Between the introduction of GDPR in 2018, the California Consumer Privacy Act coming in 2020 and Google’s war on fingerprinting, ad tech faces a perilous future. During Adweek’s inaugural NexTech event in New York last week, a couple dozen of the top minds in ad tech, marketing and media took to the stage to walk through their companies’ ad-tech strategies and latest trends in the industry.
In between hot takes on Irish cricket, Martin Sorrell graded major holding companies on recent data acquisitions, while Hulu’s Peter Naylor and NBCUniversal’s Linda Yaccarino explained the futures of their streaming services. If you missed NexTech, here are 12 key takeaways (and links to more comprehensive stories) from all of the event’s keynote speakers.
Martin Sorrell slams holding companies’ strategies
The biggest name at the event, former WPP CEO Martin Sorrell, argued in his keynote discussion that “traditional” agencies like those he used to run just aren’t optimized for the digital world inhabited by NexTech attendees. He then claimed that most major holding companies don’t know how to approach the challenges presented by this world either, giving Publicis and IPG “C” grades on their recent multibillion-dollar data acquisitions and making criticisms that spokespeople for both companies later said were inaccurate. Finally, he argued that the ad industry should no longer see platforms like Google and Facebook as antagonists, because “we are working with them.”
NBC is open to working with rival platforms
Hulu’s surprise marketing drops
Hulu has twice now surprise dropped programming, most recently the newest season of Veronica Mars, which was a “marketing-led” decision, said Peter Naylor, Hulu’s svp of ad sales. But brands run the risk of consumers growing tired of them. Brands have to be smart and self-aware enough to know if it might work for them.
How Google is thinking about user privacy
How executives can push for inclusion and diversity
Though some may feel that big actions make the biggest differences, people seeking greater diversity and more inclusion in their own workplaces can make change through micro actions. “I sometimes think there’s frustration of ‘why can’t I do anything about it?’” said Linda Boff, CMO of GE. “Everyone can do something about it. Everyone can insist on slates when we’re interviewing that are 50% female. I try constantly and bring it to the individual level.”
Ad-tech ambiguity is scaring off investors
Untangling the programmatic supply chain
Finding the right talent for in-house programmatic teams
Inside TAG’s ad fraud battle
How to build a profitable media empire from the ashes of your former site
Neil Vogel, CEO of Dotdash, has a few simple lessons he learned in turning around About.com—and it all centers around building a site that isn’t cluttered with ads and one that users want to actually use. Vogel also touched upon writing out content that’s helpful for people—and not centered around writing what everyone else is posting about, whether it’s TV show recaps or pop culture related.
How EA brought some services in-house
Why musicians aren’t short-term capitalists
If you’ve ever gone to Ticketmaster to try to score seats for a big rock concert, odds are you came away not ticketed, but ticked off. Shows sell out almost immediately, and many fans end up paying steep markups on the online resale market. Ticketmaster president Jared Smith is sympathetic but, speaking at NexTech, was also eager to explain why you shouldn’t blame his company. Ticket sales, he said, represent “a complicated value chain,” and resale by ticket brokers is a legal part of that chain. “You have a lot of acts saying, ‘I don’t want my fans to pay over $100,’ but the market dictates it’s worth $500,” Smith said. Musicals artists, he added, “are not short-term capitalists.”