Ad Summit Kyiv 2018 Recap

May 16, 2018. Early morning. You’d gotten off the train, grabbed your breakfast and Uber yourself to the Cosmopolite Congress Hall to join the crowd of several hundred mobile marketers, advertising and affiliate network people, brands, press and media who drove, flew and walked to the AdSummit Kiev 2018. Coffee, coffee more coffee and slow, friendly chats are all over the place. You can definitely say that the night before some people managed to get more sleep than others. 
Ok, let’s see why all these people decided to cut off these two days from their biz schedule to be part of the event. The two-day event had it all – a series of data-packed keynotes, split between two halls and the endless number of chances to strike up a conversation in between. And if a cup of coffee couldn’t break the ice, a tasty cookie certainly did the job. Jokes aside, the beauty of an event with keynotes like this is that if you blank on what to start a conversation with your peers, a good keynote with an interesting topic always helps you out.  Speaking of keynotes, here are the ones we found great to highlight. 

Mobile experiences in the age of Assistance

This is the keynote that kicked in the action at the event and set up expectations for the whole event. Dominik Woeber of Google took the stage to talk about how to improve mobile user expectations and how Machine Learning tech fits into it. As well as tips on making sure your mobile website visitors won’t leave because of your website high loading time and more.
Dominik Woeber on stage talking about mobile experiences in the age of Assistance

Dominik began with telling his personal story and how it ultimately lead him to become a part of Google. Than he laid out several key points that Google has been working on hard today to help app developers, webmasters and people in general. Dominik shared from the stage Google’s recent haircut reservation audio demo that demonstrated how Google Assistant is capable to handle a phone reservation and how strikingly human-sounding it is now.
Another facet of the Dominik’s keynote was Google Photo video story composing feature that allows people to create a video out of their video footage, making sure it includes only specific people and places into the scene, adding a nice background music on top of that. As to whether Google see Virtual Reality as the way to explore for Google Photos future advances or Augmented Reality, the jury is still out, Dominik himself can’t say which one of these two he prefers. So it remains to be seen what tech Google will invest in more, although personally I’m on the side of AR, cause I see more value in it for a greater number of people.
Even though it’s a well-known fact that the majority of businesses worldwide have gone mobile, still it was a good reminder of the scale of this trend to hear from Dominic that 86% of mobile time people spend in apps and only 14% and devote their time with a smartphone or tablet to just 5 apps. Even more sobering data point is that 51% of mobile apps don’t get installs after being published on app stores. All those numbers lead to the importance of a mobile web and how Google can build the bridge between experience mobile users have with apps and mobile websites by introducing Progressive Web Apps.
According to multiple researches, people will leave a mobile website page if it loads more than 3 seconds on 4G network and 4 seconds on 3G one. Dominik shared with the audience the tools Google offers webmasters to make sure their websites loading speed is up to the current gold standard. Of course Google’s AMP (stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages) technology was mentioned from the stage as well, that via loading websites, mobile users are seeing in Google Search Result Pages, in background achieve their almost instant loading upon a mobile user click.
The next highlight it’s worth to mention was the Keenan Timko keynote. Keenan is a Senior Account Director at Twitter. He joined the company back in 2013 as a member of the MoPub team, ad server and programmatic exchange, that Twitter acquired that year.

State of Video Monetization For Non-Gaming Apps

MoPub acquisition by Twitter was one of the most successful steps taken by the company to bring itself into the mobile advertising arena and to be able to compete with Facebook, Google and a long list of other advertising networks. In this keynote Keenan spent three quarter of an hour talking about how video advertising is conquering the mobile space, why mobile ads can and should be part of a marketing strategy not only mobile games but other types of apps.
Keenan Timko on stage talking about how video ads are taking over mobile and more

If you open recent digital advertising forecasts, you’ll see that video will represent 78% of global mobile traffic by 2021. The MoPub own data is in line with this prediction, revealing that this year advertisers launched 43% live video campaigns, 300% increase in ad spend from top demand side partners Twitter is working via its MoPub devision. Year-over-year growth in video advertising net eCPMS is 20%. The reason video ads popularity goes up is that video as a medium is booming as well, Twitter see video clips being 6 times more shareable compared with photos and people do want to see video again.
A Rewarded video was another area that Keenan touched upon. Despite the popular believe that there is nothing really good to say about their effectiveness as an advertising tool, Twitter case studies demonstrate that rewarded videos can actually help brands to keep their apps on their users devices longer and use those apps more. Brands see a number of KPIs improvement thanks to video ads, in particular – better engagement and brand awareness.
Answering my question about what app categories he see as front runners when it comes to video ads and what should actually starting these more, Keenan said that as of today Social Networking apps is the category that uses video ads the most and several case studies he provided went to prove that trend. On the other hand, Utilities app owners should actually start paying more attention to video.
As it was widely reported, last year YouTube was hit by a number of big brands boycotting the platform after their video ads were shown next to extremists videos and the same happened this year again. On my question about what MoPub is doing in this regard to make sure the same never happens on Twitter, Keenan Timko said that MoPub partners with a company to pre-screen video ads before launching them to avoid extremist content appearance on Twitter. 
And finally a keynote delivered by John Murn, a intowow, a Taiwan-based company, marketing manager brought up the issue a digital ad viewability front and featured.

Removing the Obstacles to Buying In-App Video Inventory

John’s background is in copywriting area and you could tell by the way how he was laying out information, he knows how to strike a balance between being too low on substance and overwhelming his audience with data.
intowow has an extensive expertise for in-app brand video ads and so they know first hand what are the major marketing challenges brands have with digital advertising. As you can see on the slide that John was demonstrating, Viewability (it’s the biggest circle on the left) is what doesn’t allow brand marketers sleep well.
John Murn on stage talking about viewability measuring challenges

Of course, digital advertising has so many metrics that we know by their acronyms but when it comes to what specific one brands tend to focus on, viewability is number one. At the end of the day, if people don’t actually see ads – other metrics don’t really matter. Just a common sense.
John brought up the current definition for a video impression – a video ad is considered to be seen by users when the 50% of this ad was viewable for 2 seconds. So this is the goal that brands are aiming to make sure messages they convey in video ads are actually seen and perceived by people. The reality is – it is a big challenge. So many people are simply scrolling through their app content feed, in their Facebook account or any other app, which mimics Facebook feed concept, it’s obvious these people aren’t actually watching video ads. This is the problem brands need to address and further Timko brought up what solutions do exists, their pros and cons and what solution intowow has to bring up on the table. So to address viewability issue advertising companies develop an SDK to measure if their ads viewability met the industry standard or not. In a situation when each company has its own solution, the most obvious problem that they all are different and when mobile apps have many of them incorporated they become bigger in size and ultimately become too big for some mobile users consider to download.
Recently introduced by iAB OM SDK as a single standard has the best potential to solve viewability problem for brands.
John Murn on stage talking about iAB OM SDK

Now as with any standard that was introduced to the field, it’s up to companies to adopt it and so it’s yet to see if it will actually solve the problem of digital advertising viewability.

Final thoughts

In two days this year Ad Summit audience had a chance to gain knowledge about multiple aspects of mobile advertising from the leading companies such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, TUNE, Criteo, Pubmatic, intowow, INMOBI and more. Certainly it would be impossible to proceed all information presented, but thanks to the well designed website and easy to use Bizzabo mobile app, Ad Summit visitors could actually plan their visit, pick up keynotes to attend and get in touch with other visitors via direct messages to schedule a meeting. Now, when the event is over, it feels like the next year Ad Summit is far away but remember what you’ve seen and heard at the event is all in your head and if you put it at work, it will keep you busy till the next event easily.

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