At the annual Association of National Advertisers Media Conference in Orlando, marketers, agencies and tech companies alike came together to share their experiences, best practices, and roadblocks they currently face. Amongst the many purposes of the week, the overarching goal of 2018 is clearly the collective effort to move the industry forward and regain the trust lost by many advertisers.

During the conference, the tone was driven by two primary factors:

1. The innovation taking place in the industry.
2. The continued search for full transparency of media investments.

For topic number two, there were discussions around both the successes and struggles that advertisers have experienced in their efforts to attain full transparency in their media investments. Generally, there was a great feeling of optimism amongst attendees. Many conversations we had, as well as those across speakers and panelists, were centered on sharing experiences and the actions taken to counter the lack of visibility of the media supply chain. It was exciting to see the recommendations and groundwork that the ANA prescribed through their Transparency Initiative adopted and put into action. There may be a lot of work left to do, but many advertisers have started down the path towards transparency and it was evident at the ANA Media Conference this year.

Our Favorite Sessions of the Conference:

While the entire conference was filled with great speakers and presentations, three sessions stood out as our favorite:

• The Evolving Television and Video Landscape – New Research!
The 2018 conference kicked-off by stressing the importance of innovation and tech developments happening in the industry (such as the much-talked Addressable TV and Advanced TV) with a presentation by Jim Nail from Forrester Research. Perhaps the biggest talking point was the discussion around leveraging data to promote more efficient cross-channel activation. It was refreshing to see attendees encouraging each other to drive growth, media leadership, and innovation.

• Opening Keynote Address
On the other side of the debate, were those expressing disappointment about the lack of progress made in the industry to achieve transparency. During Marc Pritchard’s keynote address, he shared many of the actions taken internally at P&G to address this issue, including a digital budget cut of $200 million and a significant reduction of their whitelisted sites when it comes to programmatic.

• Transparency: 3 Years After Jon Mandel
A topic near & dear to our hearts, we continue to be strong advocates for brands looking to increase transparency and marketing effectiveness (check out the latest report on our work!), a session reflecting on transparency was of particular interest to us. Many presentations relied on use cases to help demonstrate disruption and change within the industry. This included examples such as modifying data management or creating new models of global agency engagements. These case studies were helpful for other marketers, allowing them to see success stories and to also better understand what they should “watch out” for in their own cases. In particular, Nationwide shared their experience of bringing their programmatic media efforts in-house.

Aside from the thought-provoking sessions, the 2018 ANA Media Conference was also a terrific opportunity to network and establish new partnerships with up and coming tech companies. The conference continues to grow each year with industry personalities come together to preach and commiserate amongst your peers. As the nor’easter was approaching, many coming from NYC, Boston, and Philly had to flee back home earlier while others were ‘forced’ to extend their stay in sunny Orlando.

Overall, the key takeaway from the conference was simply, take control! Advertisers and marketers alike have the ability and encouragement to disrupt the industry further by taking steps such as reinventing the traditional agency partnership or making better use of first-party data. The 2018 ANA Media Conference was yet another terrific event hosted by the ANA and it will be great to see how the main topics and discussions from this year evolve for the 2019 conference.