IAB Engage 2018: Round-up


A group from Carat UK went along to IAB Engage yesterday at the Barbican Centre. They have shared with us some interesting perspectives and thoughts from the sessions.

IAB Engage

OPTIMISING DIGITAL CONTENT. Unskippable Labs and 20th Century Fox gave an example of how they teamed up to create optimised digital content and sequenced them to engage audiences. They tested not only content but also technology and the art of collecting user pools based on their viewing behaviour, which then determined what content was shown next to them. They are a category that is known for being quite traditional and using TV content online, but it seems like they have finally changed this and have said they are going to allocate 30% of their budget to testing from now on. For those that aren’t currently using YouTube, working with Unskippable Labs for a campaign launch is a great way to create genuinely optimised content with robust testing in a place that they can help with.

INFLUENCER MARKETING. Influencer Marketing got a lot of coverage yesterday. Steve Bartlett from Social Chain was a great speaker and told the story of how he set up the company after dropping out of university, realising that no one was capitalising on online communities for students. His company are a social media marketing agency who focus on communities and influencers to create campaigns that drive engagement. He thinks the near future will focus on using influencers to engage through messenger apps and also by using live video more effectively through Facebook and IG. Here is an excellent example of how they have used live video to run a quiz to engage consumers for the online clothing retailer, boohoo.com:


There was also a panel about influencers. Pretty standard, but one key takeout was to be clear about where you are just trying to use influencers to essentially showcase your product and get engaged reach (e.g., what we have been doing with micro-influencer strategies) and not confusing this with genuinely integrated influencer campaigns. An example of this would be where you are choosing just one or a few influencers to do something integrated/a partnership that is probably less product focused. Think long-term partnerships and brand alignment. Both have roles.

WE ARE ENTERING THE AMBIENT DIGITAL PHASE. There was a lot of talk about us entering a phase where digital technology is becoming the pipes to power everything. It will be a utility and should -in theory- make our lives easier. Simon Gosling from Unruly spoke about their connected home, focusing on voice, lens, AI and AR with a few examples of brands that are using these technological developments well:

  • Voice – Trainline app (very intuitive search and interaction)
  • Lens – Asos app (searching through image)
  • AR – Ikea (placing furniture in your home)
  • AI – Spotify (discover weekly/personalisation)

Also really interestingly, there is the AI model/influencer creation, Lilmiquela, who is not only the face of Prada, but has appeared on the cover of High Snobiety – we don’t get it, perhaps we're too old – but apparently people love her, and with her own voice and personality, she is essentially becoming the perfect influencer.


Tom Goodwin, Head of Innovation at Zenith gave a fantastic talk, discussing the differences between the mid-digital age -where we currently are and how we are applying a minimum level of tech to the old way of doing things- and the soon to be post-digital age, where we will create for the digital world and not repurpose. He commanded that we should be thinking in this way to push forward – start from a new place.

He also spoke of how we should be thinking of the internet as we would electricity – asking a 14-year-old how many hours a day they spend online is like asking how many hours a day we use power, it isn’t something you would naturally think about, however, this is the way we need to start thinking. Digital will soon be the pipes for almost all media, so we need to stop thinking in silos. Instead, we need to plan thinking about the context of the consumer, not channels.

LOOKING FOR TROUBLE. Lucy Jameson from Uncommon spoke about finding trouble and starting from there when thinking about how a brand can carve out a distinctive and disruptive space. She highlighted that people do not care about the brand. We have reached ‘peak stuff’. Advertising isn’t exciting anymore. We need to go from selling stuff to people to making ourselves a brand people wish existed, and you can do this by understanding the trouble in the category or context you are planning in. She said, don’t find the stuff you like, find the stuff that pisses you off and make it better!

GDPR. While highly topical, it was not the most engaging topic spoken of, but there was one main take away. TripleLift analysed their platform from the days leading up to and after GDPR came in to place on the 25 May. Primarily the top quality publishers (top European 100) weren’t affected, yet they still had the same amount of inventory coming through to the platform. However, the long tail saw a massive drop off. This potentially indicates that we need to focus more on the known, higher quality publishers. It will likely have an impact on data-led planning and the ability to deliver, so it will be interesting to see where this goes.

HOT NEW CRAZE. If you haven't yet heard of HQ Trivia, then where have you been? HQ Trivia's director of brand partnerships Dylan Abruscato and quiz host Berric Livingstone spoke to the audience about the popularity of the live quiz app which brings the nation together twice daily at 3pm and 9pm. Its been a huge success stateside and is becoming hugely popular here. While currently funded by venture capitalists, they are now starting to explore how else they can make money. In the US they have created a custom branded game with Nike, giving away trainers and also one to support the release of Warner Bros' 2018 sci-fi movie, Ready Player One. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities in the UK soon.

IAB Engage
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