Ad Tech Gets the Jump on 2017 at CES

  • by Mack McKelvey
  • Feb 13, 2017

While many industries returned to their desks during the first full week of January 2017, the tech industry converged on Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES). This year, amid exciting revelations around autonomous cars, gaming systems, robots, artificial intelligence, computers, IoT, and even smart breast pumps; the advertising ecosystem was front and center with the very brands promoting and observing the latest and greatest in technology.

The sheer magnitude of CES is hard to understand for those who haven’t attended, so consider this. Last year, CES had nearly 178,000 representatives from 81% of the countries around the globe, and nearly one-third of the attendees were senior executives. Additionally, more than 7500 members of the media registered to cover the hardware and software launched at the show, and the people behind the innovations.

Given its long-standing track record of resilience and creativity, the ad industry seems poised to embrace a renewed focus on data and innovation, and continue to propel forward this year. Fortunately, a few senior agency and ad tech attendees provided their direct feedback on their biggest takeaways and what they believe will be top of mind for advertisers in 2017.

When asked what the largest takeaway was from CES for senior advertisers and marketers, Marcus Startzel, Senior Vice President, AppNexus responded, “Advertisers are looking for performance, transparency, and the ability to leverage and maintain the integrity of their data. It’s hard to do this inside a walled garden or through a black box.” He continued, “We’re seeing a lot of demand for powerful, third-party technology that will help marketers engage consumers in a meaningful and personalized way. Nobody wants to see a world in which Facebook and Google are the only two vehicles for consumer engagement. There is a vast, open internet where hundreds of millions of people interact daily with premium publishers, and it’s critical that we help marketers reach them with relevant and engaging advertising content.”

Seasoned agency veteran, Sean Finnegan, Partner, Chameleon Collective, said that his biggest takeaway was, “the immense and immediate progress of AI and its implications to how we operate as businesses, as a society and as people. The pace of adoption of machine learning accelerates the need for humans to interpret and activate on AI output and elevate away from jobs that technology can manage.”

Jennifer Lum, Chief Strategy Officer, Adelphic, noted that, “A whole new world of marketing and advertising opportunities are rapidly evolving outside of traditional display. Immediate opportunities include audio and voice-based services, messaging/chatbots, and live-video.” Lum continued, “CES is an exciting playground for creative thinkers and innovators. CES is the only event where you can play with all of the newest and coolest consumer electronics and learn about how leaders in media, marketing and advertising are thinking about new customer experiences.”

Finnegan expanded on that notion stating, “Beyond the top networking, I believe it is important for brands and agencies to attend CES to experience the future and be a few steps ahead of the consumer in order to plan and create messaging consistent with the emerging platforms and delivery vehicles.”

Lum predicts, “An increased and ongoing focus on data was a key theme for ad tech players at CES. This should drive optimism for the industry in 2017 as the availability of actionable and scalable data will fuel better personalization and performance for all players across the ecosystem.”

An increased focus on quality data certainly seemed to be a theme for 2017. Startzel believes that, “As third-party technology providers grow more sophisticated in their use of data science and machine learning, there is a real opportunity to move beyond the opaque, black-box advertising solutions offered by Facebook and Google.”

From an ad tech standpoint, Finnegan states that he is encouraged by “brand adoption of marketing technologies, which will ideally enable a smarter, faster, more efficient and diverse marketplace with which to deliver innovative messaging to consumers.”

Technology convergence across mobile and digital hardware, software and data is pointing to a future where advertisers and marketers must become well-versed in the technology world. Understanding the trends, challenges and opportunities is an imperative and it seems like the most savvy are trying to get a jump on tech each year at CES.

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

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