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Digital Marketing Exposition and Conference 2015 (DMEXCO) visit

23 Sep Digital Marketing Exposition and Conference 2015 (DMEXCO) visit

As a DMEXCO virgin, I had my first experience of the ‘go to’ digital marketing event this year.  I went to Cologne, or Köln as the locals call it, with another 31,999 people.  For two days I explored the 4 Halls which had a wide range of companies, from start ups holding a table in the Start Up Village, to Google and Facebook which each had a stand over 125m2.  It was a big event, to put it mildly, and had all the big international digital players there – agencies, media owners, publishers, tech platforms and clients.

I had two hats on as I visited the stands and seminars but both looking from the perspective of a digital marketer.

Hat 1 was from a brand perspective – looking at the current technology trends and offerings that can help brands use Digital in a smarter way across: e-commerce, advertising, UX, customer relationship management, owned media and other associated technology.

Hat 2 was from an exhibitor’s perspective – how did they market their services vs competitors and could they do it better?  Did they speak in the right language that their clients could understand? Did they come across as they thought they did and should?

Among the many trends bouncing around, I picked up from a few from my conversations and observations:

  • Publishers are becoming more clients as well as suppliers. Publishers have traditionally been at the bottom of ad spend budgets but this has changed with the rise of media fragmentation and the consumer shift to digital usage.  Networks and other tech providers now promise to create new revenue streams for publishers in return for taking publisher inventory with their own products and selling it on. There were offerings across different:
    • devices – display on desktop, mobile and tablet.
    • formats – traditional vs non-traditional, video and mobile.
    • platforms – mobile friendly, online, data management and apps. There was a lot of sales noise around apps – how to push app registrations on a CPI basis (Cost per Install). After all, the app is the future of media usage –see here for a view why- Apps Are the Future of Online Marketing: Start Preparing Now.
  • Need for trade industry standards. As digital creates new spaces and practices, there is the need to find a way for digital to be traded with a common currency, regardless of agency or supplier. InSkin held an insightful seminar with the Far Group, where they discussed the need for better Viewability of digital.  To demonstrate this, a speaker said that Unilever and Group M have two different ways of measuring their digital ad spend. This raised two more general and important points:
  1. Viewability is only one piece of measuring digital. It is one of a set of key digital metrics that must be agreed and worked on to create a practice that is recognised and used in the industry.
  2. The only way for Point 2 to happen is for industry organisations to take the reigns.  Individual agencies, media owners and tech organisations have a low share of power but they can be pulled together with the trade organisations as the facilitator.
  • Noise – Unruly took the stage of DMEXCO to announce their sale to News Corp for $90m. Who is next…. Undertone….?
  • Tech – There was a surge in the wave of new companies/sectors.  To name a few, these included: transparent, neutral and open mobile programmatic platforms (such as Pocketmath), app monetization through video ads (Vungle), new friendly and simple platforms to make digital HTML 5 creative as Flash disappears (BannerFlow), a neutral and dynamic ad tag management systems (Tagcade), a single magazine format which merges content with e-commerce (Styla), dynamic email marketing (LiveIntent) and publishing platforms that create desktop app, mobile friendly publications from one version (Pages). What will stick?  What will slip?  Time will tell.

On a concluding note: after spending the two days on surfing the digital wave, it was also interesting to look at it in the context of total ad spend and activity. Whilst we all know that it is the future, it should be looked at from a marketer and advertiser’s perspective. Two facts were drawn out:

  1. Digital is forecasted to be 29% of 2015 ad spend (Group M, ‘This Year, Next Year’ Worldwide media and marketing forecasts, Dec 2014). This is a lot of money but getting advertisers to embrace digital is not easy when it is not a bigger portion of their budget.
  2. Advertisers still need to be educated, convinced and understood.  This need for education could not be explained more succinctly than from an advertiser: Thomas O’Donnell, Head of Advertising Strategy (Gumtree) at eBay Inc  (on LinkedIn in early Sept)

“Am I the only one that thinks 55% of the revenue being taken from advertisers and publishers due to the ad:tech tax is bloody insane. Something needs to change, and now.”

This Forbes article might help but you should try also asking the 31,999 DMEXCO groupies and see what they say…

If you want to discuss this or anything else, feel happy to get in touch – patrick@melville-solutions.com

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