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At the 2015 DPAA Video Everywhere Summit in New York City, over 700 ad tech, marketing and market research professionals gathered to explore the challenges and opportunities facing the advertising business. The event was put together by the Digital Place-based Advertising Association (DPAA), a trade organization that facilitates collaboration among advertisers, agencies and place-based digital and video networks. Big players like Publicis, AT&T and Pepsi were on hand to share their perspectives on the future of place-based advertising

Here were three themes that stood out for me during the annual conference.

  1. The empowered audience is leading the charge.

Disruption was a huge topic at the conference, with globalization, demographic shifts and digitization dominating the discussions. Barry Frey, president of DPAA, said the world is changing for advertisers as video continues to gain more traction. In 2017, more than half of advertising revenue will come from digital efforts, predicted Frey, while 10 percent will come from programmatic advertising. These changes come as a direct response to changing audience behaviors.

Unfortunately, brands have not caught up. According to several speakers, the perception is that the audience is way ahead of brands—and brands are way ahead of advertising agencies. DPAA members need to “think asymmetrically” about their audience, according to Chris Curtin, chief brand and innovation marketing officer at Visa. It's critical for companies to look at new ways audiences are behaving and interacting with brands. Advertising agencies should think outside of the box in order to capitalize on these opportunities.

  1. More measurement and more data is not the answer.

Rishad Tobaccowala, chief strategist at the Publicis Groupe, said that while data has never been easier to access, the amount of information isn’t helping advertisers make better decisions. In fact, owning data is now an obsolete idea, according to Tobaccowala. Ultimately, it’s how you analyze the droves of data available and turn it into actionable insight that will make the difference.

As the audience becomes more empowered, the old ways of measuring advertising campaigns and capturing data to prove ROI and campaign effectiveness are also becoming outdated. For instance, because of multi-screen viewing, companies need to rethink traditional ways of measuring impressions and engagement.

“Change is coming, and you must change your thinking and collaborate better,” Tobaccowala advised.

  1. Marketers need to offer utility.

Storytelling and human-to-human connections are still critical in this era of video dominance. "In a silicon world, we are still talking to carbon life-forms,” said Tobaccowala.

He also encouraged marketers to stop advertising and instead focus on providing value to their target audience. “People don’t want to see your stupid message,” he said. Focussing on providing value will help marketers catch up to the audience and influence their engagements with the brand.


Overall, DPAA’s annual Video Everywhere Summit is a reminder of the growing power of the audience and the need to rethink marketing and advertising initiatives. As companies like Exterion Media demonstrate, an audience-centric mindset is required to tackle audience fragmentation, technological evolution and other urgent issues facing the advertising practice. That begins not by accumulating data—rather, it starts by engaging the audience in a two-way conversation on their terms, gaining deeper intelligence and identifying ways of delivering more value.

Photo credit: DPAA (via Twitter)

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