A Synopsis: Webit Congress 2012

In October 10 and 11, apart from the amazing time I spent in Istanbul, I had the pleasure of attending Webit Congress. Seeing many professionals from across Europe & the Middle East gathered in one place for the purpose of sharing and exchanging knowledge of the digital world was quite refreshing.

Here are some statistics about the 2012 Congress, as stated by Webit Expo:

  • Visiting countries: 72
  • Number of speakers: 187 (see all of them here)
  • International and local exhibitors: 50 (see list)
  • Worldwide supporting media and partners: 130
  • With the strategic support of: IAB Europe, EACA, EGTA, OPA, Arab ICT Organization, European Commission.

HE Minister Binali Yildirim (Minister of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications of the Republic of Turkey) opened the Congress on 10 October together with Plamen Russev (Chairman of eAcademy/founder of Webit), Alain Heureux (President and CEO IAB Europe), Dominic Lyle (Director General EACA), Dr. Tayfun Acarer (BTK Chairman) and other officials.

The major conferences within the Congress were:- Marketing and Innovation Conference- Entrepreneurship Conference- Telco Conference - e-Commerce Conference and e-Commerce SEO Master Class- Apps Development Workshops- Free Seminars on Digital & TechnologyThe only global Webit Awards Ceremony for digital marketing effectiveness and technology excellence for the Word's New Digital Markets also took place on 10 October.  

I was of course mostly interested in the Marketing and Innovation Conference, particularly the social media stream which came first. I got in half way through, Facebook's Regional Directory, Diego Oliva's presentation on the future of Social Media where he spoke of the importance of Facebook Fans and their friends to brand pages, calling them "real fans" given the value they present to businesses in terms of sales. The image below showcases some of the percentages of sales from Facebook fans and their friends for big brands on Facebook pages.

 It was Guillaume du Gardier, Head of Digital Media at Ferrero, whom I really liked. He firstly disagreed with Diego on the statement that Facebook fans are real fans, considering the number of inactive, fake and duplicate accounts. He urged for a feature that allows brand pages to discover fans who haven't been connected with a brand in the last 3 months by hiding the updates from their ticker/feed, not visiting the page anymore, and never interact with it, and allow them to automatically take these fans off the page as they failed to provide them with an attractive brand experience. He urges brands to care about active fans, not about "accounts". He explains that having thousands of fans is not as important as having a "scaled" number of fans. Scale is the percentage of fans from the number of consumers reached through sales. So, for example, having hundreds of thousands of fans on your Facebook page is not that impressive if your weekly sales are per millions. He also suggested that Facebook introduces a way that allows brands to connect with fan-made pages in a way that is mutually beneficial for both of them.

Among other interesting seminars at the conference, I quite liked the concept of Wakoopa as presented by its CEO Piet Hein Van Dam, compromising of allowing it to track our own digital footprint (websites we visit, apps we use, ads we interact with, etc.) in return for rewards. Many websites already track our digital footprint and sell it for huge profits and we got nothing out of it. Through Wakoopa, we control what it tracks and when, and we benefit from it.

One presentation I very much enjoyed was by the energetic and lively Rina Onur, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Peak Games, who spoke about the importance of gaming in our life and how it's getting more and more integrated in other sectors like business and education and will continue to grow into more sectors in the future.

All in all, it was a great event with many valuable seminars, some of which were running at the same time so it was hard to follow up with all of them. It was only brought down by the terrible internet connection which made it difficult for bloggers like me to enjoy the event by live-tweeting and connecting to others during it. It's certainly an experience worth attending though.

Follow Webit Expo on Facebook or Twitter to stay updated with when they make the presentations available for download. However, I think they would only be available for those who have already been registered, in which case I'll be able to get them for you. You just have to remind me and ask me for them!