20th September 2019



The Digital Marketing Expo & Conference – DMEXCO – held last week in Cologne, Germany, attracted 40,000 data and tech vendors, clients and agencies to discuss the future of the digital marketing industry.

Details and Implications:

A core theme at DMEXCO this year was (mis)trust and how to deal with a media landscape that is continuously intruding into people’s lives. Held after a tumultuous year of data leaks, privacy issues and regulatory fines, the industry as a whole is facing a tough challenge to earn back trust with many suggesting increased transparency is required.

The official conference theme was ‘Trust in You’, which the event organisers meant as a call to empower visitors and industry participants to trust themselves and their abilities to play a positive role in changing the industry for good.

The cookie conundrum: Specific events in the months leading up to DMEXCO had a big impact on the conference agenda. Google and Apple have both been working on the implementation of anti-tracking features in their popular browsers and the ad tech industry has been left scrambling to find a solution to protect its business.

The Google (Chrome Privacy Update) and Apple (ITP) developments have the potential to severely impact the use of third-party tracking cookies and thus impact the core functionality of many ad-tech products that are built on this technology, although there is a general uncertainty of how this will pan out for the industry in the long term. At DMEXCO, several solutions and alternatives were presented that provide opportunities to circumvent these anti-tracking features and safeguard the targeting capabilities in ad tech.

There a number of potential solutions in development to address this conundrum, such as Digitrust, a non-profit linked to the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) that aims to create a solution with a single identifier online. Another similar initiative that seems to have got traction from inside the industry is the Unified ID from leading DSP provider The Trade Desk.

Audio and TikTok: New global superstar social app TikTok was present to talk about how brands can immerse themselves on the platform in an authentic way and leverage their community for positive brand interactions.

Spotify talked about the global boom in audio consumption and podcasting, the developments in Germany specifically (44% of the German population now listens to podcasts) and the opportunities audio provides for brands and agencies to capitalise on the unique aspects of the medium.


The event was a treasure trove of complex acronyms, which is ironic given the industry’s desire to try and simplify itself and build trust. Gone are the days of talking about DSP, CDP & OTT, this year, all the hype was around CMP, SPO & AI. (Consent Management Platform, Supply Path Optimisation and Artificial Intelligence)Maybe the love of the acronyms doesn’t necessarily sit well with the topic of trust that the organisers had settled on this year, but as ever DMEXCO proves to be the one industry event that really deep dives into the ad tech landscape and so will continue to attract people from the industry in large numbers.

Further Reading:
DMEXCO ‘Trust in You’ | Tech Challenges at DMEXCO | AdWeek on Google’s Plans | TikTok @ DMEXCO

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