Mindshare Point of View:
The big names in the industry were there and the pilsner and bratwurst were delicious. DMEXCO is a curious blend of German and Global digital leaders mixed to create what just might be the most focused digital event around. Opened by WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell and closed by GroupM’s Rob Norman, DMEXCO is growing fast – attendance was up 36% from last year to over 43,384 over 2 days (about 127,000 less than CES if you wondered). This year, four exhibit halls and a conference, included everyone who is anyone in the world of digital tech and data and programmatic was the central theme.
The Hot Topics
If you are in the programmatic space, you are part of this conference. However, DMEXCO IS more than that. The big themes all focused on connecting brands and consumers:
Programmatic & data: Nearly everywhere you turned there was a booth, a conversation, or some other company announcing their plans to ‘go programmatic’. The shear scale was a bit mind numbing, with the majority focusing on premium video, supply side platforms (SSP), and TV programmatic.
The rise of the App ecosystem (and the end of fragmentation): Led by Rob Norman, this was not telling you to build an app, it’s just the opposite. It is about the end of fragmentation, and the prediction that apps may bring everything together.
Content for connected consumers: More ‘things’ are being connected, but at the heart of those things is a consumer, and that consumer needs better content. It’s a major shift and highlights the intersection of media, creativity and data.
Verification: The definition, while developed by the IAB, is maturing, but still not aligned globally. Counting the number of times this topic came up I conference sessions is near impossible. From all of those discussions, the one thing that was evident is that the industry is still aligning behind what ‘viewability’ really means.
Diversity. Many speakers (and a dedicated ‘Girl’s Lounge’ booth) were making the point that the industry still needs to address diversity.
The vibe was that this was DMEXCO’s coming of age year. The announcements during the conference didn’t have the same impact as CES or Cannes (though AOL did launch its ONE platform and UNRULY was acquired by New Corp), but this isn’t supposed to replace those events. DMEXCO is a pure ad tech industry event, not somewhere where ad tech has muscled its way in. As a result it was more ‘industry’ and there were not many brands in attendance; with only the most progressive eager to wade through the myriad possibilities (expect that to change for 2016), but if you are agency, supply or demand [side], then ‘wilkommen in der zukunft’ (‘welcome to the future’ – and brush up on your German.)