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Mar 4th 2013

What to Watch For at SXSW Interactive 2013

For me, this year seems to be a transitional year for SXSW® Interactive Festival. Last year, I visited and saw that SXSW 2012 had reached a sort of stasis (the four days of rain really didn't help). Still, through the noise, there were a couple of really good SXSW brand activations that turned out to be enhancive to the overall experience.

Rising costs in conference-related expenses, travel, availability of accommodations (I had to book my downtown hotel last October) and its tendency to overwhelm, have caused a lot of people to skip this year in favor of SXSW's new V2V conference, which makes its debut later this year.

But much like every conference, the value of benefit in SXSW is what you make of it and I look at this year as an opportunity for new folks to make an impact – both on stage and off. (First timers – check out a great guide here.)

I'll be heading to the festival for the third time this year, and I'm looking forward to seeing what stands out, both in terms of key speakers and products, but also in brand activations. I will be livetweeting panels from my personal Twitter account and also @aoladvertising for up-to-the-minute highlights, so stay tuned for the latest starting Friday morning. AOL and our brands will also be offering up some great events and speakers to make your SXSW experience that much more fulfilling, and I've included those here as well.

Here's a look at what I recommend (interactive badge required unless otherwise noted.)


Pick a date: March 8th | March 9th | March 10th | March 11th

Friday, March 8th


Saturday, March 9th


Sunday, March 10th

  • 10:00am at Icenhauer's (83 Rainey Street, map) ALTO Brunch - Start your day off right with a stop at our Bloody Mary bar where you can checkout AOL's latest email product, Alto. (No badge required; RSVP here)
  • 11:00am at Cheers Shot Bar (416 East 6th Street, map) – Visit the Starterhouse Hosted by Mapquest - Stop by for product demos, live music, networking and good grub and more, open until 7pm. (No badge required; RSVP here)
  • 11:00am at the Hilton Austin - Airbnb's Brian Chesky Talks with Fortune - Airbnb's CEO Brian Chesky talks with Fortune Magazine Jessi Hempel about the past, present and future of his brand
  • 11:00am at Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin – TechCrunch's John Biggs joins folks from Givit, WeVideo and Magisto, as they talk about The Social Video Race
  • 11:00am at the Hyatt Regency Austin- Is Women's Media Too Girly? Jezebel's founder Anna Holmes, Deborah Schoeneman, Margaret Johnson and Rebecca Fernandez talk how media (websites, TV, books) created by women is often accused of being too girly
  • 11:00am at Courtyard by Marriott – HuffPost's Lisa Belkin and PBS's Sara DeWitt discuss How to Keep Working Parents In & Innovating
  • 3:30pm at the Hyatt Regency Austin - Toddlers & Technology - Huffington Post Executive Lifestyle Editor Lori Leibovich anchors a panel discussing the link between today's toddlers and the technology they have access to
  • 3:30pm at the AT&T Conference Center - The Community Manager: Enter the C-Suite - HuffPost Live Community Manager Tim McDonald joins other leading community managers in this workshop designed to help you learn about Community Management today)
  • 5:00pm at the Omni Downtown – NASA UX designers share what UX design in space is like with @NASA: The User Experience of a Space Station
  • 5:00pm at Long Center - Style Goes Viral: The Future of Fashion explores the future of fashion and social media and features Anne Fulenwider, Editor in Chief of Marie Claire, Nina Garcia, Creative Director at Marie Claire and Randi Zuckerberg
  • 5:00PM at the Sheraton Austin – Join leaders from Simply Measured and Klout as they discuss Social Media Was Fun. Has Measurement Killed It?

Monday, March 11th


I'm excited to help bring SXSW to you – so stay tuned! And if you're heading down and would like to meet up, just send me a tweet at @matthewknell.

Feb 26th 2013

AOL and Vivaki Announce Video Research Findings

As you might remember at Advertising Week 2011, AOL announced a new collaborative partnership with agency holding company VivaKi to revolutionize the future generation of video advertising, creating a personalized interactive video experience that consumers will want to share with their networks.

Through the partnership, we tapped into VivaKi's online video ad research effort called The Pool and worked with the company to innovate and identify top-performing ad models that provide more personalization and social components in the online video user experience.

Today we are excited to announce the results of the research. The year-and-a-half project to research and develop new online video ad units has identified three new formats that we hope to become industry standards to improve the experience for users and advertisers alike. With consumers spending more time watching content online, and a desire from marketers for more premium ad models we look forward to leading the charge on this new initiative.

To learn more about this research read this article from MediaPost.

Feb 5th 2013

AOL's Advertising.com Group Becomes AOL Networks

Today I'm proud to announce to that the Advertising.com Group has officially been renamed AOL Networks. This new brand better aligns with AOL, and should help all of our stakeholders to better understand the rich stack of assets and robust technology we bring together nearly 20,000 publishers and 4,000 advertisers. We believe this new name clearly represents the recognized cross-screen offerings across premium, programmatic and performance advertising.

Since our formation in April 2011, our mission has always been to simplify digital advertising at scale. AOL Networks will continue to offer global advertising solutions that help increase yield through a rich and broad set of platforms, formats, and technologies. We have heard from many clients that there are an increasing number of systems and partners they need to do business with to accomplish their online marketing objectives. AOL is synonymous with premium. And in the network space, there is a real need for premium experiences. With our established leadership in video, performance and now programmatic, plus AOL's foothold in premium advertising, we are better positioned than ever to define and own a transcending solution.

AOL Networks enables the world's top marketers and media brands to reach consumers across desktop, mobile, tablet and connected TVs with impact through premium experiences, programmatic buying and performance driven campaigns. It is the global partner of choice for leading publishers, advertisers and agencies seeking to maximize the value of their online brands.

The brands within AOL Networks will continue to operate under their existing names, including:


Additionally, BuySight, the recently acquired dynamic creative optimization firm, will be packaged into the Advertising.com product suite.

The new gateway, www.aolnetworks.com, launches today, providing publishers and marketers with information on, and access to, all of the offerings in the AOL Networks premium advertising suite.

*Source: comScore December 2012
**Source: comScore December 2012

Oct 3rd 2012

AOL And BBDO Dial it Up on Mobile

AOL recently teamed up with BBDO on a mobile research study, to discover not just what people are doing with their smartphones, but to really understand the reasons why people do what they do on smartphones. We found that 68% of consumer mobile phone use actually occurs in the home, something that may come as a surprise to most. In fact, several insights were uncovered that run counter to the traditional view of how smartphones are used, which shows that there is an untapped value for brands who advertise on mobile devices.

The study, conducted by research firm InsightsNow, took a unique three-phase approach that looked at consumer usage of mobile from a qualitative, quantitative and ethnographic perspective. The study involved smartphone users completing a seven-day diary, making video recordings throughout the day as they used their phones, in-depth interviews, and a survey conducted among 1,000 smartphone users from June to August, 2012.

Arbitron Mobile Trends Panels™ service was then used to track a mobile panel for 30 days to track user behavior and clickstreams in the US, across mobile web, apps and other mobile services. This resulted in a database of other 3,000 mobile interactions or moments which were then segmented according to the needs and motivations of the participants. All of these research methods made it possible to uncover which user needs are fulfilled by a wide variety of mobile interactions.

KEY FINDINGS

Mobile isn't always on the go. In fact, well over half of all mobile interactions measured in the research occur in the home, challenging conventional wisdom.

People use mobile devices for seven main reasons:

  • To Accomplish - managing activities and lifestyle to gain a sense of accomplishment
  • To socialize - active interaction with other people
  • To prepare - active planning in order to be prepared for upcoming activities
  • For Me Time - seeking relaxation and entertainment in order to indulge oneself or pass the time
  • To Discover - seeking news and information
  • To Shop - focusing on finding a product or service
  • To Express Oneself -participating in passions and interests
Me Time is by far the biggest "Mobile Motivation" and accounts for almost half (46%) of all smartphone app and website motivation, averaging 864 minutes per month per user, per Arbitron Mobile.

Mobile advertising performs poorly in Me Time because the vast majority of messages are not relevant to the use at that time, are easy to ignore, or get in the way.

Based on these findings, AOL and BBDO have identified the following recommended actions to help marketers, agencies and brands improve their executions on smartphones:

  • Think about mobile as part of something bigger. Move beyond the conventional surface view of mobile behaviors to align your messaging with the underlying motivators that propel mobile interactions.
  • Focus on "Me Time." Think about ways you can redirect mobile communications to help users indulge and enjoy themselves.
  • Recognize there are other mobile motivations. Targeting communications to capitalize on these motivators can increase engagement.

The research will be revealed today, October 3, at the Mobile Marketing Association's "Smarter Mobile Marketing" Conference which is part of Advertising Week 2012 in New York City.

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