Yesterday saw Ciaran of Exchangewire fame organise his second major event. The focus of the event was the wonderful world of data trading, particularly within the exchange space. As is the way with Ciaran’s events they are less stuffy and formal and I always find the social and networking element to them very productive, as with the last trading summit the great and the good were there and it’s the quickest way to catch up with all your contacts.
The event was opened with a suitably non data introduction from Collective’s Steven Filler. Might have just been me but it felt like he realised that he had a room full of so called experts and the usual presentation would not quite wash and so swapped to more of an opening introduction to the whole event. Interestingly his opening chart was one of the most revealing of the day. Attendance was 45% ad networks, 10% agency and NO clients. A strange set of numbers when you think most people in the room were colluding on how to get rid of the ad networks. The agency figure looked low but actually there are a relatively few people in agencies fueling the exchange machines so that does not surprise, although you could argue that more people beyond that should show interest.
The Data panel was a demonstration on theory. We have one huge White elephant in the room, true attribution. Most sophisticated strategies seem to fail without this analysis and yet it was generally acknowledged that we don’t do it well enough. So we end up asking whether data works in a performance world, again the answer was more a no than a yes. The panel worked hard to try and give some texture and real examples but let’s face it, if you have the answer you ain’t telling, if you don’t you will pretend and in fact most people are doing something more simple than they are discussing.
Andy Mitchell from AN&Y then gave a far more realistic view on how publishers could use the exchange space and a little data understanding. It was a refreshingly open presentation and was quite a juxtaposition to the slightly vapour driven data panel. It’s clear from Andy’s presentation though that if you have large inventory you can get in quicker and test more. I have some sympathy with the Tim Gentry’s of this world with a smaller more precious audience to protect.
I really enjoyed talking with a number of people at lunch, especially around European expansion, with Audience on Demand live in France and Spain with other countries close behind establishing the right data, tech and inventory partnerships is important, it’s clear everyone is marching into Europe which is great as far as I am concerned. That was the best bit about lunch, the sandwiches that Ciaran’s mum made were average.
Next up Audience Science. Stuart set out to stir debate, always an admirable approach but I think in places misguided. It was the first time in the day I was glad no clients were there, too many of his inconvenient truths were in fact convenient non-truths for Audience Science new business machine. Stuart has told me this was not his intention but I am not so sure. Worse than that was on a couple of the points I believe that he did believe what he was saying, especially around our debate on RTB but he was just not right as myself and Andy Cocker could not resist telling him. I am all for debate but you have to be careful not to leave people with the wrong impression.
The buyside panel was handled quietly but eloquently by Paul Silver. Some big revelations were that data was one big bubble and that Alain from Excelate was a regular buyer of women 18-34, both created quite stir. Ciaran got into his stride and managed to pull out some quality Specific Media gags, for them it feels like gallows humour, still all good fun of course!
I have to apologise to Nick from the IAB I had to leave but I know this is a serious topic and one VivaKi are taking very seriously and being as proactive as possible. In the US we have started to work with Evidon on using user initiated icons that allow consumers to opt in or out and to change their data footprint with the data collectors. It’s one of those areas where you can keep talking or start doing. As Andy says better to be at the game than watch on telly.
Overall it was a good day, as someone commented it is a state of the nation that there were no clients and that no case studies or examples could be demonstrated. I think for the next event Ciaran should create an incentive pricing scheme for clients, let’s get them involved. I would like to see less paid for performances ( we have been guilty in the past) and more genuine speakers which may end up being one in the same but I guess that’s what we will find out.
A big thanks Ciaran for making us all feel like we have friends and getting us in one room, I look forward to the Autumn summit and what I am sure will be an even bigger turn out.