The future is here

Blog posted by Guy Phillipson
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Guy Phillipson, CEO of the IAB UK, shares his thoughts on the year ahead in digital and outlines a few of our key initiatives here at the IAB.

As the year begins, one can’t help but gaze into the crystal ball and try to predict the future. In terms of the digital advertising industry, however, that task may be somewhat easier. For our industry, the future is already here and it’s an exciting one indeed.

More mobile than ever – a mobile majority, in fact
With more people than ever before people using devices like smart phones and tablets, 2013 will likely be the first year that the majority of UK consumers spend the bulk of their time accessing the Internet through handheld and portable devices versus PCs. The adoption of mobile and tablet technology is transforming society much faster than anyone could have predicted.

Gone are the days when only a rare few accessed the Internet from a handheld device. Grandparents take photos of their grandchildren and post them on Facebook; children create artwork and even take piano lessons(!); people instantly hail black cabs. All with their phones and tablets. Here at the IAB, our Mobile Engage conference in May, “The Mobile Majority,” will explore this ground-breaking democratisation of the digital revolution.

Data, data, & more data
Of course, the proliferation of devices and platforms and exponentially increasing interactions and transactions result in an enormous amount of information. Indeed, distinguishing valuable information from the “noise” has become an industry in its own right. Given a persistently challenging economic environment, the focus on measurement has become more intense. It’s definitely not hard to predict that gleaning meaning from data will continue to be a huge focus for our industry.

Continuing our mission to deliver industry benchmarks and best practice, the IAB will publish its fifteenth IAB / PwC Adspend study and collaborate with comScore on UKOM (UK Online Measurement), the industry benchmark for cross-platform audience measurement. We’ll also be exploring new measurement frameworks. This month, we’ll share the results of the first ever Performance Marketing Study, measuring the contribution of this unsung channel to the UK economy. Later this year, we’ll also be exploring measurement methodology around the effectiveness of social media—an essential channel for understanding and reaching consumers.

The new and the never seen before…
Even if you’re in the numbers game, new platforms, devices and consumer behaviour make progressive, creative approaches more essential than ever before. Old solutions won’t fit our new world, where novelty, innovation and imagination will carry the day.

This year, with the 10th anniversary of the IAB’s Creative Showcase awards, we’ll be celebrating a decade of excellence in digital creativity. When you hear about what goes into the winning Creative Showcase campaigns, it’s clear that to succeed, everyone working on the idea—from copywriter to art director to digital strategist to account person to brand manager— has agreed to take a risk and run with it. You can also expect to see the unexpected at our flagship Engage conference in October, where digital thought leadership will again be shared and celebrated.     

The future = now
Einstein once noted, “I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.” To some extent, in today’s rapidly changing digital landscape, this is a very apt observation. The future is already here for those insightful enough to see it and those creative enough to embrace it.

One prediction I can make with absolute certainty is that the IAB will help make our extraordinarily powerful and exciting medium even more so in 2013. Stay tuned!



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