in the industry will be talking about for a long time because of the sensitivity and natural algorithms that are revolved around the technology.

The week wrapped with the much anticipated “Bing Wrap Party: Music Powered” by Live Nation, which featured a special live performance by 2016 Brit Awards winner Jack Garrett, with the opening act Ariana and the Rose. We can only wait and see how the trends that were mentioned at this year’s event will be evolved and applied into practice by next year’s event.

[1] UK Mobile Shoppers, eMarketer 2014 – 2019

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