Smartology returned to dmexco in Cologne again this year with a stand in the main hall. Attendance of Europe’s premier digital conference is now over 50,000 and the team were back to back with meetings with publishers, agencies and clients.
The Big topic
Finally, the well overdue hottest topic on everyone’s lips was the EU’s proposed ePrivacy and GDPR regulations which kicks in from May 2018. We met with a number of premium publishers from the US who sent senior staff to the event specifically with the objective to report back on this subject. In the last week we have seen major debate start in the press, from the likes of Campaign, Digiday and the New York Times on the perceived implications of the new proposals.
Major players especially in the programmatic space are increasingly nervous and starting, perhaps far too late, to take this issue much more seriously. It is an issue which splits opinion not only in terms of whether it will have a positive impact on the industry, but also on differing interpretation of the proposed regulations.
We spoke to a number of people who confirmed there will be a major shift from behavioural and audience targeting to contextual placements as 2018 comes around to help combat falling foul of third-party cookie-based advertising.
Following on from the YouTube ad placement scandal earlier in the year, brand protection continues to be a key topic with companies keen to source the best ways of reducing ad-misplacement.
Agencies taking stock
The recent WPP results were a clear message that agencies have struggled this year, especially in digital and that their role is changing underlined by the absence of Group M and Havas stands this year at dmexco. They will need to adapt and change, particularly around tackling transparency problems across the programmatic ecosystem.
More recent entries into the digital market included a large presence for Deloitte Digital who are making significant in-roads into the market at speed. The new Verizon structure now branded Oath comprising of Yahoo! and AOL had the largest presence at the event.
Our stand was extremely busy from the moment the doors opened until late in the evening and with more staff with us this year, we were able to cover more meetings. Like 2016, this year dmexco proved to be an incredibly productive event focused on closing new business and developing existing client relationships. In addition to meeting many of our international customers from across Europe and the US, Doerte Saeltz and Karen Faust continued to build on our success in the German and Swiss markets with new publishers and clients joining the platform with German language content.
In the evenings the rose from Cannes was swapped for local German beer. Unfortunately we swapped out the sunny weather too. But hats off to dmexco for pulling off another fantastic conference!