Brittany Fleit

ad:tech is an annual conference about the intertwining of technology and digital advertising. It stops off around the world in eight ports beginning in January beginning in New Delhi, then Sydney, Melbourne, San Francisco, Singapore, London, Tokyo and finally, in November, New York. The companies attending in each city and each year vary but the progressive nature stays the same. Discover, innovate and learn from each exhibition and speaker so that advertising as a whole remains a cutting edge, personalized industry.

So far in 2012, ad:tech has hit New Delhi, Sydney, and Melbourne in a whirlwind. One blogger in Sydney shared his top eight take-away lessons from the event, including some interesting facts about gamer demographics, how to better market companies digitally (hint: it requires more than just a Facebook page) and how adaptation is the most important aspect of any business. Another blogger shared 10 live-by-or-die rules for anyone attempting to navigate the ever-evolving field.

As one New Delhi journalist rawly noted, “The world has gotten a lot more challenging for marketers - with 30 billion status updates published on Facebook every month, 250 million tweets published every day and 5.3 billion views in a 24-hour period on YouTube, marketers have a lot to compete against. With this kind of crazy amount of penetration, it’s a horrible time for marketers.”

During New Delhi, as well as the upcoming San Francisco conferences, there seems to be a shift where marketers are reverting back to the basics. As popular an outlet as social media has become, there are select breakthrough companies dealing with old fashioned email and word-of-mouth trends that are beginning to take back the power in digital advertising. Instead of searching for the “next new thing,” they’re concentrating on perfecting the basics.

For instance, AdStack, a real-time email optimization company, has some interesting statistics on user acquisition via email bringing about greater revenue than user acquisition through other means. Perhaps the most impressive might be data that illustrates how the CTR (click-through rate) for Facebook ads is 0.05 percent (source: spruce media), for search ads is 2 percent (source: google representative), and for email is typically between 10 and 25 percent (source: quora). Similarly, viral video experts Snap! Viral! Pop! rely on individuals to make video ads popular, simply feeding a YouTube link to users strategically rather than heavily promoting online. This word-of-mouth technique demonstrates how consumers — not marketers — ultimately determine new trends and is such an effective method of advertising that Snap! Viral! Pop! has a guarantee for every ad they create.

In other words, while so many businesses are tiring themselves out by focusing on beating the competition in what already exists, there are a select few companies that are alternatively innovating fields that have otherwise been abandoned. These — AdStack, Snap! Viral! Pop! and several others — are bringing a new angle to the convention; an angle that in a sea of Facebook ad-based corporations, is a breath of fresh air.

Adaptation is certainly important. But it requires businesses to re-evaluate all forms of digital advertising. The ones who successfully do so are the ones who have returned to advertising’s roots and are re-evaluating the simplest, yet most effective, ways of reaching out to audiences.

At the end of Wednesday, when all the shiny new startups have presented their ideas, we will see why that is the reason this year’s San Francisco ad:tech will trump the rest.

This article is part of Allvoices’ series on ad:tech, the largest digital marketing and technology conferences and expositions. Check out for more of Allvoices’ ad:tech San Francisco event coverage. This series is supported by ad:tech.