If you want three key themes from this year’s dmexco, they were the walled gardens of Facebook and Google, consumer centric marketing and navigating ad:tech.
1. The walled gardens of Facebook and Google
Facebook and Google are effectively a duopoly in the digital advertising world, taking around 60 percent of all internet advertising spend in the US. Their scale gives them a power and dominance that leave a resounding cry from the industry for new competitors who will challenge the status and fuel a more open landscape, specifically across areas of accountability, data, verification and business attribution.
2. Consumer centric marketing and the need for better ads
dmexco is a technology show but the technologists that attend recognise that technology alone is not the answer. When technology becomes the driving force in the relationship, then opposition will emerge and the rise of adblockers is the result of a technology led ecosystem that has lost focus on creativity.
The two overarching and competing stories in this area, were amplified by two global announcements. First, the news that AdblockingPlus plans to sell advertising where it blocks ads and takes a cut for the new, AblockingPlus approved ads. The second, the arrival of the Coalition for Betterads.org, a group backed by the likes of GroupM, IAB, Unilever and World Federation of Advertisers, designed to increase consumers’ experience with online advertising.
3. Navigating ad:tech
Walking the halls of dmexco is certainly hard work on the feet but it can also be hard work on the brain. The many ad:tech solutions present at dmexco suggest just how mind-blowingly big and fragmented our industry has become.
Ad:tech is an industry that has grown out of technological possibilities, rather than consumer and marketing needs, which is key from a brand perspective. That divergence of motive can make it difficult to see the immediate benefit or relevance as a marketer.
The ad:tech industry has become a bit of an echo chamber of late, evaluating offerings against each other without answering the big question – “how does this solution either improve the marketing mix or solve a business challenge”. This has happened against a backdrop of an explosion of choice in the ad:tech space which for marketers, is both overwhelming and confusing and resulting in homogeneity of solutions.