DMEXCO 2017: The Highlights

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Started in 2009, DMEXCO (Digital Marketing EXposition and COnference) has over the years become one of the leading digital events of the year. This year, under the motto ‘Lightening The Age of Transformation’, the show offered over 250 hours of programming with over 570 international speakers including Marc Pritchard (Procter & Gamble), Sir Martin Sorrell (WPP), Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook) and Jack Dorsey (Twitter).

Details and Implications

Just when programmatic media was becoming more mature and everyone is getting to grips with it, the industry starts talking about ‘programmable’ media.  ‘Programmable’ means technology platforms (DSPs and DCOs) opening up their inner workings to be programmed by other systems – computers talking to computers (albeit with humans giving the instructions). On the surface a very technical evolution of an already technical ecosystem, it should allow marketers to be dramatically more expressive in their strategic ambitions. It’s worth exploring the opportunities as they become real. The arrival of more sophisticated audience insight tools was also widely discussed.

Artificial Intelligence:
AI will transform industries as it combines the genius of man and machine to provide greater a value exchange between brands and consumers as it is applied to the mechanics of targeting and optimization. Suresh Vittal, Adobe VP Platform & Products, took to the stage to talk about Adobe Sensei, the company’s artificial intelligence and machine learning framework that it says will power the next era of content and creativity.

In a multi-platform world combining data, content and technology will be the key to connecting with traditional and new audiences. CNN showed how its digital investments have been able to provide its audiences with relevant news whenever and wherever they want.

Brand Safety:
Amongst all the talk around AI and the future, there was the constant reminder of today’s brand safety issues that the industry has grappled with over the past twelve months. Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg tackled the issue head-on at DMEXCO by using her time on stage to talk about new Facebook brand safety tools that let advertisers see where their ads are likely to appear prior to a campaign’s launch, including placement and category opt-out lists, giving them better control over the content their ads will be adjacent to both on the social network as well as placements bought via its third-party Audience Network. The new Watch channel is clearly an effort to provide advertisers with more brand-safe premium content and a “lean-in” environment to extend duration times.

DMEXCO remains a key event on the digital and advertising conference calendar. However, unlike Cannes or other events, it is uniquely “digitally-born” and thus tends to skew much more into technology and data and deeper digital issues than others.

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Further Reading / Viewing:
DMEXCO Highlights
Facebook Brand Safety