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DMEXCO 2018 Takeaways

My first Dmexco post-agency life felt a lot less agency-focused than ever before. Was it just my perspective, or is the conference really changing?

My general feeling is the event’s focus is evolving, mirroring the broader industry trend. While agency participation seemed to decline, consultancies like Accenture and Deloite were in full force. Some exhibitors like Publicis presented themselves more as the latter than the former. How do agencies remain relevant as the public relies less on mass communication, how much do clients trust them, and do top talents even want to work at agencies anymore? All topics of discussion in both casual conversations and even panels I participated in.

My first Dmexco post-agency life felt a lot less agency-focused than ever before. Was it just my perspective, or is the conference really changing?

My general feeling is the event’s focus is evolving, mirroring the broader industry trend. While agency participation seemed to decline, consultancies like Accenture and Deloite were in full force. Some exhibitors like Publicis presented themselves more as the latter than the former. How do agencies remain relevant as the public relies less on mass communication, how much do clients trust them, and do top talents even want to work at agencies anymore? All topics of discussion in both casual conversations and even panels I participated in.

That issue of trust is always a hot topic at every advertising show. Transparency is becoming more essential and most of the vendors are selling just that. The jury is still out on whether blockchain can solve this mystery, and unsurprisingly there were some solutions in that space. Kochava’s XCHNG remains one of the front-runners and Smartyads sponsored the (very necessary!) expo map, advertising that “the whole programmatic ecosystem white labeled runs on the most advanced Papyrus Blockchain.”

GDPR compliance vendors’ booths saw plenty of traffic, with many attendees still expressing confusion over regulations and enforcement. According to Tanya Field, co-founder of Smartpipe, focus on the technicalities “confuses the real issue. Businesses need to put their customers at the heart of data compliance and understand their needs, and expectations to build a robust privacy strategy.” She added that the biggest opportunity for innovation is a solution to maintain the flow of data while also satisfying consumers’ demand for privacy. Similar to sentiments in our Postback Lookback, advertisers are eager to improve the user experience. GDPR is born of an advertiser-user relationship that was almost adversarial, and we need to transform it into a positive and mutually beneficial one.

As far as formats go, it’s all about OTT. Mobile is certainly not going anywhere, but the booming growth in the OTT space represents a similar shift in strategies to that of mobile’s early days. The medium is expected to exceed $27B in the next four years.

We had some key shakeups in the industry to discuss. Tim Armstrong had just announced his Oath departure, which many saw as a sign Verizon was not as bullish on the advertising platform. Perhaps another result of privacy concerns, with the company preferring to focus on its network and its image with consumers. Some saw Oath as the challenger to the duopoly, and now look to ATT with its recent acquisitions to fill that role. In the mobile space, Tune announced its attribution product FKA Attribution Analytics, FKA MAT was acquired by cross-platform measurement provider Branch.

Finally, Dmexco wouldn’t be Dmexco without the parties! What show would? So a big thanks to our friends at Spyke Media, Adnovation, Adjust, MoPub, and the organizers of the OM Club event for making work fun! We can’t wait for next year’s event and the exciting innovations in store.

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