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Digital Advertising: Where The Future Lies

(c) Sky News 2012

Despite the difficult UK economy, advertising on the internet and mobile phones increased to £4.8bn in 2011, according to figures.

The IAB/PwC ad-spend research also shows online display advertising surpassed £1bn last year.

As a result, online advertising now enjoys the highest share (28%) of UK ad-spend.

Mobile advertising spend more than doubled to £203m in 2011 compared to the previous year.

I organised a roundtable discussion with five senior thought leaders to share their insight.

Lee Wilkinson, digital product director at Hearst Magazines UK, publishers of titles such as Elle and Esquire, explained that as we now live in the post-PC era publishers need to offer advertising experiences that translate across devices.

For him, the biggest challenge is how to make digital advertising more integrated. His strategy is to give his advertising product development efforts as much attention as his consumer products.

Phil Stokes, TMT EMEA lead and partner at PwC, explained that for some time the industry has been talking about the notion of 'bought, earned and owned media' - but that we should now also be adding 'managed media'.

This is about making sure you deliver a consistent brand feel across all the potential advertising touch points your consumers interact with, from high street, to website, to app, etc.

Josh Krichefski, chief operating officer at MediaCom, the UK's largest media agency, told us that for him the big focus is really on making mobile advertising work.

The key is not to focus on the limited ad display sizes but instead to make the most of the features built into the phone and leverage that to make better ads.

Ads (MCX: APDS.ME - news) that see where people are located, in what direction they are heading and how fast they are walking will be used to present more relevant ads in the future.

Libby Robinson, commercial director at the creative agency M&C Saatchi Mobile, added that when brands are able to understand where mobile fits into campaigns from the start, the results are far higher as it is the device that people have on them at all times.

The moderator of this roundtable, Guy Phillipson, chief executive of Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), believes companies will find that giving consumers more control over how their personal data is used may deliver higher benefits back to consumers, encouraging them to volunteer even more information, as well as providing better value for advertisers and higher rewards for media owners.

Businesses need to aim for a win-win model in which the medium, the advertiser and the consumer all collaborate and benefit.

Ultimately, the only person who 'owns' the customer - and the customer's data - are the customers themselves.

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