Ad:Tech NY Liveblogging

November 4, 2009

Click the link below to go to my liveblogging page for ad:tech NYC 2009. Complete posts will follow after the conference.

Ad Tech NY


The First Rule of Advertising Week:  Do not talk about Advertising Week

Last week in New York City, thousands of people in the advertising community were treated to 116 industry events and socials over 5 days thanks to the great staff and sponsors at Advertising Week.  The caliber of speakers and quality of discussions were higher than most conferences charging over $1000, yet admittance to the vast majority of last week’s events were free after a one-time charge of just $49.  It was a benchmark conference in almost all areas from topics, format and logistics to speakers, moderators, and attendees.  All areas, that is, except one: interactive advertising.

In almost every seminar the power of interactive advertising was discussed.  Budgets are quickly flowing out of traditional forms of advertising like television, print and out-of-home and into online initiatives.  Top CMO’s and agency execs shared how technology has transformed advertising, how today’s marketers can leverage social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, and how we can all benefit from this shift away from a 1-way advertising push toward a 2-way dialogue with our audiences.

Oddly, each of these seminars started with both a verbal and signed warning that the taking of photographs and use of recording equipment were “strictly prohibited”.  The discussions happened inside rooms with no accessible WIFI signal to allow for liveblogging and there were few outlets and no charging stations for laptops and smartphones.

The result?  A strange silence on the web for what should have been one of the most discussed events of the year.  Advertising Week’s rules severely limited the audience’s ability to share content online, and the staff’s lack of participation on the 5 social platforms they prominently linked to from their homepage didn’t help.

  • On Twitter we saw just 9 tweets from staff during the entire week.  No Twitpics or Flip Videos were posted.  Without a clearly advertised hashtag enabling one searchable discussion, attendees were randomly bouncing between #adwk, #adweek, and #advertisingweek.  There were video screens throughout the building but none of them showed a live tweetstream of the attendees’ enthusiastic posts.
  • On their official Facebook Page Ad Week offered just one update.  Fans were almost as quiet with just 8 wall posts and no responses, comments or likes.  Total photos and videos posted last week:  0.
  • On YouTube:  nothing except a 3-week old video advertising one of the events.
  • On LinkedIn:  nothing.
  • On their official blog:  3 posts, no share tools, no comments.

Who’s doing it right?  Look to industry leaders like Canada’s Mesh Web Conference, the SXSW Festival and, not surprisingly, the Web 2.0 Summit.  Look to Martha Stewart’s upcoming experimental “TECH” show where every studio audience member is asked to bring a laptop, iPhone or Blackberry.  And look to every brand or agency exec who spoke on stage at last week’s exceptional conference, espousing the benefits of sharing and encouraging online dialogue.

Nothing can take away from the quality and success of Advertising Week for those who were able to attend.  My personal highlights were Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s informative case studies, R/GA CEO Bob Greenberg’s insight into the way forward, and Contagious Magazine Deputy Editor Jess Greenwood’s wild ride through successful online campaigns.  I was one of hundreds who enjoyed the hard work put forth by the Ad Week staff and contributions from the exceptional speakers.  Here’s hoping next year, thanks to the effective usage of interactive media, exponentially more people will be able to experience it as well.

To measure interactivity in Twitter, I counted @’s in tweetstreams. The @ symbol means that message is a retweet, a public reply, or a reference to somebody else on Twitter for all to see. Any message (tweet) with an @ symbol in it is interactive; anything without it is flat and 1-way. By scanning 1,500 tweets on the public timeline across a weeknight, weekend and weekday we can understand how the general public is using Twitter.

The results? For every 5 tweets, only 2 contained an @ symbol. That’s means we’re interacting with others in just 40% of our messages. The other 60% of the tweets are 1-way blasts sent into the Twittersphere.

Metrics on hashtags and links will be discussed in future posts.

the entire script from Goodfellas expressed as a tag cloud

there really is no point to this.

On the heels of his impressive web marketing campaign and following a 4-week quiet period in web communications, Barack Obama has released his presidential transition website: – The Office of the President-Elect.

It’s buggy but that hasn’t stopped over 3,000 people from responding to the Transition Team’s first question:  “How is the current economic crisis affecting you?”  As expected, the site goes beyond a simple “tell us what you think” blog.  Obama is also inviting every American – and Canadian, oddly – to take our Seat At The Table where we’ll have access to Transition Team documents and community discussions.

Missed Obama’s televised weekend address where he discussed key parts of his economic recovery plan and stimulus package?  You’ll find it on this site, complete with the full transcript.  Ready to organize a community discussion on Health Care reform?  The Obama machine has begun recruiting.  Want the government org chart?  This site will link you there.

After gathering 13 million email addresses, 4.4 million Facebook and MySpace friends, and 1M mobile subscribers, the Obama team has an unprecedented invitation for ongoing 1-to-1 dialogue with the public.  Many of us have been asking what that would look like.  We’re about to find out.