After a full day on the first day of adTech in Sydney I was looking forward to another good day.
I should say that I did finish day 1 off with a bloggers meet up where I met some great people – some of whom I’m sure I’ll continue to keep in touch with and hopefully even work with.
Day 2 of the conference was not as great from my perspective as the preceding day. While there were a few interesting sessions I came away from them feeling a little flat. I suspect that this was partly due to being worn out from a 19 hour day the day before (I had to get up early to make it to Sydney in time for the start) and partly because I’m not really the adTech audience target.
Having said that – I did get some one on one time with a couple of the Australian AdSense team which was really valuable. One of them went through some of the blogs that I’m working with at present and gave some great advice. Even as a 3 year veteran with AdSense there’s always something that can be learnt – most of it was just the result of a fresh pair of eyes looking at things that I stare at everyday.
Absence of the ‘Practical’?
One of the disappointments of the day for me was the way in which some presenters seemed to use their time simply to show attendees why they should engage the services of someone in their area of expertise. The SEO session was an example of this. While no one overtly said ‘hire us’ it was a session where the experts talked a lot about what not to do and the consequences of doing the wrong thing – but talked very little about what people should do.
With a session description like this…
“Learn how to ensure your natural SEO techniques are compliant with Webmaster guidelines issued by search engines and practical tips to optimize Web sites for both Australian and International search engines.”
… I guess I was expecting a few practical tips on optimizing websites for search engines.
There was definitely a time constraint but in the 50 minute long session I wrote down one constructive tip to try. I felt the same thing coming out of a number of sessions yesterday and heard a number of other attendees wondering to each other when they were going to learn something practical that they could actually use for the $1400 (I was lucky enough to be there for free on a media pass).
I guess this is the challenge of all conferences. Everyone has their agenda and vendors don’t always see it in their best interests to share how they work for fear of losing potential customers who might try to do it themselves. I would have thought that potential customers would go to people who generously give tips that work – but maybe I’m a little naive :-)
The real value of conferences like adTech is the people you meet. I was fortunate to spend some quality time with some experienced and knowledgeable people.
Another thing that stood out to me about this event was the number of presenters with accents. While there were a good number of Aussies up the front – there was hardly any panels without at least one from overseas. While this at times lent experience and a global perspective to the sessions (after all it’s a global industry) it also at times detracted for me as we had people who didn’t quite seem to get some of nuances of the Aussie market.
I was also really aware of how many men dominated the stage.
Another thing that I appreciated about adTech was the glimpse it gave of the bigger picture of the industry that we belong to.
Sometimes as bloggers it’s easy to become quite insular and focused upon our own medium, niches and blogs. In doing so it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that most of us (if not all of us) are small fries when you think about the multi-billion dollar industry that we participate in.
Overall I’m glad I attended Ad Tech this year. Congratulations to the team for putting on such a well attended (600 attendees) and smoothly run event. As a first time it was a real success and I’m looking forward to see how it grows in the years ahead.
PS: thanks to Qantas for the free and unsolicited upgrade to business class on the way home last night – it topped off a nice couple of days for me :-)