Is the Online Ad Industry Too Obsessed With Technology?

From my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:

When two data collection companies you’ve barely heard of, Epsilon and Acxiom, are named by the trade magazine Advertising Age as the top ad agencies in the country, you know technology has arrived as the key driver of advertising innovation. But not everyone thinks that’s such a great thing for a business whose purpose, at some level, is still to elicit in human beings an emotional connection with brands.

The issue was explored in some depth at two panels at a recent Google online advertising event for advertisers, agencies, and publishers. The discussions, lively at times, shed some light on when technology is the answer and when it’s the problem for marketers as they try to reach consumers in new ways.

On the first panel, which looked at what’s needed for the rapidly emerging ad tech ecosystem to serve advertisers, agencies, publishers and ultimately consumers, were moderator Terry Kawaja, CEO of boutique investment bank Luma Partners; Omar Tawokol, CEO of ad data firm BlueKai; ex-agency exec Greg Stuart, global CEO of the Mobile Marketing Association; Kurt Unkel, president of the digital ad buying unit of Publicis Groupe’s VivaKi; and Shishir Mehrotra, VP of product management at Google’s YouTube. Here (paraphrased in some cases, with a few comments of my own in italics) is what they had to say:

Q: How do we get to $300 billion to $400 billion in display ad revenues? Is the fragmentation of media that media people worry about actually a way we might get there? …

Read the complete post at The New Persuaders.

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