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Rising passions and partnerships in online media

Rising passions and partnerships in online media
Pete Robins, Chairman of Judges for the 2013 Media Owner Awards and Managing Partner of agenda21, highlights the key themes emerging in the world of online media from this year’s Media Owner Award entries.

A year is not a long time in media, but if the standard of the entries of this year’s MOAs can be used to judge the output of the last 52 weeks, then an awful lot has been crammed into the past year.

We received double the entries compared with 2012, and they highlighted the sheer diversity of things you can do with digital media, as well as the ways to invest money across mobile, tablet and desktop.  The judges were presented with a growing range of activity across multiple screens, rather than just desktop display advertising.  It’s a positive trend and I’m expecting to see a lot more multi-screen entries in next year’s MOAs.

We introduced a technology category this year, which ended up being perhaps the most difficult award to judge.  It was the most-entered category with submissions that were all so different encompassing a variety of tech ideas from search retargeting, to supply and demand-side platforms, to mobile targeting tech.  We’re an industry based on technology and this award only highlights how it influences so much of what we do, and how it develops so quickly. In fact, some entries were from companies that didn’t even exist at last year’s MOAs, and of those that did exist, many of the entrants have changed their offering significantly in the past twelve months.

Another stand-out theme in this year’s award entries is evidence of collaboration and shared thinking between media-side business and advertisers and their agencies.  We saw a surprising number of examples where a media owner or technology partner had dedicated commitment and resource over a period of time to ensure their joint initiative delivered the client’s objectives.  This could be because there appears to be a growing use of initiatives examining the role of content and its distribution, alongside a determination to better understand a client’s objectives and draw on shared resources and skills to deliver them.

This longer-term collaborative approach was also reflected in entries for the individual awards. Pleasingly there’s just as much passion and ambition within individuals on the supply side as we saw last year which is reflected in the awards for Commercial Director, Newcomer and Rising Star.

In only its third year, the MOAs were more-entered than ever before with entries that were not only of a higher standard, but were also better written - making the work shine as brightly as it could.  This increased effort reflects the massive industry interest in the awards with companies trying harder than ever to have their work acknowledged by their peers.

We still have more work to do though.  Whilst not always possible, we do need more entries to justify the effects of their smart work. It all starts with measurement.  As an industry, we need to better align our metrics alongside a lot of these ideas to show they make a positive difference to a client’s overall business.  The easiest metric to show may not be the best one, and simply saying the results exceeded the client’s expectations is not enough to win a MOA.  Too many entries still focused on the short-term micro results of a campaign, instead of highlighting the macro effects on the business. Short-term results sound impressive at the time, but are less powerful in many cases than the longer term business benefits and many entries would benefit from making a stronger case in this area next year.

Full information about the Media Owner Awards can be found at

The 2013 Awards were held in media partnership with The Drum.

Last updated 20/11/2013

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