Key Takeaways from the Festival of Media

Viewability, data, brand bots, client concerns, how to pitch better and “Quantomania” were the key topics of discussion at the third edition of the Festival of Media MENA. Here is a summary of all the key highlights from the conference. Until next year…

OMD named ‘Media Agency of the Year’

After collecting a total of 11 awards, including gold for Best Use of Traditional Media and Best Use of Technology, OMD UAE was named Agency of the Year.


If media is the heart, data is the heartbeat

“Through the integration of data and marketing, we’ve been able to move from a reach-based planning approach, towards a people-based planning approach instead”, says Waseem Afzal, who was speaking on a panel on data being the heartbeat of media. Accompanying the conversation were Yousef Tuqan Tuqan, Group VP of Brand Marketing & Loyalty at Jumeirah Group and Miles Pritchard, Global Head of Marketer and Agency Solutions at LOTAME.

“One of our key priorities is grooming our talent to ensure that we are continuining to become better equipped at managing data,” commented Afzal. “Data shouldn’t be an afterthought. Don’t bring the analytics people in after the campaign is done. They need to be involved in every stage of the campaign process.”

“If you don’t have data as a business, you’re dead,” added Tuqan. “Data will allow us to create more customized, anticipatory and personalized experiences.” However, there is still plenty of room for improvement in the region.

“While DMP adoption globally is 80%-85%, in MENA it is still just between 50%-55%,” says Pritchard. “The time for the first-mover advantage is today!”

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Beware of ‘Quantomania’

The challenges that brands face today are due to two transformative forces: the fragmentation of media, which makes it ‘harder to herd’, and the role of data in facilitating ‘easier to engage and personalize’ marketing tactics. That was the opening point of the session by Nick Graham, Global Media & Marketing Director for Huawei.

He then went on to coin one of the biggest buzzwords to emerge from the Festival – “Quantomania”: the belief that everything can be solved by measurement and calculation incorporated into algorithms. Graham quickly warned marketers about falling into the trap of becoming “Quantophiliacs”, stating that we are failing to look at the brand value gap as a result. There is an issue of over attribution in the digital market, and we’re losing sight of brand building and the value that we can get out of it.

“Not everything that can be counted, counts. Not everything that counts, can be counted.”


How to pitch better and keep clients happy

Three recent events have made media a key discussion point in the corporate boardrooms: 1 – the 2015 mediapalooza, where an estimated 3,000 reviews took place, leading to the redistribution of talent and global media value; 2 – #rebategate: the investigation into rebates in the USA that forced agencies and clients to re-evaluate media investments; and finally, 3 – the kerfuffle in the digital space where poor practices on YouTube were recently highlighted, leading to an industry wide conversation about brand safety.

Together, they have changed the way advertisers look at media. Brands want more transparency and agile agency structures today. However, a key point they must understand in this landscape is that pricing should be sustainable in order to not compromise quality. How can they make the pitch process easier? Having realistic deadlines and a comprehensive brief will allow agencies to respond better. The more time that is given and the clearer the brief is, the better the final product will be. From an agency side, they need to remember to address the brief based on the client’s needs, not around an internal agency structure. Also, agencies have finite resources and thus, need to prioritize pitches accordingly. Lastly, remember that chemistry is critical! We are a people business, where people buy people; advertisers would rather work with a partner that is 80% right that they like, rather than someone that is 100% right that they don’t like.

A sweet treat from OMD

FOM delegates got the chance to make their own candy at the OMD stand this year. Many companies had their own logo created and all guests received sweets in the shapes of social media icons, making the stand quite the attraction.

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Stats & Figures

Here are the numbers that wowed crowds this year:

  • 82% of active Twitter users engage with brands on the platform, which has undergone a 91% YOY growth in customer service inquiries
  • $30 billion of media business was up for pitch in 2015, comprising over 3,000 reviews
  • 8.5 million Saudis wake up and open Snapchat every morning; globally, there are 1 billion daily YouTube users and 10 billion connected items on the Internet of Things
  • MOAT: there are only 3 clicks in 10,000 ads; you have a higher chance of being hit by lightening than getting a click on your ad
  • 97% of marketers believe digital media owners should be measured by a third party
  • E-commerce panel: 70% of what we buy offline is influenced by what we see online

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