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Adtech’s programme "has its priorities wrong"

adtech_sydney1Adtech, the biggest conference in Australia for the digital marketing industry, has been accused of getting carried away with covering social media at the expense of what actually currently drives online business.

Liam Walsh, boss of performance network Drive PM, said the March event was getting its priorities wrong in its programme. Writing on his Talking Digital blog, he complains that the subject of search gets only one-and-a-half sessions within the two day conference, despite driving 40% of the industry’s revenues. He says: “Social media has five sessions. Five. In addition, there is one on Twitter (which does not have one dollar of revenue).” Meanwhile, performance marketing does not get any coverage at all.

He also points out that mobile gets a whopping three sessions, adding: “The two smallest segments of digital media get the most coverage in the schedule.”

He goes on: “The performance area is particularly important in a recession-affected global economy for obvious reasons. It is impacting the structure of the entire online display pricing systems. More importantly the revenue it attracts is expected to grow at over 40% this year. It will be no less than 15% of the sector.

“How performance cannot be included when it is so clearly a major part of 2009 is a mystery. According the schedule posted online there is also absolutely no coverage of behavioural targeting. And nothing on ad exchanges.”

Ben Shepherd, associate business director at media agency Mindshare, added on the same blog: “Social media is getting too much time on the schedule … what’s more is most talk about social media is just that, talk … not a whole lot of real insight just a lot of talking. Nothing wrong with that – but when you pay $1600 to go to a conference you don’t want a bunch of bloggers talking about themselves and their mates.”

Jenny Williams, founder of Ideagarden consulting, who is chairing the Sydney conference, told Mumbrella that the industry had been widely consulted on the pragramme ahead of time, including via Adtech’s own interactive web site and on Twitter. She said: “It depends what your definition of ‘driving online business’ is.  If it equates to media companies who can say they generate a shitload of revenue, than it will be all about Murdoch and Google.

“But although it doesn’t make a dollar in revenue, Twitter, and all social media  is becoming an increasingly important way for brands to talk to consumers.

“People who come along will be able to find out what’s new and happening this year, not go on a digital 101 course. There are plenty of other places to do that.”

She said issues like performance networks, search and ROI would still be discussed in many of the sessions.

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