25 tips, tricks, stats, quotes and predictions from Ad Age’s Digital Conference

The 2014 Ad Age Digital Conference in NYC. What an eye-opener!

The 2014 Ad Age Digital Conference in NYC. What an eye-opener!

OK, I’m about to break protocol here (not the first time). Last week, I started a series on three powerful and yet under utilized digital marketing techniques. Today, I was going to do part 2 of that series, HOWEVER, in the interim, I attended Ad Age’s Digital Conference in NYC. It was two days of awesomeness and about a terabyte of info for my weary noggin. A lot of colleagues, friends and readers asked me to share. So… we’ll continue with our regularly scheduled “part 2” programming next week.

If the chance comes up, I always encourage people to go to a seminar or workshop. I know, none of us have time, there’s the budget, blah, blah. But the thing is, stepping out of the cave of your normal grind and into the sunlight of your larger industry has many positive effects…

  • It gives your muse something else to chew on, and your creativity will benefit as a result. My head was popping with ideas for clients and agency alike.
  • You meet other people who do what you do, which is a great way to network, brainstorm, compare notes, whine, or whatever. They understand!
  • You see the bigger picture, which helps you map for the future.

It’s worth it.

Here are some noteworthy items from the Ad Age Digital Conference I attended in NYC last week. I’ve organized them by category for your overwhelmed, I’m-so-behind convenience. (I know the feeling.)


Branding matters more than ever. Some thought digital would mass murder branding, but in fact, branding has been resurrected by our techno-driven world.

The most successful brands today take stands. Fear is being asked to leave the room. Brands are taking risks and loving it. Examples: The Cheerios interracial couple or the Honey Maid’s redefinition of family. These brands are willing to win either adoration or contempt. That’s truly fascinating to me.

Branding has evolved. We used to push messages. No good. It’s the first time in history people can have control over the type and amount of messaging they receive. Strive to connect, be compelling, transparent and have a clear mission.

It’s not only about branding. Our hyper-connected world demands damn good products and customer service, too—lest you suffer the wrath of one-star reviews, angry posts, and viral videos of those you’ve wronged.

Brand culture is changing, too. It used to be solely about producing the perfect ad or spot. But because of the speed of digital marketing and the need for agility, big brands are shooting for 80% right. Mistakes are more accepted in messaging—a tradeoff of control for influence.


  • 45% of the web’s population is active in social issues.
  • 47% of people say it’s important to connect with a brand’s values.
  • There are more smart phones on the planet today than toilets.
  • In 2007, digital ad spend was 8% of budgets. Today, it’s 24%.
  • Geotargeting is half of all mobile spending. By 2017, it will reach $10.8 billion.
  • People watch nearly 60 hours of TV a week (that’s not a typo).


Get in on “attention moments.” When measuring digital success, look at levels of interest, consumption and sharing.

If content is good, it will be found. Don’t just churn out stuff for volume sake. Put out good stuff. SEO is important, but if your content is truly king, you will soon have loyal subjects.

Focus group demise. Because of the instant feedback of digital, big brands are doing less and less focus group research. Thank goodness. I think people make up most of their answers in those things anyway.

CMO roles are changing and growing. More than half have increased responsibility for revenue growth; 25% have increased oversight of customer service. And more are stepping into CEO roles than ever.


Want to know a person? Look at his/her phone’s home screen. The apps he/she chooses, and their order, reveal a lot.

A growing trend in mobile—Image-based stories that a reader taps through. The Tapestry app does this particularly well.

People are hooked. Seriously. Many people check their phones up to 150 times a day. Their devices are never more than three feet away.

There will be a rise in text-based apps—and from other countries around the world. But these types of apps will be harder or impossible for marketers to break into.


“Content curation is a craft, distribution is a science.”

“Design makes solutions. Art makes questions.”

“We are all battling for the commodity of attention.”


  1. Instagram will become the most powerful social media platform in the world.
  2. Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare will decline in value.
  3. By the end of 2015, Amazon or Apple will be the first $1 trillion market cap company.


– Andy Badalamenti is the creative director for CI-Group

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  • http://www.biocentro.cl/

    Genuinely helpful points that you have mentioned, thanks for setting up.

    10 December, 2016 at 9:44 pm
  • Genuinely alluring points that you have mentioned, thanks a lot for adding.

    16 December, 2016 at 6:24 pm

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