Platform Communications Views

DMEXCO and disruption in adtech: reasons for optimism

This month will see the latest edition of DMEXCO take place (23-24 September). Renamed DMEXCO @home, the event will capture the mood and the themes of an industry that is going through an unprecedented period of disruption. Disruption in adtech is nothing new, of course, but in this case the usual challenges have been compounded by a sharp squeeze in ad budgets that has shifted the entire industry’s focus, making DMEXCO @home a must-see event.

A quick glance back at DMEXCO’s programmatic predictions in March reveals an industry that was facing its challenges with a positive outlook. And it was right to do so. New technologies and new programmatic opportunities, both in the short-term and long-term, meant there was a lot to be positive about. That remains the case today, though of course priorities have shifted substantially. A squeeze in ad budgets will move the focus of many advertisers towards performance-based marketing over brand awareness, driving an increased sense of urgency to uncover new revenue opportunities and deliver on them.

Here are some of the key trends that will dominate discussion at DMEXCO.

Measurement and transparency

We live in an increasingly privacy-focussed world, with regulation such as GDPR becoming commonplace and driving the death of the cookie. Fundamental shifts in video measurement are taking place as well, with Google removing third-party pixels this year: A good move for cross-platform measurement, but is it good for transparency? Many publishers will be weary of handing over their keys to Google.

Opportunities through new technologies

Voice search is becoming increasingly popular and there are different algorithms at play compared to traditional search engines. Brands will be looking for opportunities to get ahead of the competition and break free of Google’s dominance (I hate Google-bashing, I really do!). Likewise, the sheer scale of data available today means that widespread adoption of advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) engines and Machine Learning (ML) is inevitable.

New opportunities in older formats

This area probably represents the most immediate new revenue opportunity for advertisers. Moves towards #omnichannel marketing (hashtag for the buzziest buzzword about right now) at DMEXCO will be heavily focussed on TV and out-of-home (OOH).

Cord-cutting across Q2 has accelerated the shift of viewers towards connected TV, paving the way for an increase in programmatic and enhanced targeting. Meanwhile, as OOH morphs into digital out-of-home (DOOH) the industry has a fantastic opportunity to build on the foundations set by OTT. I would recommend a read of Jon Block’s article in Mediatel for more on this.

While these are challenging and unprecedented times for adtech, there are many reasons to be optimistic if you are a vendor in the space. The hurdles the industry is facing need to be overcome, meaning it’s a great time for vendors who come up with solutions, and I’m looking forward to hearing what many of them have to say at DMEXCO @home.

Being able to relate those solutions in the most efficient way to a broad audience will be crucial to success. The adtech world is a crowded place at the best of times, but there is a real sense of urgency in the industry at the moment and marketers must address that by demonstrating value through clear and concise messaging in order to win out.

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