DMEXCO 2023: Digital leaders share their top action points

dmexco-2023

This week the Digital Marketing Exposition and Conference, or DMEXCO 2023, as it’s better known, had some hot talking points for attendees.

This year more than 700 international speakers delivered around 400 sessions and 150 masterclasses across 13 stages.

Controversial subjects such as the rise of artificial intelligence within the marketing sector, the end of cookies (no, the other kind!) and the climate crisis took centre stage.

But what did the industry leaders present take away from the two day event in Cologne, Germany?

We asked them…

HelenRoweStudio-Julia-linehan-900

Julia Linehan, CEO and Founder, The Digital Voice

“Big tech was out in force with Salesforce, Microsoft, Google, Teads, Magnite, InMobi, impact.com, etc bringing it big.

“What was more interesting was the volume of startups in Hall 6; investment must be flowing in so optimism still appears to exist despite the cautious market.”

Tim Geenen-raynTim Geenen, CEO and Co-Founder, Rayn

“This year DMEXCO felt different. While the pressure of macroeconomics was noticeable with a smaller scale event than it once was, the floor was still a buzz of people hungry to do business.

“Brands, media companies, agencies and tech vendors were all present, albeit with a more selective force verse previous years.

“The “german efficiency” was replicated by many of its international visitors this time with a clear intention to meet with their network and make new meaningful connections.

“There was a real sense that people were looking for pragmatic solutions that add immediate value, purposefully exploring partnerships and seeking inspiration in some of the many great content sessions.

Victoria-Usher-CEO-GingerMay
Victoria Usher

Victoria Usher, CEO and Founder, GingerMay

“Sustainability has secured its rightful place on the DMEXCO agenda. Many industry players discussed ways to reduce digital marketing’s carbon footprint, including greater campaign efficiencies, innovation for energy-intensive tech, and evaluating how supply chains impact sustainable initiatives.

“There is a huge opportunity for businesses that drive sustainable progress to make their mark on the industry.”

Anders Lithner, CEO and Founder, Brand Metrics

“My takeaway is that you need to make it count and focus on smaller activations that matter.

“We did it by bringing together publishers to private events, outside of Koelnmesse in the evening, and then hit the halls during the day.”

Louise-Kloster-AdformLouise Kloster, SVP Marketing, Adform

“Cookieless, AI and sustainability are topics that have taken centre stage at this year’s DMEXCO. There was a resounding consensus that the journey to preparedness for Chrome’s impending removal of third-party cookies next year is still far from complete.

“However, conversations were directed towards finding and implementing solutions now to get ahead of the challenges that next year will bring.

“Meanwhile AI was discussed at all angles, from its endless possibilities to generate creative, to its work behind the scenes in getting ads seen by the right eyeballs.

“I expect this won’t be the last year that AI is in the limelight for the event, with so much buzz around it’s capabilities.

“Finally, with pressure on the industry to move the dial on its impact on the climate, conversations about how to take action didn’t go amiss.

“There was a sense of urgency to bring more sustainable practices to every part of the supply chain, but optimism in progress made.”

paul-antoine-strullu-scope3Paul-Antoine Strullu, Head of EMEA, Scope3

“Sustainability had a strong presence on the DMEXCO stage this year, being the focus of four panels on the agency stage alone.

“Conversations across all areas of the media ecosystem have become increasingly action focused and that shift was reflected at the event.

“The industry is realising that digital advertising’s journey to becoming more sustainable is a collective one, driven by a need for progress, not perfection.

“As a result, conversations are shifting towards reporting and the value of accessible data to effectively meet sustainability goals and support business success, while adhering to regulations.

“While DMEXCO feels more local post-pandemic, not drawing in the international crowds it once did, it is exciting to see the German industry players engaging so proactively with the need to reduce emissions, and driving progress across the industry.”

Pete-Wallace-gumgumPete Wallace, GM, GumGum

“DMEXCO 2023 was under some pressure to perform this year and actually it really delivered. Yes it was smaller but conversations were poignant, productive and progressive.

“Great representation from across the German agency and advertiser scene with people keen to chat and learn.”

Dominic-Woolfe-EXTEDominic Woolfe, UK MD, EXTE

“Contextual targeting has been a huge theme of DMEXCO 2023, particularly with the impending cookie doomsday almost upon us.

“Likewise ‘AI’ is a word on everyone’s lips with the industry in awe at how this advanced technology is transforming all aspects of advertising.

“It’s certainly true that the proliferation of AI has opened up a new dimension in contextual, enabling brands to target their audience in the right environment, at the optimum time, with greater precision than ever before.

“Yet, what was largely missing from these discussions was the creative. AI-powered contextual targeting is hugely important from a tech perspective to get ads in front of the right users, but the creative execution is key to whether the campaign is a success or not.

“Too often the focus is centred on the technology rather than the creative output. This shouldn’t be the case. The most successful campaigns we see offer seamless, beautiful content, which appears in the perfect context.

“This can be achieved with the right AI-enhanced solutions, but requires brands to take an approach that prioritises both technology AND creativity.

Sarah-whitfield-covaticSarah Whitfield, CMO, Covatic

“It was great to hear more conversations about trust and transparency at this year’s DMEXCO.

“People want to know where their insights are coming from and the effects that may have on the consumer, which is really refreshing to see, as the focus shifts to a more ethical approach to privacy.

“However, with the phasing out of third-party cookies imminent, some publishers and brands still exhibit trepidation when it comes to testing alternative solutions.

“AI and emerging tech also dominated discussions with a laser focus on efficiency and raising ROI, particularly amid commercial challenges and tightening ad budgets.

“Innovations in streaming and Connected TV (CTV) produced lively debate, particularly given the rise of free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) platforms and the unique opportunities they provide to advertisers looking to expand their reach on privacy-safe platforms.”

owen-hancock-impactOwen Hancock, Regional Vice President, Marketing, EMEA at impact.com

This year, the speaker sessions pulled in the crowds and topical content included AI and influencer marketing.

“What was interesting were the conversations of how these both can work together effectively and there was no end to innovative ideas that marketers can embrace.”

Daniel-Volož-RTB-houseDaniel Volož, Country Manager DACH, RTB House

“It was great to attend DMEXCO this year once again. This event provides a great opportunity to meet and network with peers from across the industry.

“The stand out thing for me was being able to take part in such high depth conversations , and to to learn from other professionals sharing their insights from the year so far and goals for the year to come.

“Unsurprisingly, the cookieless future was once again a widely discussed topic at the event this year.

“We have had a number of conversations around why brands need to look beyond the obvious solutions to cookieless, which are those that simply replicate what is already on offer.

“Marketers should consider contextual as a valuable alternative, one that can be scaled far beyond the deprecation of cookies.”

Luke-Fenney-LiveRampLuke Fenney, VP Addressability, LiveRamp

“This year’s DMEXCO had impressive attendance from European markets including Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain, showcasing a collective enthusiasm for advancing the advertising and martech landscape in the region.

“However, there was a noticeable absence of UK publishers making the trip to Cologne, possibly indicating a shift in priorities. It will be interesting to see if this is the case next year.

“Topic-wise, there was a lot of interest in generative AI, with attendees exploring the exciting opportunities that it presents, as well as the potential challenges it poses to publishers’ business models.

“Google’s presence was hard to miss. Perhaps unsurprisingly, its booth featured heavy “Privacy Sandbox” branding, signalling its commitment to addressing privacy concerns with the upcoming removal of third-party cookies.

“Understandably, this has become a pressing concern for many and continues to be a hot topic, as the industry urgently tries to figure out how to adapt and thrive in a post-cookie digital landscape.

“In a similar vein, there were also discussions on the evolution of GDPR and the importance of successfully navigating it to achieve lasting success in the European market.

“With such pressing topics being hotly discussed, one thing is for sure – it’s going to be a busy Q4.”

Andra-Mititelu-permutiveAndra Mititelu, Business Director, Audience Platform for Advertisers, Permutive

“DMEXCO 2023 provided a clearer understanding of the complex adtech landscape that brands and publishers face, one major focus being preparedness.

“Open web addressability is already at 30% today because consumers use cookie-blocked browsers, opting out of sharing their data and as privacy regulators wipe out advertisers’ access to data.

“Despite this, and the fact that Google was on stage and confirmed that within 100 days they will start to deprecate third-party cookies in Chrome, advertisers are not ready.

“Publishers are in a powerful position to fill the data gap, ensuring advertisers don’t lose market share or brand equity.

“Advertisers must work closely with publishers to capitalise on strong, privacy-compliant first-party data to reach 100% of available audiences.

“Instead of being caught up in solutions that only replicate the problematic third-party data era, it’s possible to reach audiences at scale without compromising on consumer trust, so the impetus is on marketers to get started.”

Filippo-Gramigna-COO-OnetagFilippo Gramigna, COO, Onetag

“It was another great event from DMEXCO this year with more attendance and engagements than the last one and for me, there were three stand out themes from the discussions I had.

“First, and perhaps most unsurprisingly, privacy continues to be a big concern. As a result, there were plenty of conversations on the evolution of Google’s Privacy Sandbox and the potential bigger impacts that this may have with the prospective additional deprecations of signals such as IP addresses, even though it’s still not clear how and when it will happen.

“Similarly, many were also discussing data onboarding and activations within data clean rooms and other signals such as the new telco based Utiq proposition, which will support new use cases for ID resolutions and consent management.

“The third big theme was the increasing role of curation and the need to streamline programmatic advertising within a fragmented ecosystem.

“Indeed, as the programmatic ecosystem continues to evolve, marketers must ensure they are working with the right partners to manage campaigns that can not only be more sustainable but also have better quality and are more efficient in delivering results.”

Anette-HallgrenAnette Hallgren, Partner and Client Director, Brand Metrics

“The top topics were opt out audiences and the death of 3rd party cookies. The key point being debated was what the cookieless world is going to look like and how advertisers and marketers are going to work within it.”

Nick-evans-picnicNick Evans, Partnerships Manager, Picnic

“AI and sustainability were at the forefront of many discussions; in both cases, it’s important to identify the meaningful solutions that will really move the needle.”