London: The European ad tech capital

LondonEyeEdfEnergyAdvertising is big business. And as the gateway to Europe from the US, London has long been regarded as one the most important business hubs globally.

The signs are relentless. PWC predicts that the UK entertainment and media sector will be worth £63 billion by 2016. Crucially, PWC forecasts this will be driven by 12% year-on-year growth in internet advertising; cementing the UK’s position as the largest internet advertising market in EMEA.

And unlike many other European cities, London isn’t suffering from a skills shortage. Rental properties rose from 2.3m in 2012 to 4.4m last year, a testament to the capital’s draw on the global talent pool, largely thanks to ongoing public and private investment in Tech City and its vibrant start-up scene.

With high volumes of tech talent in one place, plus businesses such as Google and Amazon building their European hubs in Kings Cross and Holborn (respectively), how can London continue its ascent?

Nowadays news about technology and media companies is largely synonymous; look at Facebook and Twitter for the most obvious examples. With this in mind, there’s a clear opportunity in combining the technology and creative industries, something already well explored in globally recognised tech hubs such as San Francisco.

This marriage of thought enables companies to measure the impact of their creative campaigns by using the data provided from consumer interactions. They can then use the insights to improve campaigns according to the real preferences of their customers, as opposed to the rough estimates the creative industries were once reliant on. The power in using what consumers are saying and doing in their own communities to drive content targeted at them is a huge game-changer for many.

There has been a shift in online advertising with the output becoming more intelligent, but there is still some way to go to make the process seamless as big businesses still struggle to connect the dots.

If you’re a consumer with a smartphone, tablet or desktop you can now be served an ad based on your online conversations, which is interesting, useful and relevant. The relevance that sophisticated and integrated ad tech lends to advertising is expected by consumers, which means the creative and technology industries need to work together to maintain and improve consumer satisfaction and ensure business success.

One of the major developments in the last 12 months has been in the rise of programmatic advertising. However, when taking such an approach to digital advertising, it can be very easy to lose sight of the implications data can have on content. Technology and content need to be married in such a way that delivers the results that advertisers are looking for. As both a global creative and technology hub, London is uniquely placed to lead the charge into this new and exciting world of relevant and highly targeted advertising.

With connected audiences everywhere, the coming together of the technology and creative industries promises great rewards for the businesses that can combine the two successfully.

It doesn’t come as a massive surprise that Advertising Week Europe has been held in the capital for the past two years and has vouched to come back next year. One thing is for sure, using technology should be high on the agenda for advertisers, and those who don’t learn the language of data will be left in the cold.

Rupert Staines is European managing director of RadiumOne