DMEXCO once again descended upon Cologne, with the 2019 edition held on 11th and 12th September. Media professionals from across the globe met and mingled to discuss the topics of the day. Consumer trust, restrictions in cookie-based tracking techniques, and the exciting developments in emerging channels, were among the most prevalent discussion points.

While the overall consensus suggests that the event felt quieter than previous years’ (barring unplanned migrations between Irish bars), this did by no means hinder the quality of the conversations. ExchangeWire has spoken to various attendees for their insight and forecasts for the industry, as well as distilling some key news flowing from the Koelnmesse.

IAB Europe announces findings of its annual programmatic benchmarking studies

IAB Europe, the leading European-level industry association for the digital marketing and advertising ecosystem, has announced the launch of its annual ‘Attitudes to Programmatic Advertising’ report, alongside its programmatic market-sizing research. Now in its fifth year, the report is the most comprehensive analysis of the European programmatic landscape, covering strategies and adoption trends, drivers of and barriers to growth, and forecasts for the future for 31 markets.

The latest research reveals that programmatic revenue grew by 33% in 2018, topping €16.7bn (£14.8bn), with more than 70% of display and more than 50% of video now traded via programmatic methods. Social media buying dominates programmatic, but when this medium is removed the market saw impressive growth of 26.6%, to a total of €5.5bn (£4.9bn).

Announcing the report, Townesend Fehan, CEO, IAB Europe said, “The programmatic industry is experiencing a period of rapid transformation, to ensure it continues to provide a safe environment for advertisers, a positive experience for consumers and addresses the demands made by new regulation throughout the world. In the context of this evolution, it is encouraging to see the majority of stakeholders expecting an increase in programmatic investments of up to 80% over the next 12 months. In particular, we expect digital out-of-home, audio and connected TV to be areas of growth. It is clear however that talent, the low buy-side adoption of ads.txt, and supply chain transparency remain impediments to this growth and these are areas we will be addressing with our members.”

DoubleVerify Partners with Snapchat to Authenticate Media Quality

DoubleVerify (“DV”), the leading independent platform for digital media measurement software and analytics, today announced a partnership with Snapchat to authenticate ad viewability and prevent digital ad fraud and sophisticated invalid traffic (SIVT).

Now, brands can authenticate the quality of Snapchat campaigns using DV’s viewability and fraud verification technology and data, helping to maximize campaign effectiveness. DV is the only verification provider with coverage that extends across Snapchat’s Filter, Lens, Snap Ad (Display & Video) and Story Ad formats.

Speaking with ExchangeWire at DMEXCO, Wayne Gattinella, CEO of DoubleVerify, highlighted the importance of enhancing transparency, while noting that it will be a continual process in addressing new garden walls.

PubMatic Releases Industry-First Independent Omnichannel Wrapper Solution

Premium digital advertising technology company, PubMatic, has announced that it is expanding OpenWrap, a first Prebid-based enterprise wrapper solution, to support OTT and CTV inventory. Building upon OpenWrap’s success on desktop, mobile and in-app, publishers can now programmatically monetise inventory in all major addressable channels, while benefiting from the transparency and control offered by an independent, open-source solution.

“Video advertising is a key driver of digital growth and we’re experiencing a 300% year-on-year rise in platform spend across video from our premium publishers,” comments Jonas Olsen, Vice President, Video at PubMatic. “Advertisers want to take advantage of the opportunities digital can deliver, especially for brand building. By doing away with the traditional complexities that have been holding back advertising, OpenWrap makes it easier to buy and sell quality inventory cross channel, allowing digital advertising, especially video advertising, to achieve its full potential.”

Gaining and retaining trust underpinning discussions

“DMEXCO 2019 has been underpinned by discussions around trust. And rightly so. It’s one of the biggest challenges for today’s marketers and advertisers. Consumers are savvier – and more skeptical – than ever before, faced with waves of personalised ads, some of which cross the line between helpful and hinderance.

“In her keynote, Salesforce CMO, Stephanie Buscemi quoted their recent Consumer Trust study: 54% of consumers believe companies don’t operate with their customers’ best interests in mind. That’s a marketer’s worst nightmare. And part of our role at the IAA UK is to ensure standards across the industry are conducive to gaining and retaining consumer trust, to champion authenticity and transparency, and help brands foster deep relationships with customers that go beyond sales. After all, when consumers trust what companies are telling them or showing them, and the content they’re served is relevant and appropriate, their engagement is high and brands will reap the rewards.”

Fran Cowan, vice president of marketing, International Advertising Association, UK Chapter

Gaming set for seismic shift

“Apple’s announcement of its new cloud-based gaming platform – Apple Arcade – coincided with the start of this year’s DMEXCO, and highlighted how gaming is set for the same seismic shift as music and film, as consumers gain access to new ways of engaging with content. Despite this, advertising in gaming was still largely unrepresented at the Cologne event.

“Addressing this issue during DMEXCO, Twitch CRO Walter Jacobs said most marketing-decision makers don’t have gaming as a personal passion point and so don’t understand its culture. While I wholeheartedly agree with his point of view, the truth is that brands are missing out on a huge audience if they don’t invest in gaming. Agencies and advertisers need to grasp the potential of reaching the estimated 2.5 billion gamers worldwide, sooner rather than later.”

Simon Gosling, CMO, Bidstack

Take back control of dialogue from privacy zealots and doomsayers

“The topic of cookies was high on the agenda this year, but it seemed that the dialogue was unnecessarily polarised by privacy zealots on one side, and doomsayers on the other. We believe that privacy legislation and cookie limitations will require new strategies for advertisers striving to achieve personalisation, but that with solid data planning, advertisers can actually improve the effectiveness of their online advertising, even in the new privacy environment.

“Cookie consent/rejection is now perceived as a big obstacle to both execution and measurement of digital campaigns. But advertisers can adopt new methods of data collection and analytics to help understand which messages are resonating and which are falling flat, without violating consumer privacy. Specifically, advertisers should separate the buying process (and associated RTB mechanics) from personalisation of creative, and again from marketing analytics, both of which can be accomplished without creating intrusive consumer profiles or trading in customer data.”

John Nardone, CEO, Flashtalking

Personal data not an option in the near future

“At this year’s DMEXCO we saw a prominent focus around cookies. With privacy and the safeguarding of personal data much higher on users’ agenda than before, many in the industry think that advertisers are going to require an alternative to the cookie. At MGID we believe that there needs to be a complete change in how we target users because in the near future personal data is not going to be an option. It was very interesting to be a part of these discussions and we are looking forward to seeing how this will impact the future of targeting.

Nickolas Rekeda, CMO, MGID

Finding innovative ways of optimising customer experience

“With its many halls and tens of thousands of attendees, DMEXCO has become a colossus of the advertising and marketing events calendar. So it was a breath of fresh air to see it was the quality of conversations rather than its size that has increased this year.

“Putting the consumer first was paramount to these discussions, with sensitive data handling taking centre-stage. It’s clear companies are redoubling their efforts to find innovative ways to optimise customer experience, including showing relevant content and displaying pertinent advertising, without relying solely on tracking based technologies like cookies.

“As this narrative continues, I expect to see advertisers embracing smarter combinations of technology to perfect the balance between engagement and protecting customers’ interests. Using anonymous technology such as IP intelligence alongside accurate and compliant data to build a strong but privacy sensitive picture of consumers will help organisations continue to build trust with their customers without detrimental effects on targeting.”

Kate Owen, VP Northern Europe, Digital Element

European market embracing addressability

“Addressability has been on the DMEXCO agenda for the past two years. We are now seeing how the European market is embracing the opportunities and capabilities of connected TV and addressable advertising, although adoption methods vary from country to country.

“The industry’s biggest challenge now is figuring out how it will come together to tackle the business questions around addressability. What’s its value? What benefits does it bring to TV and its operators? What kind of monetisation strategies are there to adopt? Collaboration will determine the responses to these questions and ensure industry actors keep working towards the common goal of building a safer, more accessible, and measurable ecosystem.”

Thomas Bremond, general manager, International at FreeWheel

Duopoly losing dominance, albeit slowly

A number of sessions at DMEXCO talked about how the duopoly is losing some of its advertising dominance, albeit a very small amount. The combined share of Google and Facebook will drop in 2019, even as their revenues grow, according to eMarketer. Google will fall to 37.2 percent from 38.2 percent last year, while Facebook will slip slightly to 22.1 percent from 21.8 percent. But the big winner of 2019 is expected to be those media owners who look beyond standard display solutions and work on innovative, creative solutions to increase their share and deliver a format which outperforms standard ads by 100%.

Jenny Stanley, founder, Appetite Creative

Lack of discussion on supply path optimisation an industry oversight

“While VR and augmented reality sparked conversations at DMEXCO this year, the true reality was that those bells and whistles were there to mask some of the bigger more tangible problems brands and marketers are facing. One seemingly absent topic was the importance of supply path optimisation. Marketers are demanding more transparency from their suppliers, and this should be front and centre of these conversations. More knowledge around the supply chain, and the infrastructure around how suppliers are buying ads is key for marketers to understand and maximise the value of their spend. These things are technical – and perhaps not as glamourous as VR head-sets, but it’s crucial as advertising becomes more digitally enabled. Skimming over this in favour of more futuristic and less accessible technology felt like an oversight, and one that should have been better considered through DMEXCO this year.”

Mike Klinkhammer – director of advertising Sales EU at eBay

Focus needs to move to smarter implementation of existing tech

A key conversation on the ground was the diminishing status of third-party cookies, and what the impact for buyers and sellers is as we move away from this kind of ‘heritage’ tracking system. The number of would-be solutions up for discussion is extensive, but the ultimate prize is still very much to play for.

Given the slightly smaller conference space at DMEXCO this year, what also struck me was the profusion – perhaps over-saturation – of data analytics platforms. Too much noise is not a good thing, and I wouldn’t be surprised – or disappointed – if many didn’t return next year. To get to where we need to be, the focus needs to move from just new bells and whistles and data for data’s sake to better and smarter implementation of existing tech.

From noise to sound, perhaps the most exciting development was the conversation around audio. Discussions around ‘sound logos’ and around ‘sound brand language’ was particularly interesting. Voice technology and marketing is still just in its infancy, so we’re excited to work with brands in this space. However, this space will create new consumer concerns that marketers will need to tackle. It may well be, to quote one spokesperson, that “Big brother isn’t watching – he’s listening.”

Nick Beck, CEO & founder, Tug

Facing the challenge of a breaking measurement system

“With trust being one of the main themes at DMEXCO this year, it was no surprise to hear the word ‘cookie-pocalypse’ bouncing around the halls. The marketing industry is facing the challenges of a breaking measurement system. Consumers prefer ads that are tailored to their interests, their use of services, and their viewing and shopping habits, yet the use of cookies is sinking into decline. It’s not an option to stand by and watch as cookies gradually disappear – taking access to valuable user interaction data with them. Marketers must take steps to find alternative means of measurement, and forging strategic partnerships will ensure they are in a stronger position to maintain an effective measurement strategy into the future.”

David Clark, regional vice president, EMEA, Nielsen Marketing Effectiveness