This being my first visit to DMEXCO I had been warned of the scale of it and the volume of information available so I was prepared to leave feeling overwhelmed and with my head buzzing full of new information.
I was excited to learn as much as I could in the 2 days that I was there and I wanted to make the most out of it; the ad tech industry is vast and ever-changing and I was relishing the thought of seeing all the companies I was due a catch up with in one place and leave with new information, new ideas and new areas to explore. I was on a mission to delve into as much of what was on offer as possible and I wanted to leave with some serious stats relating to how many stages I visited, how many tech companies I engaged with, how many talks, seminars and panels I attended; I covered 5 stages, 8 panels, 2 seminars and countless circuits of the multiple halls housing representatives from DSPs, SSPs, DMPS, CMPS and on and on and on, making my most impressive stat the 40,000 steps I walked over the 2 days.
It’s easy to hone in on the areas that come up most frequently in my day to day role, the themes that I was drawn towards related to ad quality and consumer perceptions of advertising, data usage in a privacy focused world and ultimately how much is programmatic going to change as tracking capabilities reduce across browsers. There was a lot of focus on publishers and how significantly their ad revenue is affected when precise user targeting is diminished – calling on the industry that it is our job to educate consumers on the importance of advertising for funding the free internet.
I left with the message that tech companies were reminding us of the importance of engaging consumers with a value exchange. It’s funny because some people fear conferences like DMEXCO because they consider it one big sales pitch after another and the last session of day one by YEXT was a polished presentation demonstrating their on-site search technology. The product looked great, using the DMEXCO site itself to demonstrate just how well their tech could improve the search results and user experience when navigating the site. It was a sales pitch but following the presentation they offered something back to the audience, a full 30 minute original musical, with catchy songs, a dramatic story-line and a Broadway cast including Nick Choksi who performed in Jersey Boys. It was highly entertaining and a welcome relief after a long day of serious subjects like GDPR, ad fraud and the never-ending brand safety saga. We had sat through their sales pitch and were rewarded with a great show at the end – a very fair value exchange in my opinion and the most memorable sales pitch of the day and my lasting thought of the conference.
Amongst all the doom and gloom of the problems we are facing in the digital marketing space, many of these issues are related to regaining consumer trust. Yes we need to get better at gaining explicit consent to use consumers data for advertising and we need to get internet users on board by providing them with a rich internet experience without ads that frustrate them, and a value exchange can be a nice way to do that. Not everyone has something tangible to exchange but we can all be a little bit more creative in finding ways to offer the user something enjoyable; and what better way than lifting someone’s spirits is there to gain trust?
Lina Angelides is head of programmatic at OMD UK.