What I Took Away From Advertising Week 2023

Spoiler: Performance, Performance, Performance (and some promotional swag)

What I Took Away From Advertising Week 2023

4 Min Read

This week, I took a trip to New York to revel in my Employee of the Month status attend Advertising Week. As MNTN’s Chief Performance Officer, you know I love to see good performance, and these panelists didn’t disappoint. If you weren’t able to check out the sessions, here’s my TL;DA (too long, didn’t attend)!

Performance: How CTV’s Technology Drives It

Of course, the highlight of Advertising Week was my favorite performance channel: Connected TV. Many panels explored CTV’s backend technology, from its programmatic journey and activation strategies to rethinking the living room and the trends in TV viewership

Panels like “CTV, Where Are We on the Programmatic Journey?” and “While You Were Streaming” unpacked the shifting landscape of CTV. Over the past year, AVOD and Free Ad-Supported TV (FAST) growth has been an unavoidable topic. Netflix, the famously ad-free channel, announced its ad-supported tier, as did others, like Disney+ and Amazon. And with multiple Hollywood strikes stalling the entertainment world this year, FAST channels were gaining the recognition they deserve as viewers expanded their search for content to watch. So what does this mean for advertisers? More advertising inventory, of course — which means more (you guessed it) performance.

I was happy to see my industry colleagues highlighting CTV’s strength as a performance marketing channel; you’d be surprised how often I find myself reminding people that TV isn’t just for brand awareness! (Case in point: the “CTV and Retail Media” panel, which highlighted how retail advertisers have benefited not just from the premium nature of TV, but from CTV’s scale and the precision especially.) The panelists at “Maximizing Value and Effectiveness of CTV Through Activation Strategies” outlined the strength of CTV and how to make the most of it. They discussed how CTV allows advertisers to reach their target audience, easily optimize throughout their flight, and use the extensive amounts of data CTV provides to align with their goals for … better performance. 

These strengths are important for marketers to be aware of, as panelists (including my boss, MNTN CEO Mark Douglas) at the “Empty Rooms Can’t Buy Sh*t: The Advertising Battle to Re-Take the Living Room” event reminded attendees. While TV has made drastic moves from linear TV to CTV over the past few years, the living room is still the central gathering place of the home. Advertisers would be remiss to not move some of their traditional TV budget to CTV, to capture the valuable attention of the biggest screen. Despite the fragmentation this shift has brought to the industry, and the multiple offerings available on CTV, the audience-first approach of a CTV performance marketing strategy means advertisers can reach their target, no matter where they’re spending their TV-watching time. (I personally love zipping through the FAST channels to find my favorite superhero movies.)

Performance: Telling a Story That Converts

While I may love performance, that doesn’t mean I don’t recognize the power of a good story. Luckily, the storytellers were out weaving their tales at Advertising Week. At the panel “CTV: Rise of the Performance Storyteller,” panelists highlighted that a media plan is only as good as the story it delivers. Because who wants to watch a boring ad? I sure don’t. 

One story that never gets old? Zombies! Perhaps not what you think of when you think of Advertising Week, but one of my favorite MNTN activations, #WalkingDeadvertising, was the focus of its own panel. The intersection of cultural moments and advertising technology made for an engaging campaign for five different companies and highlighted the power of capitalizing on stories that people care about, rather than relying on boring, technical ads to convert. 

Performance: On and Off the Screens

It wasn’t just the zombies that took over Advertising Week. The robots were also a top story. AI was front and center, but since they’re still figuring out how to perform efficiently, I didn’t spend much time there. I’ll defer to our content team about AI, some of which you can read about here and here

I may have been passed over to speak on the “Brand Mascots Get Social” panel, but I still went to support my peers (though I think of myself as more of a brand *personality*). Panelists discussed the rise of brand mascots on social. The importance of these mascots’ presence on social media cannot be understated. More and more, brands are leaning into these key figures to create stronger brand affinity across their social platforms. (What do you think? Is this working?? Please say yes.)

I also personally enjoyed the Self-Promo at Work panel, since I believe in the power of performance both on and off the TV screen. I may have been named Employee of the Month, but I’m always thinking of ways to get myself out there.

I left Advertising Week motivated to up my performance game even more in the weeks and months ahead. As the streaming environment continues to evolve, I already have a list of projects I can’t wait to enact. Until next year!