A Quick Roundup Of Dmexco 2017, For Advertisers And Marketers, Who Are Looking At New Ways To Create Brand-Specific Campaigns That Resonate In Today’s Digital Economy
Forty-eight hours at the 2017 Digital Marketing Exposition and Conference (DMEXCO) exposed the shifting sands in the martech, adtech, AI sectors and the digital economy. With over 40,000 visitors and nearly 1200 exhibitors at the event, DMEXCO 2017 revealed the visible trends and the underlying forces that would redefine the way marketers and advertisers see and work with data, technology and people. Raising the creative bar for digital media, attendees thronged to join groups that discussed ad fraud, brand safety, GDPR, user engagement, gender bias and of course, ad performance for growth.
There were mixed feelings regarding the new legislations, and for some, data regulation was not mentioned enough – especially given this was the last DMEXCO before the GDPR norms come into force. In an industry renowned for being creative and daring, many felt this ‘wait and watch,’ policy was something new.
Brand safety and ad fraud were also high on the agenda, underlining the importance that brands and advertisers have placed on transparency..
So, what did industry experts think of the event?
Powerful Dream of Mass “1:1 Marketing” is Close to Reality, Sans Bots
Brands that use digital economy are the torchbearers of giving their brands a voice for collective good. Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at P&G, explained how the digital economy needs a transparent advertising action for raising the bar in the industry “for good and for growth.”
Now we know, how 2017 proved to be the year when the ‘bloom came off the rose for digital media.”
Patrik Fagerlund, CEO and founder of Widespace, who spoke to us from DMEXCO 2017, concurred with Pritchard’s stance on transparency, bot fraud, and optimized adtech budgets. Patrik said, “P&G is right to have a zero tolerance attitude to brand safety as there is no reason why adtech providers cannot offer total transparency, improved viewability and zero per cent fraud. If an ad hasn’t been seen, was delivered to a fraudulent bot, or to an unsavoury site, the advertiser should never pay for it. The whole industry needs to step up when it comes to these issues by putting an onus on quality, therefore ensuring digital advertising continues to deliver back to brands and isn’t tarnished by a few bad actors.”
Get Real with Two-second Native Video Marketing
Almost every viewer has the opportunity to see a video ad, but is that relevant? Flooding digital media with 30-second ads is not going to work. Data shows that average ad-viewing time is less than two seconds. Is it smart to still invest in 30-second ads? Are these ads still relevant? Social media proves that 30-second ads are annoying.
Patrik explained, “It was also promising to hear Marc Pritchard speak about creating a suite of video ads that can engage a consumer in less than 2 seconds. Creating relevant and interesting video ads that people want to interact with is far more effective than forcing a user to watch a 30-second ad in the middle of content. It simply comes down to putting the consumer at the heart of everything we do and, as a result, developing advertising that captivates the audience rather than annoying them. Everyone wins.”
AI is Yet to Mature
AI is accelerating how brands connect with consumers. In 2017, digital advertising had a higher ROI than traditional media, which became the top priority for brands. AI—the buzzword in the industry made its presence felt at DMEXCO 2017, with attendees discussing at length how it holds the key to drive value for brands and customers alike. To get a real sense of this phenomenon, we spoke to Rami Alanko, Founder & CEO at beemray.
Rami said, “To me it boils down to automation; what is the level of automation for the advertiser? It won’t work if an advertiser needs to turn into a data scientist, or become the next Ray Kurzweil, to get ROI. But if AI is mature enough to propose and guide based on the available data sources, then things look good.”
Taking a different view on AI, Chad Wollen, CMO, Smartpipe, mentioned, “Perhaps the biggest surprise about DMEXCO this year was the lack of discussion around much lauded new technologies. Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain companies did not cut through on the floor, as was expected following their extensive coverage in the trade press and social media before the event. Maybe their time will come next year?”
So, who’s set to earn more ROI from their media investments if they were to include AI?
For Rami, it’s online media.
“Online has undoubtedly better infrastructure to get it right in terms of scoring higher ROI but traditional media will also benefit from AI. There are numerous ways to improve and fine-tune traditional media, and there is no question that AI will help a lot with this,” said Rami.
Icing on cake—
“Digital and traditional media are destined to get married in terms of analysis and insights. Only the formats will be different,” Rami said.
GDPR and the Impact on Consumption Experience
Like all contemporary events, regulations on data privacy and transparency remained the central focus of all discussions at DMEXCO this year. Ben Barokas, CEO and Co-Founder, Sourcepoint, spoke to us about the enormous opportunities that exist for advertisers and publishers.
Ben said, “For the publishing industry in particular, the discussion focused on understanding where, when, and how to engage users and build clear and transparent communication around the value exchange. The modern publisher must gather data across all possible revenue streams to compile a holistic understanding of its users’ preferences with regards to compensation. Whether through direct payments, advertising or subscription models – multiple compensation options should then be presented in a flexible manner, providing choice and creating a clear value exchange. Ensuring this process is frictionless is essential to enhance every user’s consumption experience.”
Connecting the world of the Internet of Things, Augmented and Virtual Reality, while maintaining content privacy, would be the biggest challenge for marketers in creating a truly transparent single customer view. Adam Corey, VP Marketing, Tealium, said, “With rapid developments in futuristic technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality, marketers were keen to understand how these tools can help them improve the customer experience and target audiences more effectively. And as the number of data sources continues to increase – from wearables to connected cars – marketers wanted to understand how to pull all this data into a single customer view.”
Adam, who like most other marketers believes this to be a wake-up call, added, “With just nine months until it comes into force, the GDPR was a hot topic. The global regulation will affect all companies dealing with EU citizens’ data, so marketers from across the world sought advice on successful preparation. It was refreshing to see marketers embracing GDPR as an opportunity to improve consumer data privacy and security.”
The EU’s GDPR and ePrivacy Directive is legislation that has implications across all business functions and stacks and the martech and adtech sectors are going to be significantly impacted. An audience vote at the GDPR panel session revealed 51% of those attending had yet to prepare their business for the changes and a further 27% were unsure of any preparations in their businesses.
Chad Wollen, added, “If this (lack of GDPR discussions) is an accurate reflection of the state of the industry then it is time to shake off any ignorance or complacency in what could be seen as the calm before the GDPR storm. As Stephen Loerke, CEO of the World Federation of Advertisers said, we would look back on these times as the good times – when things were free and easy. As time runs out and the penny drops, the industry needs to develop an understanding that the GDPR calls for real transformation of processes, technology and commercial relationships.”
Mobile and Video: The Next-Gen Digital World
When Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook revealed how 3.5 billion people access internet and more than half of them do it using their mobile, the writing was clear on the wall.
Giovanni Strocchi, CEO, ADmantX, identified why brands were integrating mobile and video, focusing on the overall media mix. Giovanni said, “Linked to this (mobile and video integration) is the need for identity management – allowing marketers to understand when an individual moves from one device to another – which is the key to avoid excessive communication to a single consumer and ensure relevant advertising.”
Creativity and Data Science Need to Come Together for Customer Engagement
Ben Alpren, Head of Vendor Partnerships, The Exchange Lab, spoke to us from DMEXCO 2017 about customer engagement being a key topic of discussion at the event. Ben said, “In Sir John Hegarty’s keynote on the main stage, he talked about how creativity is the lynchpin to engaging consumers and therefore vital to any business operation. Up until recently, advertising has not been able to keep up with consumer engagement. The industry has often favored data at the expense of creativity – not because it wasn’t important, but due to a focus on performance and scale.”
Ben said, “What is interesting is that advancements in the collection of data, through, for example, the Internet of Things, is enabling advertisers to create more bespoke, personalized and attractive ads. The creative versus data debate is one that has been discussed many times before, but as the industry evolves, it’s a debate that’s never been as relevant.”
Success of Digital Movement Lies in Bettering Performance Metric and Improving User Engagement
Andy Evans, CMO, Sovrn, spoke on why he thought DMEXCO 2017 has paved the way for advertisers and brands to build a general consensus on fixing issues related to transparency, ad fraud, ad blocking, and fake news. Andy said, “(If issues remain unfixed) skepticism around the efficiency of digital advertising will increase, and then DMEXCO may be no more in the years to come. The advertising supply chain needs to improve quickly and think about new approaches. During a presentation to close DMEXCO, Terence Kawaja of LUMA Partners rightly questioned the obsession with existing measurements when he asked why we were we still talking about views in 2017? Kawaja felt we should be migrating along a performance curve to get away from these long-distance proxys. He suggested that we move to a time or engagement metric.”
Andy felt that the next step forward for a digital economy is to truly understand the value of user engagement and start thinking about ways to deliver this, and once we start doing this the ecosystem would be in a much better shape.