Live from Cannes: Exit Bee on campaigns, collaborations and key events

Mobile Marketing speaks live from Cannes with Laura Stephens, Senior Account Director at Exit Bee, to get the lowdown on what’s in store for brands and vendors this year.

Mobile Marketing: Cannes back and bigger than ever. Are you surprised by how popular the event is this year?

LS: For me, Cannes is like a networker’s dream. Ive done a couple of these before, and it is literally networking on steroids. Youre able to meet people that in a normal year, you just wouldnt meet, because people’s diaries are normally so busy. But here in Cannes, you get to talk to these senior people properly, and you’re able to have longer, more meaningful conversations. I do think its the most valuable event of the year, especially from a new business perspective.

First, everyone is gathered from all over the globe to talk about business, understand each others products or needs, see whether they can work on B2B partnerships, etc. Second, I think with Cannes having not happened for two years, there has been a real desire for people in the industry to get together, and go back to the enjoyable part of the industry, which is being able to meet up in a lovely location but also do really meaningful business.

MM: What are brands looking for from platforms, solutions and formats?

LS: I think innovation is key. Theres been a lack of it in the last few years in the industry with Covid. And now a lot of brands are having to compete, especially with economic challenges such as the cost of living coming into play. At the moment, were seeing a push towards Q3 and Q4 – which will be massive for brands this year. It feels like everyone has started off the year in a conservative way, and a lot of brands are waiting until that Q3/Q4 point to start looking at advertising at larger scales again.

MM: Exit Bee is growing – what are the key highlights right now?

LS: Id say were getting a really positive response from brands at the moment. Were still at an early stage in the UK but its exciting because of the brands that were working with, the briefs we’re seeing and the traction we have in the market – for instance we’re working with clients such as VW, Dell, Adobe and Sky. Were really excited for the year ahead because we’re expecting significant growth for the company over the next few quarters.

MM: Which sectors do you see growth coming from?

LS: At the moment, automotive is really picking up. The chip shortage has eased, so a lot of car brands are spending again. Automotive in particular works really well with our format, because were able to drive lots of traffic to the site, and tailor our ads towards the conversion journey thats needed for automotive brands and we’re able to target based on the content a person is reading such as in-market car buyers. We’re also seeing an uplift in the Travel sector pick up again which is great to see following a difficult time for this industry in particular given the covid regulations and shut borders they have had to contend with.

MM: Talking about mobile specifically, how would you describe the strengths of the Exit Bee format?

LS: Our product works by detecting and predicting the moments users disengage from website content and are more likely to interact with an ad campaign. So it is great for driving qualified data-driven traffic to mobile websites. When Im out in the market, I always talk to brands about marrying up their digital plans with how they see users engaging with their site. So whether its on desktop or mobile, they just need to make sure that they mirror that user journey on their own site with how they execute on their media plans. If theyre seeing a lot of conversions come through mobile, then we help them tailor the plan to make sure that were running this same push and split between devices.

A few years ago, mobile was a much smaller part of a digital plan and has had to fight to be beside desktop based plans gradually, but we’ve seen a big shift towards it, especially during the summer months, with people being outdoors and on the go. In the winter months, there tends to be more of a push towards desktop, but overall, mobile is definitely seen as a relevant channel today.

MM: In the two year absence of Cannes, the mobile market has really moved on. What are the biggest changes youve observed?

I think, being back in the industry post-Covid, it’s all about driving creativity and innovation. Specifically, it’s about getting campaigns to work harder; making sure they are more performance-driven.

Were being measured a lot more for how campaigns are performing at a deeper level, not just on their own but as part of the wider campaign mix. So we’re being looked at to see what part we’re playing across all touchpoints in the customer journey, to determine influence on the end purchase; whether that is post-click, first-look or post-impression. And I think brands are being a lot smarter with their plans to make sure that they’re driving more efficiencies in the path to conversions. A few of the reasons why I love digital advertising is how creative, data-led and efficient we can all be at the same time. It is also such a fast-paced and always changing industry.

MM: Finally, where are the places to be for the rest of Cannes?

LS: Where to start? There’s the LADbible event, which will be great and always has good traction. And actually, it’s great to see all the collaborations between adtech vendors happening in our industry right now, too. Cannes is great because everyone is so welcoming and willing to talk and look at how they can partner with companies in a similar space – for example I always go to the Teads event. So with those types of events, everyone is learning a lot from each other and new relationships are built. I usually come back from Cannes with at least 50 new connections in our industry – I really do love networking!

And I love the fact that theres a lot of women and diversity events this year, as well as sustainability and authenticity. And of course, Fatboy Slim will be tearing it up at the Yahoo! event – so you’ll definitely see me there!