Mobile is a hot topic (again) as Advertising Week Europe comes to town

Eileen Naughton
It’s no surprise that mobile will dominate much of the discussion at Advertising Week Europe (Source: Getty)

"This will be the year of mobile” has been a multi-year meme in the ad industry, but there’s some logic to it. Since the first iPhone captured consumers’ imaginations in 2007, each subsequent year has truly been the year of mobile, with app developers inventing new uses for these palm-sized computers, marketers observing how these devices are used, and advertisers understanding where mobile fits into the advertising media mix.

Mobile is not just a device. It’s a behaviour. As such, it’s no surprise that mobile will dominate much of the discussion in London this week at Advertising Week Europe (AWE), with 21 sessions dedicated to the topic. Today marks the first of four days of provocative seminars, debates and presentations as adland descends en masse on Shaftesbury Avenue’s Picturehouse Central. Alongside Google’s own sessions, business and tech leaders like WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell and MP Ed Vaizey will take to the stage, making AWE a must-attend event for marketing and advertising practitioners.

Today at AWE, I’ll be discussing how mobile is changing the fashion industry. Mobile, and “digital” in a broader sense, has had a profound effect not just on the retail sector but many others, too. Take broadcast media. Traditional, linear TV is being disrupted by streaming services, video-on-demand, and platforms like YouTube, Google Play and Apple’s iTunes. Twitter has just won the rights to stream US National Football League games, for example.

Fewer and fewer people watch television at a time dictated by broadcast schedules. The Internet Advertising Bureau’s Real Living study measured the impact of internet-connected devices on traditional TV watching habits, with just 50 per cent of UK online adults now saying the television is the focal point of their living rooms.

Research unveiled today by Dentsu-Aegis’s Data2Decisions, a marketing effectiveness consultancy, shows online video can deliver 50 per cent higher return on investment than TV advertising. It also suggests that 5 to 25 per cent of total audio-video ad budgets should be invested in YouTube for an optimal media allocation. More about this in The (Entertainment) Revolution will not be Televised, taking place at AWE on Wednesday.

Some debates will get people hot under the collar, like digital ad blocking and how the ad industry addresses this issue. This morning, AdBlock Plus will go head-to-head with The Guardian, Unilever and MediaCom, in what is sure to be a passionate discussion.

Throughout the week, the industry will gather to discuss the fantastic opportunities before us, and how we can face challenges head-on. Given the sophistication of advertising in the UK, it is entirely appropriate that London is hosting this annual industry event.

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