Digital brains share ideas in SA

Johannesburg – The changing advertising dynamics as well as an increasing speed in technological advancements are massive but exciting challenges for online media and advertising companies, delegates heard at the IAB SA Digital Summit in Johannesburg on Thursday.

“We’re all wrestling with the same thing,” said David Doty, executive vice president of IAB US.

IAB SA is a member-driven organisation that promotes digital growth. An independent, voluntary, non-profit association with 200 members, it focusses on growing and sustaining a vibrant and profitable digital industry within South Africa.

The summit will be followed by an awards ceremony later on Thursday, which will honour the leading online companies in the country.

Read: IAB Bookmarks Awards finalists announced

The issues facing the industry include increasing engagement as all as giving the consumers a better experience, said Doty. “[Especially, as consumers] transform across different devices and from a feature phone to a smart phone … and in their journey in digital.”

Making mobile advertising more creative

Doty said 2015 should be about making mobile advertising more creative and more engaging.

“There is more consumption of digital in mobile than any other device in the US,” he said. “And yet the advertising continues to remain a direct response.

“What we need to be able to do is build more engaging experiences in advertising to match what people are doing in digital so that their advertising experience is equal to their content experience.”

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Focus for online marketing

David Sable, Global CEO of Y&R in New York, told Fin24 that in 2015, social marketers should be focussing on how their online marketing impacts the real world.

“If they are completely mono-web,… I think they have a problem,” he said.

“I love people who write about the death of advertising,” he said, explaining that Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook all have senior advertising directors who are monetising their product.

“The best advertising is educational, informative and entertaining,” he said. “That’s what people want.”

Changing lives 140 characters at a time

“The constraint that we have on Twitter as a platform is the 140 characters of text,” said Ali Jafari, the vice president of direct sales for Twitter in Europe.

“At the end of the day, it’s a communication platform.”

“I told stories [at the summit] around how in some cases, people have used physical constraints, combined with the constraints of Twitter to tell really interesting stories to reach their audience [and] make a difference in the world,” he said.

“The fact that Twitter is live, it’s public and it’s inheritably conversational allows you to communicate in a very unique and effective way.”

A new content experience

Ido Yerushalmi, senior director of business development of EEMEA for Outbrain, explained how his platform is bringing added value to sites like News24 and Fin24.

The platform is unique in that it offers content to other sites at the bottom of News24 content, taking readers away from the site.

“What we see is that once people understand that they get all their interesting content is in one place – in this case News24 – they could just visit News24 and trust Outbrain that if there is anything interesting specifically for them, it will appear in recommendations at the bottom of the article.”

The concept is a new way for marketers to get direct engagement from online users.

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Shazam wants to enter your life

Eyabo Macauley, the head of EMEA advertising at Shazam, told Fin24 that how Shazam is building its commercial side to bring brands and consumers a unique way of engaging with each other.

Shazam is an app that can listen to sounds, identify it and offer the product on iTunes or send the consumer to a particular site.

It “connects the dots between all the various mediums and join it together to be one cohesive experience for the brand, rather than the million different messages that consumers have been bombarded with”, she said.

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Get ready to leave planet Earth

Matthew Bull of New York-based ad agency Bull-White House told Fin24 that the world is changing faster than we can imagine and advertisers need to start getting ahead of the curve instead of lagging behind.

“Technology shapes society,” he said. “It’s such an exciting time from a technological point of view – there is so much stuff going on.”

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Traditional media’s role for a social media world

International game changers and online marketing gurus kept a captive audience at the IAB SA Digital Summit in Johannesburg on Thursday, where experts from companies like Twitter, BBC and Shazam tackled the issues facing the industry.

Zeinab Badawi, presenter BBC’s World News Today, told Fin24 that social media was an important tool for news organisations, but that traditional media’s role was crucial in verifying fact from fiction.

“I think that social media is absolutely vital in disseminating freedoms and bringing in a variety of different opinions to the fore,” she said.

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Delegates at the awards ceremony will be able to use EventCloud, which gives info on the judges and short listed candidates – with links to their work.

* News24 is an event partner at the IAB Digital Summit.

Photos from the event: