Did you know that Earls Court is going to close after the 2012 Olympics? Current plans will have the venue host Olympic volleyball and then it may well become a residential site.
This week the historic venue was host to an event even more energetic than the bounce of elite athletes up and down the court; this week was Technology for Marketing & Advertising. This year the event co-located with the Online Advertising & Affiliate Expo. It ran from March the 1st to the 2nd, we had bigmouths there on both dates, I was there for the duration of the 2nd and wrapped up with a 30 minute presentation on “What the affiliates want” at the end of the day in the Affiliate Theatre.
It was a busy event. I would estimate that many of the people prowling the corridors of booths and stands were from the technology supplier side of the business, a fair percentage from client or agency background and the rest made up from students and others just moving into this space. There was a Publishing Expo further around the Earls Court complex and as a result I spoke to a number of people moving from print publishing to the digital publishing space.
March the 2nd was an interest day to be bimbling around the coloured carpets of the Expo – each colour pertaining to a different section or classification of stands. We had chatter and speculation on Apple and their plans for the iPad 2. A number of stands were running competitions that gave you the chance to win an iPad in exchange for surrendering your business card. I didn’t find one brave enough to have taken the gamble and been prepared to offer an iPad 2 contest entry in exchange for a business card.
One of the brands that managed to get a bit of Twitter RT love on their iPad give a way was The IDM.
The IDM ran a #TFMA panel in which the audience was asked “Which brings better conversions – online or offline”. Want to try and guess which won?
Online. Only just.
While visiting the Ad2One stand and asking awkward questions about the future of run-of-site banner buys in the battle against the rising Demand Side Platforms I discovered that tens of thousands of people may have been exposed to cyber threats after hackers compromised the advert click chains from high profile sites like the LSE.
Other than that there was not all that much focus on either security at the event – although there were a number of web hosts at the event, including Rackspace and their familiar balloon, who would have been more than happy to engage in server security conversations.
There was, however, plenty of chat about privacy and privacy concerns. This is the week when we discovered car insurance prices for youngsters will change – because it’s no longer legal to discriminate based on gender. One of the other weighty issues the EU are mulling over is the E-Privacy Directive and it is possible that the humble and essential cookie will go the same way as cheaper car insurance for female drivers. If that happens the all of ‘technology for marketing and advertising’ will take a hit. The affiliate channel will be right at the front of that legal shockwave.
As it happens, Argos had a stand in the Online Advertising and Affiliate Expo – not to advertise Argos as such, but an initiative from Argos’s affiliate manager Andrew Firmin to recruit more affiliates. After discussing the immediate impact of the ASA stepping in to regulate websites – and therefore many affiliates – and the possible horror of a weird EU ruling in the E-Privacy Directive I was actually cheeky enough to ask whether the booth had recruited many affiliates.
As it turns out – it had.
Argos, via their network Commission Junction, did have a number of new tools to show off and I’m these attracted the attention of some of the more established affiliates. The key to success, perhaps, may have been the Publishing Expo around the corner which had persuaded some new digital publishers to venture into our half of Earls Court 2. These new publishers are ideally suited for affiliate marketing.
One of the points I made in my presentation – which is only a bullet in the slides but very relevant to publishers – is that while CPM prices have been terribly depressed over the last two years that CPA levels have remained fairly robust. There are certainly publishers who have made a tidy sum by buying on a CPM basis and selling or earning back on a CPA basis. As it happens, some of the interest in the iPad 2 and other tablets that comes from traditional publishers is whether these devices will help push CPM prices back up.
If you’ll allow me a prediction it’ll be this – next year might be the last Technology for Marketing & Advertising (with the Online Advertising & Affiliate Expo) in Earls Court but I suspect we’ll see many more publishers there, we’ll still be talking about privacy but we’ll also be talking about cloud security, CPA rates and the value of data.