Our Take on Ad World 2023


I recently attended Ad World 2023 and it felt like near perfect timing for some inspiring speakers to dive into some of the complexities facing marketers of today. From recession-proofing ad spend to the good shining through in a world of AI, here are a few of my highlights from the online event.

Senior Marketing Manager
April 19, 2023
  (NZDT - GMT +12)

I recently attended Ad World 2023, along with some others from the Virtual Marketers team, to learn about the latest trends and strategies in the industry. In truth, it was an awesome experience that couldn’t have come at a better time given the current state of digital marketing. As marketers, it feels like we’re approaching a fork in the road, and this sentiment was reflected in each session of the conference in differing ways. 

Highlight 1: Recession-Proofing Ad Spend

With my keen interest in data-driven marketing, and a desire to always prove the value of the marketing function, it was great to learn more about the future of attribution-based digital marketing from Rand Fishkin of SparkToro. CEO & Co-founder of Mutiny Jaleh Razei ran a session on recession-proofing ad spend, which doubled down on paid ad fundamentals and drove home the importance of considering the user experience from ad engagement through to conversion. And Seth Godin had some comforting words on the future of marketing, with a lens on the potential impact of AI. 

These sessions stood out due to their high relevance and particular reference to some of the complexities we are facing as marketers. The erosion of attribution, driven by privacy concerns from government and private citizens is making it more difficult for marketers to determine which activities are driving desired results in the online space – and this has a profound impact on the ability for marketing to prove the value of the function (especially where conversion metrics are concerned). 

Highlight 2: Adopting AI Early

The introduction of AI systems have copywriters shaking in their boots, and developers quivering in their corners (apparently) but I’m dubious, largely because Seth Godin told me that the good will shine through. And the key takeaway of the session was that those who adopt early and learn to use AI to their advantage will be best placed to guide, manage, use, and advise on the available tools. Late adopters are those that are most at risk – we can all learn to live alongside this tech, rather than be buried under it. 

Highlight 3: The Importance Of Great Messaging

And finally, Jaleh’s session, which summarised wonderfully the fundamentals of great marketing messaging, and the importance of getting it right. Using examples of some big fish with bigger budgets that dialled down their advertising spend while retaining strong conversion rates through effective optimisation, and a considered approach to the customer journey, showed a really effective style of marketing in today’s world. Jaleh shared that brands and businesses that carefully consider the customer’s digital journey as it relates to ad engagement will be best positioned to drive results at a lower cost. Those that did not customise the user journey, and failed to invest in ensuring the user experience was tailored to audience segments, ended up throwing money to the platform lords. This is nothing new – however the sentiment of nailing the basics to drive results shines through at a time where the ability to measure effectiveness may come into question. 

Increasingly, marketers will need to rely on proven principles to drive value for customers and internal teams, and Jaleh’s session was a stark reminder of this. 

All in all I rated the Ad World experience highly. And a special shout out to VM for carving some time for myself and the team to focus on growing our skillset and look to the future of our industry.

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